Joe writes:

I use Avast AV,Malwarebytes for malware  and CCleaner for general cleanup. I also have Microsoft’s AV which comes with the computer I believe but is not active.I also have Micro’s firewall. Is this overkill and what would you suggest I delete? Thanks. I always check your tips column.

Actually Joe,  Using an anti-virus with malware bites and a cleaner is exactly right. I wouldn’t suggest you delete anything.  You could uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials, but there’s really no reason to, you might want to use it some day.

An anti-virus programs focuses on preventing problems. It stops files with viruses from being downloaded onto your computer and infecting your files. It can also prevent these files from activating on your computer and quarantine these files to stop them from spreading.


Malware programs focus on removing infected files. An infected file could get past your security or you could accidentally let it onto your computer by opening a bad file or going to page with malicious code. Malware removal tools can hunt down and remove this malicious software.


A firewall protects your computer by screening out anyone seeking access to your computer. It allows you to access to the Internet, but stops others from having access to you.


Every computer needs a firewall, an anti-virus and a malware program. You need to make sure you keep your virus and malware definitions up-to-date and run scans to make sure nothing has made its way onto your computer.

CCleaner is a program used to clean up temporary internet files, invalid registry entries and broken shortcuts. It also clears out your browsing history. It’s not a security program and can’t remove viruses, spyware or malware.  

That may seem like a lot of programs for security, but think of it as having your regular door lock, a dead bolt and burglar alarm at a house in a neighborhood where there are constant break-ins.

 ~ Cynthia