Don’t ask the 8 Ball if your PC is safe, use these to simple tips to be sure.
I know what you’re thinking, Hal your the Mac guy! What happened, did you go over to the dark side? Being a Mac guy for about 26 years I have heard it all. And when I’ve heard Mac bashing, I responded in kind with PC bashing until it got ugly. In the words of the great Californian philosopher, Rodney King “can’t we all just get along?” Well there will always be a struggle, between Macs and PCs and Mac user and PC user.
I am a Mac guy, always was and always will be. But, I have a PC now, too! And, no I am not moving to PC! I need it to see what things I do on and for the Internet look like on a PC and a Mac. I could have used some software on my Mac and run Windows on my Mac but I didn’t want to do that. I want my PC to be all PC and more importantly I want my Mac to be all Mac.
Since I am a tech guy and using a PC, and I probably know more about them than some PC users do, I figured I would give you all my Tips to Keep Your PC Safe and Healthy. If you have additional PC tips and tricks add them in the reply space below. But, here is what I do!
So here we go:
1. I am running WindowsXP Professional on a Dell laptop, it is OK. I periodically run Windows Update from the start menu. It works in the Internet Explorer browser. When it runs it goes out to Microsoft’s site and sees if there are updates available. There usually are, these “patches” and “Service Packs” repair vulnerabilities that hackers exploit to hurt PCs and their users. Windows Update, once you are in the browser window has Express and Custom settings. Express is recommended and that is good enough for me, and most everyone! Click on Express and Windows Update will check on whatt is available. It will return with High Priority updates for the Windows OS and Windows applications that you are running. You should update these and you can do it right from within this window. Click Install Updates and they will run, you may need to restart afterwards. Let them run and check for new updates again after these are done, there may be additional updates, which had required the updates you just installed. Today I had 28 Windows and Office updates (17 first time and 11 additional updates the second try) which needed to be downloaded and installed, this can take some time depending upon the speed of your internet connection.
2. If you have a PC you have heard of all the virus threats there are out there, there are tens of thousands of them. You need to protect your PC from them! There are some commercial ones available, Norton Anti-Virus is the most famous software package. I run a free one that is excellent, it is AVG Free Anti-Virus you can download it here (http://free.avg.com/us-en/download) and install it. With all these Anti-Virus softwares, they are only as safe as the current virus definitions. Basically this means like with Windows Update, you want to update to the current level of Anti-Virus protection, so you are protected from the current threats. You can scan your PC with this software and eliminate problems that it finds. There are many settings in the software , I use the default settings, but by keeping the definitions current and running periodic scans my PC has been fine (knock on wood). So be sure to do this, protect your PC from viruses. Either for free or by purchasing commercial software packages. AVG has a professional version available for download and it is priced fairly, but the free one works fine for me! Today, after updating the virus definitions I had 127 cookies/threats to be removed!
3. Spyware? What is that? There are little pieces of software that build up through your browsers that spy on you. Kind of like Santa sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when your awake. Well these little pieces of software get into your PC and send information about you to the writer of the spyware. Like where you surf and shop, what you do on line and so on. There is a software that is free that I use to get rid of spyware it is called Spybot Search and Destroy. Scary name huh! You, like with the other softwares I have mentioned need to download it, install it, and update it to the newest/current version and you run it periodically. It will find these threats and will allow you to remove them with the click of your mouse. Spybot can be downloaded here. (http://www.safer-networking.org/index2.html) Today Spybot found 15 problems which it fixed/deleted. (Spybot was run after Ad-Aware)
4. Adware, what now? What is that? It is like spyware but it deals with sending information to companies that sell things to you, or try to. Blah, Blah Blah! Spybot will address some of these issues but I also downloaded and installed the free version of Ad-Aware, updated it to current versions and ran it. Ad-Aware can be downloaded here. (http://www.lavasoft.com/products/ad_aware_free.php) Ad-Aware found things that Spybot did not and Spybot finds things Ad-Aware doesn’t, so if you want to be safe run both. Today Ad-Aware found 128 problems which it fixed/deleted.
Scanning and updating took hours and found lots of threat issues. Updates to the operating system are expected, today Windows Update installed 28 updates. But, I did just install Microsoft Office and had not run the updater yet.
Yikes! BUT, with the virus, adware, and spyware scans we found a total of 270 threats. Yikes!
If you run a PC you should do this scanning to keep your machine safe. There are a lot of threats out there and there are always new ones being written, added, and coming around.
As for Macs, there are none of these threats, no viruses, no adware, no spyware – good reason to get and use a Mac. Check out Apple’s Macs here. (http://www.apple.com) If you run Windows on your Mac with BootCamp, Parallels, Fusion or any other software that helps you do that, you should be doing these things suggested in steps 1 through 4 above. Do this to protect the Windows PC side/partition of your Mac from these threats.
For details on the differences with Spyware and Adware click here.
So do these things and keep your computer safe!