15 free security and backup utilities

Use SuperAntiSpyware, AVG Anti-Virus, Backupify, or more of these free downloads and services to secure your PC and your data

Lock Down Your PC

Protect your PC with the following four downloads and services, all free. We've also chosen four great no-cost antivirus apps.

Passwords play a prominent role not just in computing but also in everyday life. Download KeePass to organize and protect all manner of important data, from ATM codes to Social Security numbers to Web passwords. You need remember only a single password--this download remembers the rest.

OpenDNS promises to protect your kids from online violence, pornography, phishing, and more. Guess what? It works. Even better, there's nothing to install. Simply sign up and point your PCs or router to the OpenDNS servers, and presto: bulletproof protection.

Its name is a bit over the top, but SuperAntiSpyware is a robust, legitimate malware fighter. This download runs in the background and staves off and removes even the nastiest attacks.

Clicking any link that you find on the Web--even one at the top of a Google search page--can lead to a spyware infestation. The free browser plug-in Web of Trust vets the links you click. Green means good, red means bad. Simple.

PCWorld Tested: Free Antivirus Programs

Alwil Avast Home Edition

  • Pro: Capable malware detection
  • Con: Confusing interface
  • Bottom line: Solid antimalware protection.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.5

  • Pro: Good PC disinfection
  • Con: Slow on-demand scans
  • Bottom line: Useful blocking of Web-based attacks.

Avira AntiVir Personal

  • Pro: Excellent detection, disinfection process
  • Con: Interface not novice-friendly
  • Bottom line: Thorough protection and top-notch scan speed.

Microsoft Security Essentials (beta)

  • Pro: Nearly perfect in disabling infections
  • Con: Somewhat slow
  • Bottom line: An effective utility.

Next: Backup Tools

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Adam Pash and Rick Broida

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