Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
While there are no "best" pop-up blockers or other anti-virus/spyware software, having something reputable in place is better than nothing at all.
What's the best Pop-Up Blocker? Anti-Virus Software? Anti-Spyware Software?
As Ask Leo! has grown, and I've seen the types of problems that people are facing every day, one thing has become very clear: viruses, spyware, popups and other kinds of internet vermin (for lack of a more polite term) are serious problems. And they're problems that aren't going away any time soon.
Many of my recommendations boil down to this: run a current spyware checker or run updated anti-virus software. Regularly. And make sure they're up to date. Regularly.
But what's the best package to run?
You won't like my answer.
One of the other things that had become excruciatingly clear, especially in the Anti-Virus arena and in the Anti-Spyware arena is that there is no clear winner. There is not one software package I can point you at - or for that matter use myself - that will catch everything.
I see this situation all the time: a person who's running a name-brand respected anti-whatever package is infected. Simply running another, different name-brand anti-whatever package catches the infection and corrects it. Or not, and a third one does. Or the infection is reported, but not fixed - but is fixed by another tool or package.
It's unfortunate, and confusing for the average user. And most certainly frustrating.
So what's a poor user to do? What package should you use?
I'm now of the opinion that, within reason, it doesn't matter. All of the major brands are about the same; they all probably catch 99% of what you'll ever care about. Popups. Spyware. Viruses. Use the one that came with your machine, or the one that you can afford, or the one that was rated highly by a magazine, or the one that your techie friend uses and can help you with.
But when it comes to spyware and viruses, use something. Just about anything is better than nothing at all.
And for the 1% that you choice doesn't catch - have a plan. Have a second or even a third product that you know you'll run to if you suspect a problem wasn't caught.
And for the 0.1% that the double scan doesn't catch? Have a plan. Have a resource to turn to - an online forum or a Q&A site like Ask Leo! or a tech friend you can turn to. You may never need them, but if you do you'll be glad you were prepared.