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Virus-proof your PC in 20 minutes, for free.

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Paul Boutin has a Good One Over @ Slate in which he has whittled the world of options down to three steps that, on most PCs, can be done in less than 20 minutes.
They're all free, thanks to a mix of promotional offers and hacker idealism. Do all three, and you'll be protected against the most common infections and still be left with time and money for lunch.

1. Set your browser and e-mail security.
2. Get Microsoft's security updates.
3. Check for spyware.

Of course #4 would be buy a Mac or Linux.

Comments

Step one - Buy a Mac!
Step two - If you can't afford a Mac, go straight to Linux!

G4 go straight for 2.5 Ghz G5

Get a mac, and dual boot it with Yellow Dog Linux.

Never done this myself, but I know of people who have. Can you imagine how blazingly fast Linux would run on a G4?

"Of course #4 would be buy a Mac or Linux."

Darn right! Linux is likely cheaper, but get a Mac anyhow. ;)

If you're running Windows, you'd be much safer not running IE or OE at all. Get (the completely free) Firefox and Thunderbird, and you'll be nigh-completely safe while browsing the web and reading email (assuming you don't decide to run untrusted attachments and/or downloads, of course). I push these goodies onto my poor Windows-using friends all the time, and they're much happier afterwards. ;)

Naturally, the Microsoft-owned Slate isn't about to direct you to an alternate product....

(For the record, I'm a Linux user, so none of this affects me on my home computers.)

If memory serves Microsoft bought VirtualPC and was going to drown the product line...although I could be mistaken...

Install a good firewall. If you don't have a hardware firewall, I'd suggest one of these...

For personal use, I recommend Sygate Personal Firewall which, like ZoneAlarm, not only prevents intrusive threats from the outside but also alerts you and requires your intervention if an installed program is trying to send something OUT to the internet (like your e-mail addresses or personal financial data or other less critical stuff). Both are free programs for home use.

Sygate

ZoneAlarm

And of course, I'd recommend a Internet Filter... (smile) filter

You could always install a PC emulation program such as Virtual PC for Macintosh, which will allow you to run Windows on your Mac. That way, on those very very rare occasions that none of the browsers on the Mac won't work, you can use Windows.Just be sure not to use Windows too often, or else you'll have to constantly deal with the viruses, worms, security problems, adware, and other issues that affect Windows users.

The problem is that when one company controls 95% of the desktop market, other software companies find it too expensive to support the alternatives. Hence, very few people can "afford" to switch. I am a big Linux/OS X fan but I do understand the difficulties. The "solution" is to support ILS vendors that are OS independent and uses open standards.

I visited their website. They have a Geek Version you can install yourself -- no manuals, no support. I don't know if I could handle that, but the handholding version costs mucho more.

Tell me, do I really _want_ Linux if I'm happy with OS 10.2 ?