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Windows Safe Computing - Top 10

With the increasing incidence of viruses, worms, adware, spyware and trojans, it is important for all of us to make sure that our machines stay safe and free of such problems. I have compiled the following "Top 10" ways in which you can do so. This applies for anyone using a recent version of Windows. Please let me know if you have a question about any of these.

  1. Backup all important files.

  2. Keep Windows updated with automatic updates from Microsoft.

  3. Enable the Windows Firewall that is included with XP (or install some other Firewall if using older versions of Windows).

  4. Treat all attachments, and all links within email with great suspicion. Do not click on them unless 110% sure.

  5. Do not click on web pop-ups. For suspicious pop-ups, use ALT-F4 to close the topmost window.

  6. Don't install free games, music-sharing programs etc.

  7. Get and install the free MS "Windows Defender" program from:

  8. Use any anti-virus program, and keep it updated. (if you are a member of the Dept. of Physiology, see instructions for installing Symantec anti-virus at:

  9. Be aware of what is "normal". Unusual disk or network activity, too many pop-ups, sluggish CPU, may all be signs of a virus or other malware.

  10. Backup all important files (worth saying twice).

It seems like a long list, but once you form a habit it becomes second nature, and you will rarely, if ever, be bothered by viruses or other malware. It is important not to put too much faith in anti-virus and anti-spyware programs, they tend to fail when they are needed the most - with newly released viruses. But if you adhere to the basic rules above, even new viruses will not be able to infect your PC.

If you have any comments or questions please send them by e-mail to
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This page last modified on : Mar. 6, 2006