Tuesday, March 11, 2008

OT: Protect your computer with free software

Off topic: Make sure your computer is protected. There are several free programs that will help protect your computer.

If your computer is connected to the internet, you should be running at least these three things:

1. Firewall
To use the old King James phrase, you must needs have a firewall on your computer. ZoneAlarm has worked wonders for me for years. This program is better than the Windows Firewall. It protects both incoming and outgoing traffic. In other words, it protects your computer from the outside world, and it protects your computer from sending information that you don't want it to send. It's freely available at www.zonealarm.com. Click on "Home & Home Office" and then click on "ZoneAlarm" in the left column.

2. Anti-virus software
I use a free program called AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition. It runs in the background and can easily be set up to update itself automatically and scan your computer daily. Available at free.grisoft.com (click "Downloads").

3. Anti-spyware software
I use three programs on my computer. They are all installed and I have shortcuts for each of them on my desktop. I run each of them separately. You only "need" one anti-spyware program, but some anti-spyware programs catch stuff that other programs don't catch. Unlike anti-virus software, you can have multiple anti-spyware programs on your computer. Use at least one of these free programs:

a) I use another free program from AVG called AVG Anti-Spyware Free Edition. This is also available at free.grisoft.com (click "Downloads").

b) The second free anti-spyware program I use is called Ad-Aware 2007. Available at www.lavasoftusa.com

c) The third free anti-spyware program I use is called Spybot Search and Destroy. Available at www.safer-networking.org

All of these programs are excellent programs. With all three anti-spyware programs, make sure you manually update them regularly and manually scan your computer regularly. It's very easy to do. Any questions... feel free to ask me about any of them.


  1. Thank Joel, a lot of useful information.

  2. I forgot to mention in the post that all of these programs are recommended by "the experts." And I don't just mean some anonymous group called "the experts." (LOL). My favorite tech gurus, Kim Komando and the
    WHO Radio Wise Guys, have recommended all of these programs over the years.

  3. Joel,

    Just a thought about the blogger comments option.

    Under Settings->Comments there are four options.

    Who Can Comment?

    Anyone - includes Anonymous Users
    Registered Users - includes OpenID
    Users with Google Accounts
    Only members of this blog

    What if we pick "Registered Users - includes OpenID" option? so that we can eliminate the anonymous comments?

  4. Hi Bino... Yeah that's a good idea and I went ahead and did exactly that during the past week. I didn't really "want" to do that, because I know that there are people who want to have legitimate conversations but don't have Blogger accounts or Open ID accounts, but in the end it's pretty easy to get either type of account so if people really want to comment, they can easily create an account. Thanks for the thought.

  5. Bino, what a good idea. I'm going to do the same thing.

    Joel, you're right. When I found everyone's blogs, I wanted to throw my 2 cents in but I didn't have an account. I didn't particularly want an account but I wanted to comment more than I didn't want an account so I opened one. It's not hard and I'm now glad I did.