Free antivirus

Fed up with bloated commercial antivirus programs? Sick of the incremental payments for yearly renewals for the likes of Symantec's Norton AntiVirus and McAfee's Virus Scan Plus? Yank these behemoths out by their roots and replace them with a super-duper freebie.

The Hassle: I want to switch over to a free antivirus program, but I seem to need a blowtorch to remove Norton AntiVirus. (Ditto for the McAfee product on my wife's PC.) Help!

The Fix: Blowtorch? Some people have tried using C4 plastic explosives to remove Norton products - and the Live Update still survives. If "Add or Remove Programs" in Windows doesn't do the job, Norton provides a removal method that's terrific - but at the same time, a royal pain in the behind. It's the Norton Removal Tool (also called the AutoFix Tool; get it at

It extracts every Norton product on your system (versions 2003 through 2007). That's right, it's dopey, and you're stuck reinstalling the tools you want to keep. (Dig up your original CDs before you start this fun exercise.) And yes, you will likely lose the personal settings when you reinstall the Norton products. McAfee has a manual, albeit cumbersome, method to remove its VirusScan product (

For a replacement program, I have two favourite antivirus freebies: Grisoft's AVG (, which is the application that I use, and Alwil's Avast (

QUICK TIP: And talking about uninstalling, you have to try MyUninstaller, Nir Sofer's nifty, free utility ( The app also lists each program's location on your drive, when it was installed and the product's Web site.

AntiSpyware gripe

The Hassle: After running an anti spyware program, I now have only sporadic access to the Web.

The Fix: The culprit is a Layered Service Provider that went kaflooey or vanished. You may be able to Web surf, but you may not have e-mail, or vice versa. The fix is easy.

If you're using Windows 98 or Me, download and run LSPFix ( XP users with Service Pack 2 should go to Start-Run and type CMD and click OK. In the command window, type netsh winsock reset, and reboot. No luck? Borrow a buddy's PC and download WinSock XP Fix ( x.html ), a free tool that makes the LSP behave. Then read the tutorial (

Un-jam a print queue

The Hassle: I started printing a 50-page document. Midway through, the job stopped, yet my clicking Cancel in the system tray's print queue didn't help.

The Fix: It's technically known as printicus stuckitis. From the Start menu, select Run, enter CMD and click OK. Type net stop spooler to halt the service. Leave the CMD window open, wait a few seconds, and check the print queue again - the print job should be gone. Type net start spooler in the CMD box to restart service.


PRINT HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE Want to print a document directly on a pal's printer, anywhere in the world? If you're both online, you can do it with PrinterAnywhere ( The free utility installs on both PCs, and you can choose the PrinterAnywhere printer from any application. An encrypted version of your file shoots through the Net and outputs on your friend's printer. Turn the idea around, and you can share your printer with anyone. The program is ideal for sending confidential documents, and unlike e-mail, your file can't be forwarded.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Steve Bass

PC World
Show Comments



Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?