AG-BlackNoTag04 The First Name In Computer Support

Issue #3

Monthly Newsletter

Welcome to issue #3 of the Alpha Geeks Monthly Newsletter! In last month’s issue,  we provided you with a comprehensive overview of spyware. Since we published the last newsletter, Webroot (the manufacturer of Spy Sweeper) has published the first “State Of Spyware” Quarterly report.  This is a 75 page in-depth review of spyware, adware, and unwanted software that effects both individual and corporate users. If you found our article on spyware interesting, we highly recommend this quick read.  You can find this report by clicking this link, or by clicking on the picture below.


A new feature of our newsletter starting this month will be our Tip Of The Month.  Each month we will bring you a helpful tip that will help to improve the overall performance of your computer or your network. So with no further delay, here is this months tip:

Tip Of The Month


With the summer months approaching, we all welcome the warmth that the sun brings. But did you know that room temperatures above 80 degrees can actually decrease the performance of your computers, and possibly damage some of the components of your system? Computers and networking equipment such as routers work optimally when the ambient room temperature is in the low 70’s and below. 

We recently had several of our clients experience loss of connection from both the internet and their network. A closer inspection of the problem found that they were keeping their routers on a table in direct sunlight. The added heat was forcing the routers to stop functioning until they would return to safe operating temperatures.

Double check your computers and routers to ensure that they are not in direct sunlight, and if you like to keep your room temperatures in the mid 70’s or higher, position a fan in the room so it blows on your computer equipment to help keep it cool. Keeping your equipment cool will help to expand the life span of your system and peripherals!

Anti-Spyware Products Reviewed

Last month we provided a comprehensive overview of spyware. In that article we promised that this month’s  article would rate some of the various anti-spyware programs available on the market today.  While there is no possible way for us to rate every single application available, we have reviewed some of the more popular utilities currently in use. 

Anti-Spyware programs can be broken into two separate types:
   - Free (downloadable)
   - Paid

The difference between the two types of programs are varied, however the biggest difference is that the majority of free versions let an unlimited amount of spyware on your system, where it is free to corrupt your programs, data, and steal your identity, whereas the paid versions attempt to block spyware as it tries to install itself on your system. 

Another major difference between the two types of programs is that the paid versions allow you to schedule scans of your system at a time of your choosing, whereas with the free versions, you have to run the program to remove any of the spyware that it has allowed on your system.

A big misconception of both anti-spyware and anti-virus programs is that you are protected from threats simply because you have the programs on your system.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Having a bottle of sunscreen with you at the beach does not protect you unless you apply it.  Similarly, the programs cannot protect you unless you actually use them.

To effectively use these programs, the first priority is having the most current and updated version of the program working for you. For the free programs, this means that you must start the program, and then use the built in update utility to download and install the most current updates prior to scanning your system. The paid versions allow you to have the programs automatically update themselves, as well as scan at a preset time and date.

The anti-spyware programs that we have reviewed below are all recommended for use on your system.  Unlike anti-virus programs, it is safe to run more than one type of anti-spyware program.  It is actually recommended to have several different programs working on your system since they all look for different types of spyware.  Now let’s take a look at some of the different programs available to help combat spyware.  Click on the product picture to be taken to a website to download the products:


Name: Spybot
Type: Free

Review: A good free anti-spyware utility.  The engine is a bit dated, but still worth having on your system and using as a secondary program.

Name: Ad-Aware SE
Type: Free

Review: Another good free utility.  A more fully featured paid version is available, but the free version is still a great deal.

Name: CounterSpy
Type: Paid

Review: Quickly gaining ground as a powerhouse utility to be reckoned with. This product is one to watch, and could dethrone Spy Sweeper.


Name: Microsoft Anti-Spyware
Type: Free

Review: The best of the available free utilities.  Allows for scheduled scans and works in real time.  Microsoft has promised to keep this utility free.  It is still in its testing phase, but it looks to be a winner.  This utility is highly recommended. 

Name: Spy Sweeper
Type: Paid

Review: Simply the best! This program detects and removes more spyware than any other product we tested.  Winner of numerous awards, and an indispensable utility in the fight against spyware.

Name: Pest Patrol
Type: Paid

Review: Not as good as Spy Sweeper, but this will do a good job at keeping some of the nastiest forms of spyware off your system.  This program provides above average real time protection and a simple user interface.

As mentioned earlier, the programs above are all recommended for use on your system. But what about some of the other programs on the market? Many ISP’s such as AOL, Earthlink, SBC, and others have recently been advertising that they are including anti-spyware programs for free when you use their services.  We have evaluated the various programs that these service providers use, and our review of these programs are less than glowing.  The programs that the various ISP’s use are somewhat effective, however we feel that by advertising that they are protecting you from the most dangerous threat to your system today is misleading.  They lure the consumer into a false sense of security by making them believe that they are fully protected against viruses and spyware.  Some protection is better than none, however we recommend that you stick with the programs reviewed above. 

Another great way to keep spyware off your system is combining anti-spyware with the use of a web browser other than Internet Explorer.  Next month we will review 3 of the most popular alternate browsers on the market today.

Other Newsletter Issues

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