Computers can be costly. We store valuable data on them that we would hate to suddenly lose. Slow performance can affect productivity and increase the time it takes to get our work done. If we are honest, we are often neglectful of our belongings and fail to do the little things that can prevent big problems. There are lots of ways to prevent viruses and other malware from messing with our computers that are relatively simple.
Download Free Software with Caution
There is lots of free software available on the internet for all types of needs. Free is not necessarily bad, but you should be cautious about the sites you are downloading from. To be on the safe side, stick to free downloads from reputable sites such as CNet. Avoid downloading free ringtones, smiley icons and toolbars.
Run Anti-Virus Scans Every Day
No anti-virus software is perfect and harmful viruses may slip through. You can head off damage by performing a daily scan of your hard drive.
Stay Away From File Sharing Sites
As the name implies, file sharing sites make it easy to share music, movies and other types of information. But, how they are set up also makes you more vulnerable to hackers looking to install malware on your computer. Programs particularly notorious for problems include Limewire, Ares and Frostwire.
Install Firewall and Anti-Virus Software
Running good firewall and anti-virus software is one of the best ways to protect your computer and surprisingly, one of the things many people fail to do. You do not even have to buy any. There are lots of reputable software programs that you can download for free from equally reputable sites such as CNet. If you have Windows XP or later, your computer comes with free firewall software, you just have to make sure it is on.
Avoid Using Internet Explorer
Internet explorer is particularly prone to viruses from infected web pages and those with malicious intent tend to focus their efforts here more than other browsers. More secure options include Firefox, Chrome or Opera.
If you like using this browser for whatever reason, you can adjust settings to increase your level of protection. Go to Tools-Internet Options-Security-Internet to make adjustments based on your browsing activity.
Open Email Attachments with Caution
Train yourself to more carefully review your incoming emails before automatically opening them. Delete anything that looks suspicious. Outlook is particularly prone to malicious email and you may consider switching to Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail as they automatically check emails for viruses. Word documents are particularly easy to create viruses with; make sure your Microsoft Word macro virus protection is enabled. You can enable this from the Trust Center section of the program. Even when it is installed, it will still notify you of a potential virus so make sure to definitely not open any message that comes with this warning.
Ignore Infection Warnings
Emails or websites may contain messages that your computer is infected and conveniently direct you to free software that will take care of said infection. In reality, downloading this software will infect your computer. If you are concerned your computer is infected, there are plenty of free tools from reputable sites that can check.
Make Sure Windows Updates Automatically
Enabling your computer to install updates automatically as they are released will help keep your computer safe with minimal effort on your part. You can do this by going to Start-All Programs-Windows Update-Change Settings-Install Updates Automatically.
Considerations for CDs and Flash Drives
CD and flash drives can make your computer vulnerable to infection. Only insert CDs and flash drives from trusted information sources.
Not all pop-ups are bad but unless you trust the site, always close out pop-ups instead of opening them.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about a variety of topics. If you are looking for a safe program that will not take up a lot of memory for online entertainment, download media player classic.