Great advice from Bill.  I’m surprised he didn’t mention Anti-Virus software.  We use CA’s eTrust here at Microsoft, and there’s a bunch of other good ones out there from McAfee, Symantec, etc...  I just set up my new tablet, and it was rather embarrassing to see how long the list of “critical” updates has become….

Holidays have come and gone and it always brings with it relatives that need help with their computers. I set my brother up with some programs for his troubled machine and it made me think that I would post here all the programs I put on EVERY computer I own. I would love to hear what else people use as well on their machines.

So if I ever do a clean install of Windows. I put on the service packs (not connected to the Internet of course) and once that is all in place, I head directly for:

Windows Update: http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com (Install ALL critical updates)

Then I head out and get a free copy of ZoneAlarm: http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/catalog/products/sku_list_za.jsp?lid=pdb_za1

ZoneAlarm is a free software firewall that shuts off Internet access to everything on your computer as well as shutting your computer off from the outside world accessing your computer and you basically give Internet access permission on a product by product basis. This is a great way of stopping Trojan horses on your machine.

Then, invariably, many computers get spyware and bad programs on them - even without your knowledge. You will find your computer getting slower and Internet bandwidth seems to be sluggish. “Wasn't this faster when I bought it?“ you might be asking yourself. In most cases it was. So how do you clean up that machine? In my mind, no one program does it by itself. Therefore, I use a combination of programs to get the job done - all of them FREE! The first is AdAware:

Lavasoft AdAware: http://download.com.com/3000-2144-10214379.html

With AdAware, be sure to press the link to check for updates before each use. The second is Spybot Search and Destroy:

Spybot Search and Destroy: http://download.com.com/3000-2144-10194058.html

The same here. Check for updates first. The USA mirror seems to be the best way to do this and the not the Europe option. And finally, HijackThis!:

HijackThis!: http://download.com.com/3000-2144-10227352.html

This program shows what is running on your machine. Do not just delete things from the list!!!! You have to know what you are working with here. This is also a great tool to understand what is running, save the result to an event log and send the log to someone who understands what can safely be removed.

I would also like to add for my MP3 downloading friends (cough cough (brother)), STAY AWAY FROM KAZAA! This is the worst program in the world as it puts a load of spyware, bandwidth consuming processes on your machine!! Don't believe me? Install it and then run these spyware finding programs I mention here. It will find them all and remove them (then Kazaa won't run). What are you to do then? My suggestion is to use Shareaza. It is a free file sharing program that contains no spyware (I promise).

Doing everything here, I have kept up computers pretty clean and safe. Hope this information helps others. As I said, let me know what else you might be using on your machines. Take care and happy new year!

 


[Bill Evjen's Blog]