Our newest desktop is an a la carte model from MWave. I cherry-picked the parts, then paid MWave to assemble and test them.
We also run a 7-year-old 2GHz Dell Dimension 8200 with 1Gb of RAM and an 80Gb hard drive. I've found certain programs that play well together, and keep a system relatively secure. While there's no substitute for common sense, these free software applications and web reference sites have worked well to keep my system clean. I use all of the resident programs. I run the scan programs periodically. I use the advanced tools as needed.
Basic Defensive Freeware
Protection through periodic scans:
* Spybot S&D has both a resident and a scan component. It can also be set to auto-update itself, which is convenient.Advanced Defensive Freeware
The basic tools are pretty easy to install, set up and use. Yes, I do run them all. I believe in a layered defense. ALL of these tools are what is called "white hat" - from the "good guys". Spybot Search & Destroy has had problems with scammers trying to fool folks into downloading spyware that LOOKS like SS&D, from a site that LOOKS like the SS&D site. The site link here is one of the known good ones, owned by the developer team.
Advanced tools are for diagnosing and fixing infested systems. The "advanced mode" of Spybot Search & Destroy qualifies as an advanced tool. YOU CAN ROYALLY SCREW UP YOUR SYSTEM if you don't use the advanced tools properly. You can install these and see how they work, but if you don't know what you're doing, DON'T CHANGE ANYTHING. That means DON'T tell the app to fix problems found, DON'T delete anything, DON'T run any kind of cleanup, and DON'T change any of the settings.