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Best Free Firewall & Virus Scanner? How Did My PC Get Infected?

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Basically my computer is infected with something and I've tried everything to get rid of it. Including getting someone in to look at it. I've decided to do a fresh install of windows to get rid of it. I have read up and watched videos on doing this. I have all my cd's ready.

I wanted to ask which is the best free firewall and virus scanner to use in future. I had a free AOL edition of Mcafee firewall and was using microsoft security essentials.

Also how did my computer get infected. This computer isn't used to download. My laptop is clean as a whistle and I use that for all downloads. That has the same security on it.
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    Miss Congeniality

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Hi Marieukxx,

I apologize for the late reply. No one is intentionally over looked here. Did you get your issue sorted? If not, please provide which Operating System you have on your computer and I'd be happy to help you.

You ask how this computer got infected when you don't use it for downloading. There are several ways for a computer to get infected. Downloading is not the only source for infection to be invited onto a computer. I have known computers to get infected that have never been used to connect to the internet.

Here are a few ways infections occur:

Email attachments
Poor surfing habits (visiting bad sites)
Connected to a home network or if your work computer is part of a larger network (don't even need to connect to the internet if sharing files)
Instant Messaging
From Mobile Devices
Not keeping all software up to date
Transferring files with USB Flash drives

Please read the following links as well:

How did I get infected in the first place? by Tony Klein
How Malware Spreads - How did I get infected by quietman7
How to prevent Malware: by miekemoes
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