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How do I get rid of malicious spyware, malware, viruses or rootkits from my PC?

I've just got my laptop cleaned of dust and completely wiped - i.e. set to factory defaults - by a Sony service centre, and now my laptop is as good as new (or as close as it gets). Before I had that done my laptop's been getting really slow, I'm guessing due to viruses or other malware, and it'll likely happen again. Thing is, I have a habit of downloading stuff - TV series, movies, games you name it. And yes I admit some porn once in a while. I currently have an external hard drive full of that stuff, and though my laptop is pretty much empty now, sooner or later I'm gonna start downloading stuff onto it again. So here's my question: how do I prepare / secure my laptop to keep it clean? Before I had microsoft security essentials, malwarebytes anti-malware and spybot search and destroy installed, and though those cleaned up the laptop (supposedly) once in a while, the laptop's been slow still afterwards. Basically if I can pinpoint which files would be a problem in particular, then I'll avoid those. I know that no program would be 100% effective, but any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance

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marked as duplicate by Dave M, ChrisF, slhck Dec 19 '12 at 15:00

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

This type of question is unlikely to have a definitive answer and there are others in a similar vein including… – Dave M Dec 19 '12 at 14:52
If you know your browsing habits are the reason you get malware, change your browsing habits, realy simple solution. – Ramhound Dec 19 '12 at 15:04
@Ramhound, Exactly. – Josiah Dec 19 '12 at 15:05
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Well, I am sure there will be a lot of answers, but here is what I will tell you.

A. Eventually your computer will slow down. That is just how computers are. Even without ever getting a virus, hardware starts to falter. Especially if you have a standard Hard Drive. Moving parts are prone to breaking and slowing down.

B. As for security. There is only so much one can do. Keep Microsoft security essentials, spybot. I personally use AVG, which works well. But apparently AVG does not work well with MSE. AVG does a good job from my experience. If you really want to be secure, run a scan every day. Perhaps at night when you are not using it.

C. Don't download things from random places. I know it can be hard, but try to download things from actual companies, or from a secure download spot like softpedia or Downloading things from random places will make this so much harder.

D. Another thing that eventually slows down a computer is registry errors. When you force down a computer, you are leaving things in a state that they shouldn't be at. Almost everyone has to force a computer down at some point. Therefore, you should get a registry cleaner program and use it after a while as well.

Good luck.

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agree with everything except keeping AVG and MSE on the same computer. I have personal experience with this and they dont work well together – MalwareManiac Dec 19 '12 at 15:00
@MalwareManiac. Umm. Is that what you meant. You agree with everything except keeping AVG and MSE... Because they work WELL together??? – Josiah Dec 19 '12 at 15:01
sorry edited :) – MalwareManiac Dec 19 '12 at 15:04
Alright, that makes more sense. I don't use MSE, so I wasn't sure about that. – Josiah Dec 19 '12 at 15:05
No problem.. +1 for a good answer – MalwareManiac Dec 19 '12 at 15:07

If you insist on downloading crap the only way to keep it clean is to reinstall windows periodically like once a month or so or whenever it gets slow

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Since you won't change your behaviour, you could use a virtaul machine like "virtual box"
with a own system for risky behavior

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