Want to know the real way to keep viruses off of your computer? It’s going to require you to educate yourself on proper prevention.
While there is no 100% sure way to keep your computer free of viruses there are several precautionary measures you can take to keep your machine up to date, and less susceptible to infections.
1. Using A Good Browser
Use Chrome or Firefox (available under those links) These browsers are much more secure because they are updated more frequently than Internet Explorer. Furthermore, on older machines, Internet Explorer can only go up to certain versions. For example, if you’re still using Windows Vista, the highest Internet Explorer update you can get is IE 9. Meaning the newer version of Internet Explorer (version 10) is only available for Windows 7 and 8 users. My recommendation? Just don’t use IE. I know it may take a little more time to learn a new browser but you’ll thank me when your computer isn’t swamped by toolbars and viruses.
2. Quality virus protection.
Here’s something that might come as a shock: Norton and McAfee are installed on almost every machine I remove a virus from. Why? Because they aren’t very good at what they do anymore. My recommendation to my customers will always be Avast Anti-virus as long as they keep doing things as well as they’ve done them for the past ten years. While you are highly encouraged to support Avast and use the paid version, the free version works VERY well.
2. Keep your plugins (Like Adobe Flash Player, Reader, and Java) up to date. Always.
There are some trickier viruses out there that masquerade as Adobe and Java updates, but these will ALWAYS POP UP WHEN YOU ARE ALREADY BROWSING.
The legitimate Adobe and Java updates will pop up when your computer boots up.
When you go to the site to update your Adobe Reader, you’ll run into a little conflict we’ll cover under #3. Checkboxes:
3. Be very wary of “free” software because free almost always comes at some unforeseen cost.
This is such a huge topic it’s hard to cover. There are so many things you may want to install on your computer but if you don’t read through the installation procedures you may be installing a bunch of garbage that will only slow your machine down or possibly infect it with some virus or malware. There are lots of little check boxes you need to make sure you read. In some cases you have to check the box, in other cases you have to uncheck them. You won’t know if you don’t read!
Here’s a brief list of programs you don’t want on your computer:
- Most anything that ends with “Toolbar”
If you know these things are on your machine you need to Click the Start button or hit the Windows key on your keyboard and type “Uninstall A Program” and uninstall it.
Note to Windows XP Users: You need to go to Start > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs
4. Avoid PC Optimizing and Registry Editing programs. They are most always junk.
There’s no details here. Just don’t download this garbage and if you see it’s on your computer, uninstall it!
5. Avoid clicking on links you see in your email.
Because people’s emails can be so easily hacked, it’s easy to fall victim to this one. You may get an email from your great Aunt Rose whom you would trust with your own life, so of course her links should be OK to click on. Unless she was hacked, that is. I would say the best way to discern good links from bad ones is to look at the context of the email you were sent. Was it just a link? Does Rose usually open with “Dear John,” and close with “Love Aunt Rose?” Well then it would be easy to see this is probably not from Aunt Rose.
But let’s look at another example from my own inbox:
This came from my fiancée! But I know better than to click on a link that looks like that.
If you look just below “Faith P” you can see how many other people it was sent to:(shemina, jthompson, borrowedabode, weddingsgiveaw. the list goes on) It’s a chain email looking to trick anyone and everyone in her address book. If you notice these things in the email you’ve been sent, and it’s from someone you trust, please let them know they need to change their email password because they have been hacked.
Well there you have it folks! This is what all us computer guys do, and this is why we spend our time fixing your computers and not our own. If you use the tips you’ve read above, you’ll save yourself money, you’ll understand more about protecting your computer and you can pass it on! Best of luck to you and your well protected PC!