Often I get asked advice about computers, although this isn't a comprehensive list by any means, below are the sites you must visit to help keep your computer healthy:
If your computer is currently behaving oddly, do them in order
Avast offer a completely free (for personal use) version of their antivirus, it’s self updating and will protect your computer without making the problem worse like some I won’t mention (sounds like morton panty iris). Click the link to visit their download page, if you are having trouble downloading the software try right clicking on the text that says “If your download doesn’t start automatically click here” and choose Save target as, then when it has finished, click Open. Now it gives you 60 days for free, after that you just need to register, you do not have to pay anything, they just simply want to know if you are still using their product.
This site is owned and run by Microsoft. It installs a program that checks that you are running all the latest fixes and if you don’t have them it will install them for you, for free!
Click on the link and follow the prompts, it won’t work if you are using a pirate copy of windows and yes you do need to install the patches if you don’t the problems you are having are going to get worse. You should visit this site once a month (best time is the second Wednesday of each month as all the security fixes come out that day in Australia).
Avast will protect you from Virus’s and Trojans (viruses that live inside programs), but a lot of programs have strings attached, they seem like free at the time and they do what they said they would (so aren’t a virus), but when you download them you find “free” is because the company gets paid to allow your computer to show adverts all of the time, even when you are not on the web! These programs are called Adware or Spyware, the worst ones will literally take control over your PC and force you to click on endless adverts. Many people have tried to make an all in one program that does everything (virus, Firewall and spyware remover), but I’m afraid the old saying, Jack of all trades, Master of none is very true in this situation. SpyBot search&Destroy is a Free (in the true sense of the word) program that will keep an eye on the stuff your computer is installing and stop nasties (or ‘Malware’) from getting in. If you find it does a good job, you might want to consider sending in a $10 donation or so.
OPTIONAL – to be honest this can cause you more problems than it might be worth, Zonealarm is a software firewall, think of your computer as a house, it has doors and windows and outside is the internet, while you expect most people to come in through the door, some can come in through the window, or down the chimney (not like santa though) all without your knowledge or consent if they start to install nasty programs your antivirus or spyware should stop it, but what if they just want to copy your files, or delete them?! A firewall is device that guards your door, windows and chimneys for things coming in. Zonealarm is a free firewall, it consistently out performs all the other firewall products, even the expensive ones. The downside here is because it literally stops anything coming or going it means your favourite program suddenly stops working. If you are on ADSL or Dial up I would say don’t bother, your modem has a built in firewall (not as good, but mostly good enough) and if you’re on dial up your “house address” changes every time you log on, making it very difficult for nasties to find you. The exception to these is if you are with Optus for your internet, they use a very strange setup which can leave you more venerable the normal. If you are on Optus, you NEED to have a firewall installed.
If you’re new to the internet, or even if you’re not: You’ll find an awful lot of sites these days want to know your email address. I can’t tell you how many address I've lost under a deluge of spam (emails from advertisers) over the years. Mytrashmail is an un-secure email website. Think of a name, any name, lets say sleepingplanet, and you can now send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You don’t have to register on their site, just use the address you made up, then go there, type in the name you used (sleepingplanet) and read your email. Obviously don’t use it for anything you wouldn’t want anyone else to see…
Your Mum – Thu, 2006 – 04 – 20 21:47