As a general rule
, using more than one anti-spyware program like Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, SuperAntispyware, Spybot S&D, Ad-Aware, etc will not conflict with each other or your anti-virus if using only one of them for real time protection and others as stand-alone scanners. In fact, doing so increases your protection coverage without
causing the same kind of conflicts or affecting the stability of your system that can occur when using more than one anti-virus. The overlap of protection from using different signature databases will aid in detection and removal of more threats when scanning your system for malware. However
, if using all their real-time resident shields
(TeaTimer, Ad-Watch, MBAM Protection Module, Spyware Terminator Shields, etc) together at the same time, there can be conflicts
when each application tries to compete for resources and exclusive rights to perform an action. Additionally, competing tools may even provide redundant alerts which can be annoying and/or confusing.
is no longer recommending
Spybot S&D or Ad-Aware due to poor testing results. See here
- (scroll down and read under Freeware Antispyware Products)
Further, most people don't understand Spybot's TeaTimer
or how to use it and that feature can cause more problems than it's worth. TeaTimer monitors changes to certain critical keys in Windows registry
but does not indicate if the change is normal or a modification made by a malware infection. The user must have an understanding of the registry and how TeaTimer works in order to make informed decisions to allow or deny the detected changes. Additionally, TeaTimer may conflict with other security tools which do a much better job of protecting your computer and even prevent disinfection of malware by those tools.
More effective alternatives are Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
and SUPERAntiSpyware Free
.Windows XP firewall
protects against port scanning but has limitations and it is no replacement for a robust 3rd-party two-way personal firewall.
Windows Vista Firewall
- The XP firewall is not a full featured firewall. Normal firewalls allow you to specifically control each TCP and UDP port but XPís firewall does not provide you with this capability. Instead, it takes a point and click approach to enabling or disabling a few common ports.
- The XP firewall does a good job of monitoring, examining and blocking inbound traffic but makes no attempt to filter or block outbound traffic like most 3rd-party personal firewalls.
- Thus, the XP firewall does not identify which programs attempt to initiate outbound network or Internet communications nor does it block the traffic when suspicious activity occurs.
- This feature can be helpful in preventing many types of malware attacks that may attempt to open ports or communicate with outside servers without the user's knowledge or consent. It also means that if your system has been compromised, a hacker could use your machine as part of a distributed denial of service attack.
- By default, Windows Firewall rejects all incoming traffic unless that traffic is in response to a previous outgoing request. If you're running Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows Firewall is turned on by default. If your Firewall is not turned on by default, then your using an unpatched OS and need to update your system to SP2.
offers two-way filtering for better security but its the bare minimum and still limited. By default, most outbound filtering is turned off (outbound connections are allowed
) and inbound filtering is turned on (inbound connections are blocked
). Configuration is confusing and there is no practical way to to configure outbound filtering to stop all unwanted outbound connections. You can only turn inbound filtering on or off, and through the various tabs, configure how inbound filtering works. Windows 7 Firewall
is similar to Vista but adds a few new features in the firewall and related network-safety areas such as separate configuration settings for private (Home or Work) and public networks.
What's new in the Windows 7 Firewall?
As with Vista, the basic settings for the Windows 7 firewall are accessed via the Control Panel applet. Unlike Vista, you can also access the advanced settings (including configuration of filtering for outbound connections) through the Control Panel instead of having to create an empty MMC and add a snap-in...
The Vista firewall allows you to choose whether you are on a public or private network. With Windows 7, you have three choices - public network, home network or work network. The two latter options are treated as private networks...With all network types, by default the Windows 7 firewall blocks connections to programs that are not on the list of allowed programs. Windows 7 allows you to configure the settings for each network type separately,...
Before installing a 3rd-party firewall, make sure you turn off the the Windows firewallWhy?
Using two software firewalls on a single computer could cause issues with connectivity to the Internet or other unexpected behavior. Further, running multiple software firewalls can cause conflicts
that are hard to identify and troubleshoot. Only one of the firewalls can receive the packets over the network and process them. Sometimes you may even have a conflict that causes neither firewall to protect your connection. However, you can use a hardware firewall
) and a software firewall
(Kerio or ZoneAlarm) in conjunction.
You also may want to read Understanding and Using Firewalls
Choosing a firewall is a matter of personal preference, your technical ability/experience, features offered, the amount of resources utilized, how it may affect system performance and what will work best for your system. A particular firewall that works well for one person may not work as well for another. There is no universal "one size fits all" solution
that works for everyone. You may need to experiment and find the one most suitable for your use.Free firewalls: (choose and install only one)