Online services such as AOL and PeoplePC stress their tools packages which purport to keep your system safe from viruses and other harmful software. In reality, these "toolkits" can get in the way, rather than help, when you do get into trouble with any kind of malware. They do a lot of popping up to tell you your system is infected (or probably infected), something you obvously already know after one notification. These inceasant pop-ups actually slow you down and cause confusion while you're trying to use real utilities to get rid of whatever malware you've picked up. Further, these "tools" often simply send you to Websites to download "free" utilities that tell you you're infected, but add that you must first pay to register before they'll remove anything. Some of these utilities are in fact known to be "rogue" software dwsigned at the least to lure you into buying something that often won't work anyway. At worst, some of them can actually damage your system more than it already is. There are a few tools I use, most of which I learned of from Microsoft, and which I've found to be truly helpful. These are AVG Free 8.0, Spybot Search & Destroy (latest version), MalwareBytes (free edition), Super AntiSpyware (free edition) and the protection scan offered at www.safety.live.com
. You could also pick up copies of RegCure and Max Registry Cleaner (both available at a fairly nominal cost), to clean up your registry.