Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Free Security Scan

Is your computer as protected as it can be? Do you even know? One of the most important things to do to keep your computer save is to have the latest versions of software on your computer. Specially software that interacts with the web.
There are notices all over the place for "Free" scans of your computer. Beware! Many of these companies show many false positives and make your computer look worse than it is and then ask for money to fix it.
I have found a company that will to an honest scan for Free. Their name is Secunia and the link to their free scan is http://secunia.com/software_inspector/ . When you get there, click the Start Now button.
You will end up with a list of recommendations of software on you system that are vulnerable and instruction on what to do about it. I suggest you run this test every couple months. And it's FREE.
Contact me if you have any questions.

Recovery Disks for your Computer

Ok, you have just unpacked that shiny new computer you bought from the local big box computer store or that online company. You plug it in, turn it on and everything is great. Away you go enjoying your new toy.
Fast forward a couple years and you start having problems. Maybe a virus has slipped through your anti-virus protection or a nasty piece of adware that has taken over your computer and turned into a porn machine or has filled your screen with offers to remove the ads, for a fee.
Sometimes the best solution, at this point, is to just start over. Restore your computer to the state it was when you bought it. This is the job of Restore Disks.
In the past, when you bought a "Brand Name" computer you received a box of backup CDs with copies of all the software that was installed on your computer. Not any more. In the effort to make computers more affordable, companies have been cutting costs and cutting costs and cutting costs. One of the things they have eliminated are Restore CDs. They have put the restore files on a separate partition on your hard drive. The problem with that is, when you finally decide you need to use it it's often too late to run a restore from your hard drive. And in order to do a restore, you have to buy a restore disk from the manufacturer, and hopefully , they still support your system and allow you to buy one.
In most cases you can head off that problem before it occurs. Most companies allow you to make your own restore disk from the files on the restore partition. Look through the programs in your start menu and look for something that talks about making system restore disks. You will need several CDs, maybe 10 or 1 to 3 DVDs to complete the process. Follow their instructions to make you own restore disk set.
The important thing is to do it now while your system is running smoothly. Don't wait until you start to have problems.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Fight Spam - Use a disposable email address

Some web sites collect and then sell email addresses to spammers. Be suspicious of sites offering anything FREE or requiring you to register and supply an email address to gain access. Also be wary of sites offering to send a joke or picture to "10 of your friends". My favorite way around this is to use a "disposable" email address.

Get a free email address from places such as: Hotmail, Yahoo, Netscape or others. Use this address when filling out online forms that request an email address. When that address starts filling up with spam, simply abandon it and create another one to use.

FREE anti-virus software

I have been using and recommending AVG anti-virus software for over 3 years now. I use it on all my personal computer and install it on all computers I build. You can download it for free at: http://free.grisoft.com