Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Protect your 'puter and your articles

Over the weekend, my husband and I had problems with our dear machines. His laptop went crazy because of a virus infection, and my desktop became the victim of a Trojan invasion. But thanks to free antivirus and antispyware programs, our computers have been saved and are still working. We are still on the lookout for possible infection, so we make sure to back up every important file that we have and take preventive measures to further protect our 'literary machines.'

How can you protect your computer and your precious articles from viruses and malicious software? Here are 3 simple ways:
  1. Always check for system updates - Regularly check if your operating system (Windows, Linux, Mac OS, etc.) has new updates available and make sure to download them promptly. Some of these downloads are meant to protect your system from the latest viruses. Before downloading an update, read carefully what it would do to your computer. Some updates may not be necessary. In my case, I download only those that attempt to correct system errors and shield my PC from possible infection.

  2. Install an antivirus program - Free antivirus and antispyware programs abound on the Internet. I use the Free AVG Home Edition antivirus program (with free updates) from Grisoft. To protect my PC from spyware, I have the Norton Spyware Scan available for free on my Yahoo toolbar. So far, these programs have been doing a great job. The only antivirus software that I have with a purchased license is the McAfee VirusScan, which has been quite busy catching some viruses lately. Before McAfee, my choice of antivirus was PC-cillin which is equally good and reliable (OK, I'm endorsing it because I used to work for its makers).

    You can know more about free antivirus and antispyware programs/shareware over at and CNET's Check out the software ratings and reviews.

    If you don't want to install any program right now, you can try Trend Micro's Housecall instead.

  3. Back up your files - You wouldn't want to lose those precious and well-written articles, would you? :-)

    There are two easy ways to back up your files. One is to save them on a storage device. You can save them on a CD-RW or a USB flash drive. I highly recommend the flash drive since it has more storage capacity (from 32MB to 64GB) and is easier to carry around. If you're still on floppy, I suggest you consider changing your choice of storage device since our dear friend is no more.

    Another way to back up your files is to upload them on the Web. Back in the late '90s, I stored some of my files on Geocities and Yahoo email folders. Now, I save my important files on Gmail (for email interviews/correspondence, PPT files and significant URLs), on Google Docs (for RTF, Word, PDF and Text files), and on Flickr (for image files).

Hope these tips help you in some way. May you always have a virus and spyware free 'puter and files!

Glossary of Virus Terms

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