Last time out we looked at the pitfalls of having more than one antivirus program on your computer. I promised that, this time, we’d look at alternative antivirus tools – effective protection which can work without having more than one antivirus scanner on your system.

Why would you want to supplement your existing antivirus/anti-malware solution? To put it simply, no antivirus solution is perfect; infections can still happen, even with an active antivirus and up to date definitions. Some types of infections, such as rootkits and trojans, can bypass existing protection schemes. Adding a second traditional antivirus program to your computer won’t help dislodge them, but using a standalone, specialized scanner/cleaner can definitely help.

Standalone virus scanners include industry stalwarts such as the McAfee Stinger, the Bitdefender Rootkit Remover, and the Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool. These programs do not install and run on your system like a traditional antivirus solution would; instead, after download, they are simply run by double clicking on them. They then scan your system, detecting whatever threats they were designed to eliminate. They can then be sent to the recycle bin, their job done. These standalone tools do not provide comprehensive protection but can do a great job removing specific, stubborn threats. They are all free for private use, which makes them an indispensable tool! Running one of these programs once a month (with your existing antivirus software disabled) can really help curb the incidence of active infection on your computer.

As with all software, of course, be cautious when running anything on your system. Download these programs from their own manufacturers websites or from a trusted third party, such as Be aware, also, that there may be differing versions based upon which version of Windows you have.