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Advertisnet frequently gets calls regarding proper computer security and maintenance.

We now recommend Mircosoft Security Essentials over AVG, AVIRA, and AVAST. We never did like Norton or Mcaffee, as they require paid for subscriptions, and people have a tendency to let those lapse, and then have a false sense of security. MS Security Essentials will probably make you uninstall all other antivirus and antimalware software prior to install. To obtain MS Security Essentials, go to http://www.microsoft.com and search on 'security essentials', it is currently the number one result of the search. Download and Install it.

Another problem frequently found with dial up users computers is being behind on microsoft updates. This can take quite a while on dial up, and can require doing updates in smaller quantities, in order to be able to complete an update in one dial up session. MS updates should be done over and over till all updates are finished, and there are 0/0/0 (critical/software/hardware). MS updates can launched several ways, generally from Internet Explorer, under the TOOLS or SAFETY tab. With XP, do the CUSTOM updates too. Another thing to consider is that most windows computers are configured to automatically perform SOME windows updates. If your computer is trying to do this while you are trying to use the Internet at the same time, it will slow you down and you might not realize why. For this reason, and because you want ALL the updates, it is good to manually do your updates every week or two.

We also recommend Advanced systemcare FREE from http://www.download.com . This program optimizes your system and will defragment too. You should run this program once or twice a month.

There are also certain Internet practices that you can try to stick to to lower your chance of picking up the bad stuff. One is to avoid RUNNING email attachments, particularly ones which end in EXE, and generally its best to not open attachments that you dont need, or dont know who they come from. These include silly stuff that gets send around by your friends. Pictures (which end in .jpg are generally safe). Programs which ask your permission to run are the ones to worry about, (again, speaking of email attachments here).

Other risky behavior involves letting other people (usually kids) use your computer to go to strange websites. Particularly if you use your computer for business, you may find it worthwhile to pick up a second computer for your kids so that you dont have to worry about them accidentally picking up a virus on your computer. Also, be aware that alot of viruses will try to trick you into installing the virus. Viruses generally need your cooperation to install themselves. Windows will pop up a mesasge asking you if its ok to install a program. Sometimes the virus programs will tell you that you have a virus and you need to click ok to run an anti-virus program, but its a trick to get you to actually install the virus. Once you install your antivirus programs, they do not ask you for permission again. Once you have the antivirus programs that you have chosen to install, dont trust messages from other 'antivirus' programs which pop up out of the blue that you dont recognize.

While Advertisnet cant take responsibility for tech supporting everyones virus issues for $15 per month, we can provide bench work on your computer for a reasonable fee if you get in over your head, or just want us to perform lots of microsoft updates on our high speed connection.