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Microsoft Recommended Services Software Windows

Read these articles from Windows Secrets for tips on malware cleaners

ms_antimalware_tools_chart
Picture courtesy of Fred Langa/Windows Secrets

 

Microsoft’s six free desktop security tools

A dozen tools for removing almost any malware

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Recommended Software

Free antivirus AVG and Avast ready for Windows 8

AVG Free was updated for Window 8 already back in September. With the official release and general availability of Windows 8 this week, Avast also updated their free antivirus to support the newest Microsoft operating system. Update: Seems Avast already was ready for Windows 8 when they released version 7 back in February 2012.

avast! 7 is Windows 8 Beta compatible and includes specific features for Windows 8 such as the Early-Load Antimalware Driver (ELAM) against system-level rootkits and bootkits.

Another less known alternative is Panda Cloud Antivirus, which also  supports Windows 8. Version 2.0 was released earlier this year and has done well in tests performed by AV-Comparatives.org. In September 2012 Panda Cloud AV achieved Virus Bulletin VB100 award.

CNET’s Download.com rates AVG as Spectacular, Avast as Outstanding and Panda as Excellent, so you can’t go wrong with one of these.

Windows 8 already includes an anti malware solution called Windows Defender, which is actually just Microsoft Security Essentials re-branded. The Windows Defender name debuted six years ago, then only as an anti spyware product with some additional features.

In previous tests performed by AV-Test.org, Microsoft Security Essentials did poor in the repair test.

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Recommended Software

Security check for fall 2012, which antivirus to buy

Remember: Antivirus is not a replacement for common sence! Be smart when using the Internet. Don’t click on links from unkown (and sometimes even known) sources in e-mails, messengers or on social sites (i.e. Facebook and Twitter). Close popup windows with the red cross at the upper right, as the buttons in the image might install unwanted software without you knowing.

Only have one antivirus installed, or the programs might conflict and slow down your computer. Also keep your operating system and software up-to-date.

Once or twice a year I do a little research to find out which antivirus gives best protection for my money. By examining the results from test labs like AV-Test.org and AV-Comparatives.org and reviews from renowned sites like PCMag.com, I come to a conclusion. Last year I recommended BitDefender, but this year they’re surpassed by Kaspersky. Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 got a full score with 6 out of 6 in both protection and repair from AV-Test (August 2012).

 

BitDefender Internet Security 2012 came in second place with 5.5/6 in protection and 6/6 in repair, so it’s still a valid recommendation.

Actually they both won each category for 2011.

In AV-Comparatives.org Real-World Protection Test they also did well, getting an Advanced+ for July 2012.

And both get an excellent editor’s rating from PCMag.com. BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2013 gets the even more popular Editor’s Choice.

 

Free alternatives

The most popular free antiviruses has been the triple A gang the last years. Avast, AVG and Avira are frequently recommended as free alternatives. They only offer basic protection from malware, but that’s still better than nothing. I’ve used and recommended Microsoft Security Essentials since it came out, but the latest version doesn’t do well in the protection test over at AV-Test.org. It actually comes last with the score 2/6.

So I have to recommend AVG Free or Avast Free (Avira Free not tested by AV-Test.org).

AVG Free 2013 gets the Editor’s Choice from PCMag.com.

 

Both AVG Free and Avast Free get good ratings from CNET’s Download.com.

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Microsoft Noteworthy Office Recommended Software

Office 2013 Public Preview – download now!

In July 2012 Microsoft made a public preview of Office 2013 available for download.

If you go to http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/en and sign up for the new Office 365 Home Premium subscription (free during this preview), you’ll be able to install Office 2013 Public Preview on up to five computers (devices). Microsoft uses Click-2-Run technology to install Office 2013 onto your computer, which means you can start using Word in two minutes. Setup finishes in the background. Read more about all the great features in Office 2013 at the “Office Next” blog. Se my screenshots below from the “streamed setup experience”. The Office Web Apps will also be updated and you can already use them in their preview form. Office 2013 only works on Windows 7 and 8.

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Microsoft Recommended Software Windows

Windows 8 coming October 26 – download now!

Windows 8 is finished and if you have access to MSDN or Technet you can already download it. It has of course already spread to the torrent networks and I have run Windows 8 Pro for a couple of weeks. You’ll need a key to get through setup, but they are easy to find. Or you can skip this step during setup by making your own ei.cfg file. You will of course not be able to activate Windows 8 which you’ll be constantly reminded of (every three hours to be exact). You will loose the ability to personalize Windows 8, but everything is still functional. If you follow the link to buy yourself a product key, you get a message that this is not possible at the moment. Come late October I guess this will be made available.. The question is if it will be the same upgrade price of 40USD that Microsoft announced earlier this year.