Viruses and spyware/adware have and will always be a problem. Fortunately my boyfriend Adam helped me avoid and eliminate them by helping me download free spyware and virus protection. In a few steps you can set your computer up to handle whatever is thrown at it.
Credit: Amberdawn 2011AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is a very popular program and can be downloaded by following the link below under "Resources." Simply click the left hand "Get It Now!" button and follow the prompts. It has a good reputation although some people say with version 8 it is perhaps slightly bulky and unwieldy. Since it is free I would still recommend you try this first (it is my own anti-virus program).
However, for those that would prefer an alternative option I can also recommend Avast! Antivirus. Click the green download button. More slimmed down and cleaner looking, this is also decent and free. Please bear in mind with avast! antivirus you will need to provide a serial code within the first sixty days. The code is entirely FREE and can be sorted on the official website linked. Please do not be put off because it really is simple and pain-free, simply follow the prompts.
Although there are of course lots of anti-spyware programs I use two religiously. Spybot-S&D (Search & Destroy) is the first. It sounds quite scary but don't worry, it really isn't! The link can be found below. Simply click your country of origin if prompted. Then at the top right, select "Spybot Search and Destroy." Spybot is definitely my favorite and will pick up all the old and new spyware that may be hidden on your computer. Anything from unwanted adverts popping up to keyloggers! If you are feeling adventurous you can also delve into the more advanced options, but please be careful. Spybot also has options for real-time scanning of files (not just manual) and can blacklist websites with its built-in list.
The second spyware program I would recommend is Ad-Aware Free (currently 'Anniversary Edition') which you can acquire by following the link below. Click the green download button or select one of the mirror sites. I find it is always good common sense to have more than one spy/adware checker in case something malicious falls through the net, and this does a good job.
If that fails, Microsoft's own Windows Defender is another option but I would really recommend the above over it. In my experience it simply is not as good as the others, and since they are free why not get your money's worth? ;)
If you fear you have a problem on your system and really cannot locate it then HijackThis (again, scary name, but fine) is the tool to use, which you can acquire by following the link below. Click the "download" button at the top. It will scan your computer very quickly and create a log of what it finds. You can then either look through manually and see if something is amiss, or visit one of many forum sites which are dedicated to this kind of thing, in which people will help you look through it (who said the internet isn't a friendly place?).
Thank you for taking the time to read my basic guide.
Tips & Warnings
• Make sure all of your programs are kept up to date! Get into the habit of checking the programs for updates at least every few days.
• Scan regularly.
• Do not panic if a virus or spyware is detected. Most people will encounter them at some point or other in their lives, and with the above programs most problems are easily fixed.
• Hijack This
• Free AVG