Everyone knows that computers have a limited life cycle. However, protecting your machine from viruses and knowing how to remove unnecessary junk files are important steps to extending the life of a personal computer. This month we will address questions on how to keep your Windows computer protected from threats and running smoothly.
Q: Can I keep my computer protected from viruses without spending money on subscriptions to Antivirus programs?
A: Most newly bought Windows computers come pre-loaded with trial versions of antivirus software, such as Norton or McAfee. Unfortunately, these are bulky, paid programs which fail to protect you once your subscription runs out, leaving your computer and your data vulnerable to attack after a short span of time.
Luckily, there are free alternatives to protecting your computer. Microsoft Security Essentials is a free, streamlined, and automatically updated antivirus program which has been highly recommended by the technical community. It can be downloaded and installed by going to windows.microsoft.com/MSE.
The most important fact to know is that it is very bad for your computer to have more than one full antivirus program installed on your machine at a time. Before installing any new antivirus, uninstall your current antivirus.
An excellent second line of defense is called Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, and can be downloaded directly from www.malwarebytes.org. The free version does not protect you constantly in the background like the $24.95 lifetime version, but it is still a valuable scanner to run in case of suspected infection. Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes are safe to have installed and running at the same time.
Most importantly, the best way to avoid viruses is to make sure your antivirus is updated and performing scheduled scans often. Also, remember that more is not better when it comes to antivirus programs!
By Elizabeth Ellsworth, Dr. Networking
“When it comes to saving rainforests, there’s no time for computer meltdowns!”
— Dominick A. DellaSala, Ph.D, President, Chief Scientist, Editor and Primary Author of Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World (www.islandpress.org/dellasala),
Geos Institute, 84 Fourth Street, Ashland, Oregon, 97520.
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