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Old January 7th, 2019, 05:15 PM
Digerati Digerati is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Nebraska, USA
Posts: 2,465
It has no 3rd party AV or malware programs. it just has built in Win Defender.
That is not good. Do not be confused by another of Microsoft's confusing naming policies. The Windows Defender in Windows 7 is a basic anti-spyware program is NOT the full anti-malware solution as the Windows Defender found in W8 and W10. You need a full, real-time anti-malware solution.

So I recommend you download and install Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). It is pretty much the same thing as the new Windows Defender found in W10, but it is for W7. Most importantly, it is a full fledged anti-malware solution that protects your W7 system from viruses, worms, Trojans and other malware, including spyware.

Is "Search & Destroy" still a good AV/Malware program?
I would not recommend it. Years ago it was fine for XP. But its day has long passed. For W7, I recommend the above mentioned MSE. And regardless your primary anti-malware solution of choice, I recommend having a second scanner on hand just for double checking, and I generally recommend Malwarebytes for that - and it seems you already have that.

As for cleaning, if you have CCleaner installed, update and use that. If not, there is nothing wrong with Windows own Disk Cleanup.

Note W7, unless the defaults were changed, will automatically defrag your hard drives once a week, if needed. But if you decide to manually run defrag, before to run CCleaner or Disk Cleanup first. And uninstall any 3rd party applications you installed but don't use first too It is counterproductive to defrag with 1000s of temporary files, or unused programs on the drives.

And remember, SSDs are never defragged. Fortunately, Windows knows the difference and will not defrag SSDs when they are detected. Note in later versions of Windows, the tool is no longer called Disk Defrag but rather Optimize Disk. This is to avoid users getting confused and worried that Windows might try to defrag their SSDs.

Can you recommend any free diagnostic programs that can scan/test the PC to see if it's running close to optimal speed?
Most are gimmicks that try to trick... err... coerce... umm... entice you into paying for something you don't need. I recommend the above actions, then just make sure Windows is fully updated.
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