One of the things we get asked often is how to prevent infections on Windows machines. Consider this as a basic primer on how to keep your machine just a little bit safer. I'll also type up the advanced version of this where you can effectively virus proof your machine. If you get an infection, the first thing you need to realize is that it's your fault. Sure, you can blame the guy that wrote it, but the truth is you could have avoided it by doing some of the following:
1) Stop using old software!
Windows XP is being called out here. If you're in XP you're just asking for an infection. That version of Windows just doesn't have the strength to protect you from the newer viruses. Truthfully, it never really did. Anti-Virus companies exist today because of the weakness of the 2000/XP architecture, and one other reason we'll cover in the next section. There are pretty much nothing you can do that will make XP safe enough to get a nod from us.
2) Stop using Administrative accounts!
Since Windows 2000 you've had the option to be a lesser user. Almost nobody uses this incredibly effective way of keeping yourself safe from infections. You don’t (or shouldn't) leave the doors unlocked at your house because it’s inconvenient to unlock the doors when you need in. That’s what you’re doing when you use an Admin account on your computer. The one thing that Macs are touted for is have less occurrences of infection, because you’re not allowed to be a root (admin) user. Any time something tries to make changes to the system the user is prompted to put in a password, not just click “Sure, go for it!”. You can make your PC behave in a similar fashion. Create a new Admin user on your system and login as that user. Make sure you set a password on the Admin account. Then make your primary account a limited account, take away any administrative rights from the user you use every day. This way, when you stumble across an infected website (Reference: FBI Virus) you’ll not get the infection. The user you’re logged in as will not have access to execute the infection and take over the computer.
3) More isn't always better!
Having multiple Anti-Virus programs on your computer has the exact opposite effect of what you may think. Let’s, for simplicity, say that Anti-Virus programs are territorial. They don’t like anything being in their home. This includes other Anti-Virus programs. They will actively try to kill one another, and render each other useless. You should have only one.
4) Change your habits!
If you get infections often, it’s likely that you’re going to places that have infections. Stay away from sites that are less than reputable. Stop using P2P (Peer-to-Peer) sharing programs, and uninstall any toolbars or BHO (Browser Helper Objects) from your computer. Also stop using Internet Explorer, and install AdBlock for either Chrome (my personal favorite) or FireFox.
If you follow these steps, your chances of getting a virus are dramatically reduced. And as always, if you need help or would like us to do this stuff for you, you’re always welcome to call, or stop in.
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