Computer Awareness – Part 2

Continuing on the theme of “there’s nothing free out there”, let’s look again at your family desktop PC or laptop or other version of computer that you might have.

Recently there have been a plethora of TV ads that show the guy, angered by “viruses” on his PC and starting to go to the store for help. Then the wife (?) suddenly appears with the revelation that you can have a certain software program scan and repair your computer, for free. “Wow, honey”!

While it is true that you can go to their WEB site and, yes, there is a “button” where you can get a FREE scan (emphasis on the word “scan”) of your PC that will reveal everything that is wrong with that device, it leaves you with less than complete information.


So, you run the “free” scan. It clunks along then provides you with a report that shows you have 10,362 broken or corrupt files, 87 Trojan Horses, 19 viruses – you get the picture (and you probably have already seen the report for your PC IF you have already run one of these programs).

The “problem” is that, until you sign up for (purchase of) the full program at a cost ranging from $5.99 per month to $49.99 per year, all you have gotten is their report! It will not fix any of the problems [some of these “free” programs WILL fix the first 15 or so to show you that it is doing something but requires a purchase to fix all the rest].

My “rule of thumb” is that, if it is on TV, there’s got to be some “gimmick” or way for them to get money to pay the enormous costs of TV ads. “Free” won’t get it!


As a computer professional, I put one of those “Infomercial” companies to the test. I happen to own several other legitimate programs that specialize in those very tests, and I ran them before I did the “free” on-line scan. However, before I ran their scan I had my programs correct any insufficiencies within my PC and re-ran them to be sure that all “problems” were eliminated.

THEN, I ran their test – yes, it showed virtually the same “report” that I exaggerated in paragraph four, above! It told me I just HAD to have their cleansing program to get rid of my problems! I repeated all of the above procedures and sure enough, only THEIR program found (those many) problems. Makes you wonder, huh??


With over 28 years as a technician and professional in the computer field, I can only recommend that IF you need programs of these sorts, go to your store that sells software. That way, if it doesn’t work as advertised, you have a local source to resolve your complaint.

Incidentally, there ARE a few “honest” free programs that you can download and they will give you all the utility that will satisfy most needs. Yes, they DO sell “advanced versions” of their freebies that will do much more – but, honestly, most people will not need the additional features. They are available if you really want to purchase them, tho.

May I recommend:





Auslogics Registry Cleaner Removes old, un-needed entries in the Registry
Auslogics Disk Defrag Restores fragmented files to contiguous files
Avast! Free AntiVirus Replaces your current anti-virus program


The first two will do all those Infomercial products will – for free (really) ! They have served me well for several years. They will make your computer faster if you run them at least once a month. Run Reg Cleaner first then the Defrag. Both have tutorials listed under the Help tab.

Avast! AntiVirus, from a published review of the top 50 anti-virus programs on the market – free or otherwise, was rated at #2; it has 170 million users.  I have been personally using it for over 5 years with NO viruses, Trojan Horses, worms or the like! And, I have installed it on the PCs of many friends and associates after cleaning out their viruses.  Just select the Free “Home” version when you go to their site. They WILL offer an “advanced” version (usually only bought by businesses – businesses are required to pay to use Avast).

Be SURE to remove Norton or any of the other anti-virus programs. Having more than one running will cause conflict – they will see each other as viruses! I recently worked on a laptop that had 3 well-known anti-virus programs running,  and it had over 1,500 viruses. It took a week to clean it all out.

Avast will aurally announce to you (and temporarily pop up a message) when it automatically upgrades their virus list, usually a number of times per day or after you turn your computer on (if you actually turn it off!). And, occasionally (every month or so) it will message you for permission to upgrade to their newer (still free) program (which you should allow).

Follow their instructions about Registering when installing (you DO have to re-register annually).

And, for any of the above products suggested, DO NOT contact me if there are issues; contact them!


 I hope you benefit from these suggestions – we “professionals” use them. And, guys, hide the car keys – ’cause there ain’t no Girl‘s Nite Out !!!


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