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Protecting Your Computer from Viruses

There are a few ways to protect your computer from a virus and different degrees of protection. First, there is the software method, which consists of three steps: (a) You need to install third-party antivirus software. These programs will scan your incoming and outgoing emails and periodically scan your files for viruses. New viruses are created every day, so make sure you have it check for updates often. Next, (b) turn on Automatic Updating in Vista (covered later in this chapter). This alone will protect you from many of the threats out there. Then, (c) turn on Windows Firewall (also covered later). This will prevent those “mean” people from gaining unauthorized access to your computer and installing a virus without you knowing. The other ways to protect your computer from a virus are not software-related, they’re userrelated—and by user, I mean you. Do not open attachments from email addresses that you don’t know or trust. Don’t download files from websites that you don’t trust or Internet sharing websites, where you might as well make your screen name “I love viruses and please give them to me” if you’re going to use them. They’re packed full of software that will wreak havoc on your computer, which they’re counting on you to download and install.

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