Windows anti-spyware

Winpooch is a very good open source security tool for your Windows. Similar to the freeware WinPatrol, it monitors the programs on your computer to catch any suspicious behavior.

WinpoochAssociated with ClamWin, your computer will have a complete open source protection system against virus, spywares, and trojans. ClamWin alone currently doesn’t have real time scanning function but with Winpooch it will. It is also important to note that Winpooch will not remove spywares but work to prevent them from acting on your Windows machine.

I’ve used it for quite sometime and it worked well, until I decided to use the best protection system: Linux.

You can download it from SourceForge. The project was last updated in April of last year, I hope they’re planning to continue development on it since it is a really nice tool for Windows users to have.

Antivirus – ClamWin

ClamWinCurrently on version 0.92, ClamWin is a good open source antivirus program for Windows (the Unix version is called Clam AV, the engine behind Clam Win).

From my tests it has a nice detection rate. It has automatic downloads, shell integration (where you can use its functions through right-click). It also has plug ins for email verification.

ClamWin window

The bad thing about ClamWin is that it doesn’t have (yet) a real-time scanner so you’re left at manually run system checks. But, this should be solved soon with version 1.0.

I have ClamWin and Clam AV installed on my Linux distro and Windows respectively. But… since some functionalities of the program aren’t stable yet, I’m left with no option but to use a freeware proprietary application as well as ClamWin.

Download ClamWin, or Clam AV (on my Linux distro it was on Synaptic). If you want to add the program to your pen drive, just install the Portable Apps version.

Volume encryption with TrueCrypt

If you have important document files you want to keep safe on your computer the best way to go is with TrueCrypt. This program allows you to create an encrypted volume where you can store files, programs, or even an entire operating system.

This program is very simple to use. You first create the volume you want with its size, mount the volume (where it will appear as a real disk), and start packing it with files. Whenever you’re done using these files just unmount the volume and everything is tightly encrypted again. You can even encrypt an entire partition, including your Windows partition. The whole mounting and unmounting process takes just a few seconds.

TrueCrypt

Another cool feature on TrueCrypt are the hidden volumes. This is where you’ll have a secretive volume inside an encrypted volume. Basically what this means is that you mount a volume with one password and it’ll show you one set of files but if you mount the same volume with another password it’ll show the hidden volume you’ve created. So, there’s actually no way of telling whether you have a hidden volume or not.

Since I try to be as paperless as I can, I scan all my personal documents and keep it all safely stored in an encrypted volume.

TrueCrypt works on Windows, MacOS X, and Linux.

Start programs super fast with Launchy

Forget the “Start” menu and program shortcut icons, they can be sluggish and too crowded quite fast. A much faster way to go where you want on your computer is by using your keyboard and the open source Launchy.

Launchy is a keystroke launcher so when you need to start any program just call it by pressing “ALT + Space bar”, and then just type the name of the program you wish. Most of the time it’ll show the program you want by typing just the first couple letters of it.

Launchy OpenOffice

You can even browse the web faster by calling your “Firefox”, press TAB and then just write the name of the website you want. Launchy will take you directly to the page you want.

Launchy calling google

This is a Windows app, for Linux you have options such as Katapult (KDE), GnomeDo (Gnome), and for Macs the brilliant Spotlight.