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If you're looking for some computer help, then I highly recommend by starting with my first part in my series:
Computer Advice Part 1 of 9 - Hardware Terms

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

How To NOT Get A Computer Virus

How To Avoid Getting A Computer Virus

Social Websites (Facebook, MySpace, etc.):
  • Avoid unknown apps (applications) and games.
  • Avoid unknown peoples' profiles and links.
Music/Video Websites (Google Video, YouTube, etc.):
  • Avoid downloading free movies, music, or software from peer-to-peer networks (BearShare, LimeWire/FrostWire, torrents, etc.). Only use websites where you must purchase music, such as the iTunes StoreNapster, or Rhapsody.
  • Immediately close (exit or quit) any windows asking you to download and install add-ons, codecs, plug-ins, etc.  If you can't, I have some instructions on how to do so below.
Miscellaneous/Other Tips:
  • Don't just click on anything that pops-up.  Many people get infected because they weren't paying attention.
  • If you are redirected to another website, always check your web browser's address bar (FirefoxInternet ExplorerSafari, etc.) to see if it looks legitimate.  For example, if you are redirected to a webpage asking you to log into your PayPal account, then the address should begin with "http(s)://(something).paypal.com/(whatever/etc)".  If it doesn't, then it's fake!
  • Immediately close (exit or quit) webpages that redirect you to other websites asking to install add-ons or plug-ins (Adobe Flash, Java, etc.).  If you can't, I have some instructions on how to do so below.
  • If it looks suspicious, don't do it.  When in doubt, don't do it. Just simply, don't do it.  Common sense goes a lot further than any protection software you could ever install.
What To Do If You Can't Close (Exit Or Quit) A Suspicious Window:
If a window pops-up asking you to download, install, or run something, DO NOT CLICK ON ANYTHING!!! No matter if you click on “Yes” or “No”, “Ok” or “Cancel”, it will still download, install, and run it anyways! Instead, hold down the “ALT” key and tap the “F4” key, just like when you hold down the “SHIFT” key and tap a letter key for a CAPITALIZED LETTER. This keyboard shortcut tells Microsoft Windows to force-close the currently-open window, even if the window requires you to click on something.
Also, you may use Task Manager to force-close a window or process by pressing ALT + CTRL + DEL keys, or simply by right-clicking on the Task Bar and then left-click on "Task Manager" in the pop-up menu.
Lastly, if all else fails, try restarting Windows by going through the Start Menu in the bottom-left corner of the screen.

Steps To Prevent Your Computer From Getting Infected:
  1. Uninstall ALL/ANY outdated antivirus you may have first!  Antiviruses, even trial versions, don't play well with other antiviruses!  Trial antiviruses will continue to run, even if you didn't pay for it, but they just won't update.  You can only have one antivirus running on your computer, so choose wisely.
  2. Install a GOOD antivirus (and anti-malware) program.  I have some recommendations listed below.
  3. Manually update your protection software at least once a week (just in case).
  4. Manually run a full system scan at least once a week (just in case).
  5. Manually check for Microsoft Windows Updates weekly, usually located in All Programs in your Start Menu.
  6. If you paid for your antivirus, renew it BEFORE the subscription runs out!
What Do I Do If I'm Already Infected?
That depends upon what you are infected with, but if an unknown "antivirus" program says your computer is infected and they need your credit card number to remove the infections, DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR CREDIT CARD NUMBER!!!  This is a computer infection and a credit card scam!
Immediately try these steps:
  1. Look in the bottom-right corner of your screen (wherever your clock is located) to see if your current antivirus's icon is still running.
  2. If so, right-click on your antivirus's icon.  A menu should pop-up, and left-click on "update" if it's on the list.
  3. After your antivirus updates, right-click on your antivirus's icon again, and left-click on "scan" if it's on the list.
  4. After the scan has completed and if your antivirus found and removed the infection, restart your computer and follow all of the above steps once more.
  5. If your antivirus reports that your computer's clean after the second scan, then the infection has been successfully removed.  It didn't find anything with the first scan or it's infected again with the second scan, then your computer will need more intensive work.
Recommended Pay-For AntiViruses:
NOTE: Many subscription (pay-for) antiviruses have better overall detection than those that are free.  Also notice that McAfeeNorton, or Trend Micro are not my list because their detection of other forms of malware (such as adware and spyware) aren't as effective as those listed above!

Recommended Free AntiViruses:
NOTE: AVG is not on my list because its detection isn't as good as the three free antiviruses listed above.  Also, many free antiviruses do not detect other forms of malware (such as adware and spyware) quite as effectively as those you pay for!

Recommended Free Anti-Malware (anti-adware, anti-spyware, etc.):
NOTE: The free versions of both Emsisoft Anti-Malware and Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware do NOT offer real-time protection or updates! You must manually update and scan weekly!
NOTE: Microsoft Windows Defender is ONLY for legal users of Microsoft Windows XP. If you are running a newer version of Windows (such as Vista or Windows 7), then Microsoft Windows Defender is already installed and running on your computer!

Recommended Free Utilities:
For more detailed info, please check out:
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