Running free virus software on Windows

Think you might have a virus in your PC, but you don’t have a real-time virus zapper?

Bitdefender Online Scanner is free and will scan and fix anything from Windows 98 through Windows Vista. And yes, there are still people who run Windows 98. My Windows 98 system took two hours to download the program and check for viruses–an hour and fifteen minutes for the download on dialup and another forty-five for the scan.

Another free anti-virus program, Clamwin–available on SourceForge–is a bit more mystical. The program itself took an hour and a half to download on dialup, then timed out trying to load all the virus profiles when my provider dropped the connection sometime in the small hours of the night. Running the scan took two hours, but at the end of the scan, all it was able to do was to tell me I had adware on one particular program. If there’s any way to fix any problems the program finds after running such a lengthy test, it sure isn’t intuitive.

But of course, for spyware and adware, Spybot Search and Destroy and Ad-Aware have very usable free programs.

Later: Ah, perhaps this is it. If I do a CTNL/ALT/DEL and start disabling processes one by one, except for systray, I find there are two processes, both named exec, and if I stop one of them, I can then run scandisk and defrag. Hmmm.

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