There are times when things break or stop working, this is a reality we all face. Computers seem to break on the software level more often than not and we need to take them to a shop to get fixed or repair them ourselves. I personally prefer the latter option. The truth is that it is cheaper to do it your self and then you know what is being done to your computer. Unfortunately, or fortunately for computer repair men, many people do not know how to fix basic computer problems. Here are some tools I use regularly to keep Windows PCs clean and fix them when they are already infected.
CCleaner is one of the first programs that I hear when computer maintenance is mentioned. CCleaner is a simple program that has some great features.
CCleaner will clean up you temporary files that Windows leaves behind along with browser cookies, web history, and form history. Windows is one of the worst offenders when it comes to house keeping and leaves a lot of temporary files behind when it is done with a task. CCleaner will clean up temporary files from many programs including web browsers and Bit Torrent Clients (Which is good if you torrent a lot of files). My dad is one of the worst at keeping his computer clean, I ran this and was able to remove around 40 GB of temporary files from Internet Explorer alone (he is a zealous IE user for some reason). After cleaning you may see a significant increase in disc space and performance if you have a lot of temporary files.
CCleaner also has a Registry Cleaner which will keep your registry clean of dead registry files. This will not free up your hard drive of much space, but you may see a performance boost.
Now this is a tool that I do not use often, however when a computer gets malware this is the tool for the job. I have not used it much, but I have experienced some ransomware that my anti-virus did not detect till it was to late. Boot up in safe mode and run this and it will remove many forms of malware.
The free version will be the most you will need for most situations, but in my experience you will need to update the malware database manually each time there is an update.
For more advanced users or commercial use there is a premium edition that offers scheduled scans, real-time protection (scans new files as they appear), and an alternative scanning mode.
Anti-virus and Firewall are a very personal choice. Comodo is my personal recommendation. Comodo Internet Security is a free security suite that includes a Firewall and Anti-virus.
Comodo has a great database that is kept up to date and the Firewall learns from you. It gets extremely annoying when setting up as it will pop up a window every time you run a program for the first time asking if you wish to allow it permissions it asks for. Its virus scanner is a bit too sensitive in that it will pick up anything that acts like or looks like a virus and will quarantine it. Despite these flaws it is, in my biased opinion, one of the best free Anti-viruses and Firewalls.
It includes Anti-Spyware, Anti-Rootkit, Bot Protection, Auto Sandboxing, and Anti-Malware.