Windows Antivirus in 2015

Should I pay for a subscription antivirus?

What antivirus is best for a typical user?

Windows, and PCs in general, have evolved quite a bit in the last decade or so. Viruses, although more pervasive than ever, are actually easier to avoid so long as the user is informed. I have a theory that I have tested extensively over the last decade, and it may save you a lot of money: it is simple–do not depend on antivirus to keep you safe, and be proactive!


Why are subscription antivirus services a scam?

  1. Most subscription-based antivirus are active protection, and work by constantly scanning your memory and hard drive for dangerous files. They do not usually use passive techniques to prevent viruses from gaining foothold, and these active methods are often ineffective and will slow down your computer significantly by constantly taxing your resources. They often have false-positives, which means that the antivirus may quarantine or delete files that are mistakenly identified as being dangerous.
  2. Antivirus subscriptions are expensive. Many claim to provide “total support” or “full protection,” but in reality these are false and exaggerated claims. You should not pay 50-100$ a year for a service that simply will not keep you safe and will degrade your user experience by slowing down your computer.
  3. Antivirus subscription services want you to think that you need their service to be safe, but in reality the best antivirus is you. By simply using a few free antivirus and anti-malware programs that employ passive protection and avoiding clicking ads or going to unsafe websites, you will be much safer and your PC will run at full speed.


What do I suggest?

  • Start with a clean copy of Windows. If your current PC is very infected with viruses, the easiest way to get back to normal is to wipe it clean and start again.


  • Use to install/update critical software quickly and securely. Make sure Windows is also fully updated, and that it continues to update regularly; this will patch security holes in the OS and also manage the anti-malware software that is built into modern Windows OS.


  • I highly recommend installing Spybot Search and Destroy 2, and Malwarebytes. If you absolutely must use active protection, Avast! Antivirus has a free version that is decent. Spybot has an immunization function that will keep malicious code from running, and you can manually activate both programs to perform an active scan when you need it. They will not scan without your permission. All are free, but you can pay to support and have access to additional features.


  • Use Google Chrome as your web browser and install the Adblock extension. I also highly recommend using Greasemonkey and installing anti-malware/adware plugins. Unchecky is another great piece of software that can keep you safe.


  • Be proactive and vigilant. Do not click ads and never download files from mysterious emails. Keep in mind that you should never download a file to participate in a survey or print coupons–any website that demands you do so is trying to cause you to download malicious software.


  • When downloading programs from the internet, be certain that you click the correct “download now” button, and not an ad. When you begin downloading the file, make sure the filename matches the filename on the download page.


  • When installing programs, always watch out for boxes checked, which may give the installer permission to install other unwanted programs, toolbars, or default homepages/search engines.


  • It doesn’t hurt to occasionally check your Windows startup applications, and make sure that nothing suspicious is going on. Check my Msconfig post for details. It also doesn’t hurt to use software like CCleaner to regularly sweep your PC of temporary files, and to scan for registry issues. A clean PC is a happy PC!


All Recommended Downloads


OnePlus One Review

My first smartphone was an AT&T Galaxy S3. I had it for a few years, and really wore it out. It was a great phone, but even though I replaced the Android ROM with a custom version of Cyanogen mod, I certainly did decline over the last six months of use. For example, the battery would only last a few hours, and no amount of tweaking could make it any better. Even replacing the battery made no difference at all. I was always upset that we had to pay $200 for a phone that was already years old–and that even if I wanted, I could not switch to a different service provider without unlocking the device forcefully. As the S3 grew older, I lost patience and sought out a new phone: The OnePlus One.


So a few months ago I finally received my OnePlus One–the new challenger to a congested line of flagship smartphones. In a market so filled with competition, you would expect the manufacturers to constantly try to overpower and undercut one another–but for many reasons they are all able to survive when charging exorbitant amounts of money for the top-tier phones. Chinese manufacturer OnePlus seeks to gain a strong foothold in the market by using a unique invite system to closely match production with demand, and by saving money wherever possible while still maintaining a quality device.


I had my doubts at first, but now I am most certainly forever going to support OnePlus–as the OPO is the best and most affordable smartphone device that I have ever used. Even the packaging that the phone came in was outstanding, and completely pumped me up for when I finally unveiled the phone and plugged it in to charge. The box, the charger, and all default-themed accessories have this wonderful red-black-white color scheme that is both unique and eye-catching. The back of the phone is not slick, but rather has a slip-resistant matte black coating. The navigation and home buttons are all digital on the long 1080p screen, and on the sides of the phone there are just a few buttons for volume control and power on/off. The SIM card fits into a compartment on the side, rather than behind the battery, and the only speakers are the loudspeakers at the bottom of the phone, and the small phone receiver speaker at the top.


I am not going to go into detail about the phone’s performance, but it blows my S3 out of the water. There is absolutely no competition. Everything loads instantly, even games that have long loading screens on my friend’s phones. The 1080p screen is gorgeous and high-resolution photos taken with the camera are jaw-dropping. The camera can even take 720p slow motion video at 120fps, and apparently, if you use the camera app provided by OnePlus, you can use their special algorithms to digitally enhance the quality of your photos even more.


The specs are available on the OnePlus One store page ( and I won’t reiterate them. But, let me admit that although I was at first upset about the lack of MicroSD slot, I now understand that 64GB is PLENTY–even for someone who downloads everything and takes countless pictures. Just make sure to delete old things every once and a while, and the 64GB will last forever. After just recently updating to Android 5.1.1, I used Antutu to benchmark the phone and I scored 48345 points overall. This ranks the OnePlus next to phones that cost $500-$700+, with the exception of the OnePlus Two–which, although may offer more bang for the buck, is still having lots of trouble being shipped out en masse… Otherwise, I might already have ordered one for myself.


Currently, my battery life is quite good. The phone is only a few months old and the battery life should stay strong and consistent for a while. If left completely idle, on power-saving mode, the phone may last as long as 30-40 hours. If it is being used regularly for phone, text, and internet, the battery life drops to 24 hours at best. If gaming non-stop, the battery life is likely no better than 6-8 hours. I do use Greenify and a few other apps to attempt to extend my battery life, but in the end I cannot complain about these hours, as my old S3 was only lasting 6 hours when completely idle.


Lastly, my OnePlus One came pre-loaded with Cyanogenmod OS. This is a custom version of Android that has many features and is entirely configurable to meet your needs. Many features, such as high-contrast text, LiveDisplay (which alters brightness and contrast based on time of day), and Sunlight-Adaptive Brightness are extremely helpful and really make this phone standout as having a clear, crisp picture that is easy to read in all environments. I also love how easy it is to change performance modes based on my needs; if I am going to play a game, I enable Performance mode and the processor works at full capacity to render the game, but if I am going to need the battery to be saved, I can enable Power-Saver Mode, which will underclock the processor and increase battery life.


All things considered, this is a phone that I expect to last a long time, and so far I am absolutely pleased with what it has to offer. I was hard-pressed to find complaints for this device, and many of the complaints that I could scrounge up are fixed or changed in the new OnePlus Two. Considering this device sells for nearly half of what the competition is going for, although it may lack some minor features, it stands out as the best value smartphone in the market. If you’re in the market for a smartphone that costs $150-250, you should save your money and buy the OnePlus One. If you’re in the market for a smartphone that costs well over $300, you should seriously consider saving your money and going with the OnePlus One. Use the extra money to buy yourself some good accessories, and especially, a good case. I use the TUDIA ULTRA OMINIX Case and it is really quite good for the money. I am sure that the OtterBox models are also fantastic, but at the time I bought my phone, there actually was not a single OtterBox available.


Comments or questions? Post below!

MsConfig and Startup Apps

If you’re running any modern version of a Windows OS, you can easily check and configure your startup applications.

First, on Windows OS with an old-fashioned Start Menu:

  1. Click Start, then click Run…
  2. Type “msconfig”
  3. Check the Startup Tab.
  4. Disable unwanted or unnecessary applications!

On more modern Windows OS without a traditional Start Menu, simply ctrl+alt+delete, then go to the Startup tab in Task Manager.

If you disable unnecessary applications, you can significantly increase the boot time of your OS. This can also be extremely helpful if you are dealing with a computer that is infected with many viruses. Simply enter Safe Mode before the OS boots, and then disable the services and applications related to the virus.

You SHOULD Overclock Your Monitor!

I recently heard of this monitor-overclocking business, and at first I thought it was a joke. Many years ago, I remember hearing about forcing a faster refresh rate upon the monitor to squeeze out a couple extra Hz, but I wasn’t sure how to do it, and I’d never worried about it.

Recently, when I purchased a new monitor, I started looking into the refresh rate, and discovered the monitor overclocking is much more common than I ever expected. It’s also very easy to do, and the benefits are well worth the small amount of time you’ll need to dedicate to get it working.


Five Steps to Overclocking Your Monitor:

  1. Head over to and download/extract the Custom Resolution Utility!
  2. Click “Add…” under the Detailed Resolutions panel.
  3. Change the “Refresh Rate” value in the popup window. Increase in very small increments.
  4. After making several new refresh rates at your native resolution, restart your PC.
  5. In your graphics/video adapter control panel, choose one of your new refresh rates…

If it doesn’t work (out of range), or you have significant artifacts, try a lesser value or go back to your defaults.

Some monitors may encounter odd issues, such as changes in the RGB settings or contrast/color/brightness. Use your monitor’s control panel to fix these issues, if possible.


This guide is short and concise, feel free to add comments or questions below if you need help!

Hopefully you can squeeze a couple extra Hz out of your monitor and enjoy a slightly better experience! Refresh rate can make a noticeable difference in 3D games!