There seems to be a lot of confusion when it comes to the tools we use to keep our computers free of spyware, adware, viruses and the like. Unfortunately, my suspicious nature makes me feel a lot of this confusion is just fine with many of the sellers of these software programs. This article will set you straight about what to use to keep your computer free of what.
First, let’s boil the excess terminology down to where it’s easier to digest. When we talk about a scanner or a cleaner or a remover or a software program we mean the same thing. All these terms describe what I usually refer to as a cleaner. So, with that out of the way, let’s simplify further:
. Spyware, adware and malware are taken care of by the same cleaner, but
. Viruses are only removed by a virus cleaner
. A registry cleaner is responsible for eliminating corruption from the operating system’s registry. Though this is important, it doesn’t deal with viruses, spyware or anything else.
Every PC Needs a Virus Cleaner Installed
So basically, you need a virus cleaner and a spyware cleaner if you want to keep your computer free of all parasites. You will definitely want to do this because one virus can ruin your operating system altogether and repairing it may require a hard drive reformat!
On top of that, spyware can literally rob you blind as it steals your Social Security number and banking account numbers. Adware, though it is only trying to figure out your shopping habits or what demographic you fall into, uses your computer’s precious resources to do so. This means enough of it will cause your computer to slow down.
Now, here’s where it gets tricky again; in recent years cleaners have come to the market that are one software package but they are good virus cleaners and good spyware cleaners as well. So, if you have such a cleaner, you essentially have a virus cleaner and a spyware cleaner. If you don’t, you need both a virus cleaner and a spyware cleaner.
Spyware, a Versatile Virus
In a truly technical sense, malware means any type of spyware, adware or virus because malware is a techie term for “Malicious Software.” However, in the industry, malware refers to all the different types of spyware and generally does not mean viruses. So, when looking at an advertisement for a malware cleaner, assume it is just a spyware cleaner unless it explicitly says it cleans all malware and viruses.
A registry cleaner is another animal. It does not clean viruses or spyware, and virus and spyware cleaners don’t have the capability of cleaning registry corruption. I tell my customers to make sure they are free of all viruses and spyware. Then, once they are, if their computer is getting errors or its performance is slow or just subpar, they need to clean the registry.