How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: What Anti-Malware Software Do You Use?

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Having good anti-malware software as a supplement to your anti-virus software is important for your PC security strategy. This week we would like to know which anti-malware software that you use.


These days a person not only has to watch out for viruses but also spyware, crapware, and rogue/fake security software such as AntiSpyware 2009 and Antivirus Live. The fun never stops. Those of us who work hard to keep our computers clean usually know someone such as a family member, friend, or co-worker who seems to be a malware magnet. As a one person IT department you get the opportunity to learn all about malware and how to get rid of it.

A malware infested system can be a frustrating pain to work with once the malware has its’ claws dug in deep. On occasion a clean wipe is the only thing that will work, but anti-malware software can save you a lot of work and grief by returning a system to its properly functioning condition. It all depends on the types and amount of malware that has managed to set up home on a system.

Which anti-malware software do you use to protect your computer? Do you only use one or multiple anti-malware apps to get the job done? Let us know in the comments!

Note: Multiple selections (up to 4 choices) enabled on this poll.

[polldaddy poll=”3500028″]

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 07/28/10

Comments (52)

  1. KBPrez

    Malwarebytes and SUPERAntiSpyware.

  2. billy13

    Malwarebytes Anti Malware…!!!

  3. ManUtd10732

    Just a quick pointer, if you are using Microsoft Security Essentials, chances are you are not using Windows Defender per se, since Windows Defender is somehow integrated into Microsoft Security Essentials.

  4. Brent

    Microsoft Security Essentials

  5. Mohan

    I will be honest here. I don’t use any as my everyday machine (main desktop) and my notebook both run Ubuntu 10.04. But on my older desktop which runs Windows XP I use Spybot S&D.

  6. Andy

    Surprised you don’t have MS Security Essentials in the list as it works as both anti virus and anti malware at the same time.

    Personally I only have one loaded for real time protection – MSSE. However, if the need arises (normally fixing other people’s machines) then I use several different ones to make sure the system is clean. For this point I would also like to give a big shout out for combofix – it has helped me clean systems where other tools could not find malware that was clearly there.

  7. Andrew

    I still don’t understand why you need these tools. Isn’t Microsoft Security Essentials and other anti-virus/ spyware enough?

  8. Kevin Scott Schlanger

    Is Microsoft Security Essentials an Anti-Malware application?

  9. Alex Layne

    Shouldn’t there be an option for ‘none’?

  10. franz dibbler

    I use Spywareblaster along with MSSE, SpybotSD and Malwarebytes.

  11. theamazingpete

    I use MSE, SuperAntiSpyware and MalwareBytes unfortunately the latter two sound more like a virus than a security app.

  12. at0mic

    i’m using mse, malwarebytes, spywareblaster and i’m trying out Immunet cloud based antivirus. it says it can be ran alongside your current antivirus and i haven’t notice any slow downs or conflicts. i also keep an update SAS on a flashdrive just in case

  13. Scott

    I just finished removing the rogue AV program “Antivir Solution Platinum” from my father’s laptop, started my daily webstie reading, and saw this article. What a coincidence.

    Antivir Solution Platinum uninstalled via the control panel without any fight but it appears (via history log) MS Security Essentials saved the day by preventing trojans from being installed.

  14. shanklin

    I use windows defender. Its all I need. Never had any problems with it so far. Most of those other ones have bloatwear with it trying to get yo to install a bunch of things you dont need. That in itself makes me think its not focusing on it real task, keeping me safe not filling my drive up with bullshit! Windows defender yes sir!

  15. Jackson

    I like to use Malwarebytes and if that does not work I run combo fix. That will get rid of it, but I only use it if I have to since it can mess up other stuff too.

  16. firemcd

    There is currently an embedded JAVA exploit program that is infesting even legitimate websites, not just porn and peer-to-peer websites. It is invulnerable to any anti-virus software or mal-ware programs that do not first shut down ALL active processes first (like KillBytes), and then runs a very complete program like MALWAREBYTES afterward. This JAVA exploit is one of the nastiest I have seen or personally experienced in 5 years. The computer shops and GEEK SQUAD are currently making a fortune telling people about half of the bad news (the other half is they are not skilled enough to fix it), and then charging them 200 bucks to reload windows after formatting their hard drive.
    Any body else aware of this? Anybody else aware of how JAVA is just shrugging and going “OH, WELL, third party issue-not our problem!”

  17. Jeff

    Don’t need it… Linux user.

  18. madhukarah

    I love Combofix and Malwarebytes antimalware .. :)

  19. kernel

    come on guys! LH is asking what anti-malware solution is being used. NOT what OS you are using.

    and for those “i’m using Linux” crowd. duh!! it shows how ignorant you are about your OS.

  20. USER

    MBAM is the best still!

  21. Em

    Malwarebytes & Super Anti-Spyware are brilliant, without a doubt the best free anti-malware applications out there.

  22. Mullberry

    Malwarebytes, Eset Smart security4 and a well maintained HOSTS file

  23. skynet

    Other …..

    Microsoft Security Essentials in my windows 7 and a Mac doesn’t use anyone :P

  24. jeff

    Use megabytes am comodo security suit

  25. Chronno S. Trigger

    I don’t actively use a spyware program short of the spyware extensions in AVG. When “it” hits the fan I use Malwarebytes, Spybot S&D, and a program I found called Trojan Remover. Trojan Remover not only removes all the crap malware, but it also fixes the stupid security settings that get set, like disabling the task manager or regedit. Trojan remover is pay software and really annoying in day to day use, so I just use it as a last resort.

  26. aaron

    I started using linux several years ago, haven’t had any malware since. Don’t get me wrong, am not trying to preach that linux is better than MS, but I will say, since I switched to linux, I haven’t had any viruses, spyware or malware. I do run regular virus scans, but have yet to have any issues.


  27. Robert

    I use ESET Smart Security 4. Why is this not on the list?

  28. サムマルケル

    Where’s the option for Linux?

  29. rMatey180

    Don’t use anything other than Ubuntu 10.04

  30. amozai

    I use Malwarebytes Anti malware & SUPERAntiSpyware.

  31. Mohannad

    Does I need to install Anti-Malware software ?? (BTW I have installed KIS and USB Disk Security already) and Should I customize the settings of these programs to be on the safe side ??

  32. Renee Vanderbilt

    I use avast,immunet protect,Superantispyware pro,malwarebytes,Hitman Pro,Spybot Search & Destroy,spyware Blaster..if necessary, I can access numerous online scanners in safe mode as long as I can still bootup..if not, I have rescue cd and always make a backup every sunday..also I set restore points at least once each week and once a month, I remove all restore points and start a new.

  33. renee vanderbilt

    PS also using sandboxie and shadow defender

  34. Phuctifino

    Malwarebytes,SUPERAntiSpyware & Spyware Blaster.
    I have to turn off the Protection Module in Malwarebytes though,because it hammers the CPU & hogs so much RAM.

  35. Letsrock

    I removed Avast! free edition for Microsoft Security Essentials and haven’t looked back!

  36. Darryl

    I use Returnil with Immunet and Threatfire. That should cover it all.

  37. cdbob

    as “live” primary (resident).
    Have tried ’em all and this is best by far.
    Non-intrusive, with auto scans/updates
    that don’t impact performance.
    Quite accurate but with few false positives
    which are taken out of quarantine by NEW definitions.

    But no one anti-malware app is sufficient. So I
    cross-check by on-demand use of installed but non-resident
    free versions of
    –Emisoft (formerly a-squared)
    –Super Anti-Spyware
    –Hitman Pro (free cloud version)

    I find newest build of
    way too slow, intrusive and a resource hog
    so thinking of uninstalling it.
    –MSE (for failure to work with Windows Security Center monitoring and insulting support)
    –Zone Alarm (for disabling System Restore without ever admitting it)

  38. cdbob

    On the ballot,
    you should list AVAST.
    I’m sure it’s a big portion of OTHER
    with usage higher than some listed.

  39. vipreUser


  40. Steve H

    Malwarebytes and Super AntiSpyware

  41. Asian Angel

    @Mullberry – I totally agree with you about keeping a well maintained HOSTS file. ^__^

  42. Roi

    Actually that exploit in Java was fixed in version 6u20. The current version is 6u21 so you’re a little late there buddy.

  43. Callum Booth

    I use avast! anti-virus and Spybot S&D
    Callum Booth

  44. RCG3

    @Andrew LOL

  45. Starkiller


  46. Keshav37a

    microsoft security essentials

  47. Bin

    MBAM recommended to all!

  48. Spead Mark

    I like to use Symantec software, but I’m thinking about switching to a new one when I get a better computer. Thanks for the post!

  49. lukekire

    I use Malwarebytes, hasn’t failed me yet! and Avast for the Antivirus, these two are a good combo on Windows. On my Ubuntu Linux PC’s, i use Avast too. No antimalware, but Antivirus yes, i am paraniod. Don’t need my servers distributing viruses or malware. :)

  50. kanggot666

    malwarebytes anti-malware is really good..

  51. Susan Cassidy

    As per Tech expert, Kim Komando, one should use only one anti-virus, and a minimum of two (2) anti-spyware programs….I use MSE on my new laptop (Win 7) and it has Windows Defender included. As a back-up I use MBAM. On my older desktop running Win XP Pro and not much RAM (for now-I plan to upgrade as soon as I have some extra $ LOL), I am using Clam AV and running it on a regular basis along with MBAM. Clam AV is not real-time protection; it has an addendum called Clam Sentinel that offers real-time coverage, but it slows me down too much right now. I am sure once I upgrade my RAM, I will be able to use MSE and probably Spybot (since it’s an older machine that at one time had multiple users-it used to be my son’s-has been officially mine since 2009) and MBAM as back-up. I have tried almost every anti-spyware program on your list, and most were really good programs, and as one commenter above said-there are also many other great ones (free, too) out there!

  52. Frank Duffey

    I use ClamTK on a Ubuntu 10.10 Dell Inspiration 1545 Dual Core Laptop with a 250 Gig hDD I have had no problems with clam TK nor have I had any virus problems after I removed Windows 7 and I am running Ubuntu only on this Laptop. I have over 20 years in the IT Business and Owned a Computer Business with a partner in St Petersburg FL from 1995 to 2002.

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