Malwarebytes - A Free and Effective Spyware/Adware Removal Utility
As an IT professional, one of the most common things I'm asked about is malware. "Malware" is simply a term that means malicious software. The two most common types you'll hear about are spyware and adware. Basically, these are programs that slow down your PC and pester you with advertisements and popups. There are an abundance of programs for sale that will provide protection against malware, but there are also quite a few free options.
Malwarebytes is my preferred malware scanner. It's free and very reliable. When running it on problem PCs, it almost always detects and removes problems that other scanners have left behind. In addition, the scans are typically quite fast. Updates are released daily to make sure that it can combat even the newest malware you may come into contact with.
There is a paid version of Malwarebytes as well. It provides some additional features, such as scheduled updates.This is certainly beneficial, and I would consider it to be worth it if you like the program and like to have automated updates and scans running to make sure your PC remains unaffected by malware. Manually updating and scanning is fine as well, however, so don't feel the need to pay if you don't mind doing some manual maintenance.
Malwarebytes is my anti-malware solution of choice. I've even used it to clean up some PCs that already had big-name paid software that couldn't quite get the job done. As with most types of software, free doesn't necessarily mean inferior.