Things you Should Know as an MS Windows User!

So after having heard, seeing, and experiencing numerous Scares while using windows systems in the past, I thought I would share here a list of things anyone who uses Microsoft Windows Should be aware of.

Protect Yourself

  • A website tells you that you have a virus, or spy-ware/malware has been detected.

First don”t panic, second don”t trust the source. Their have been many cases where people have been infected by malware because they clicked on the “FREE VIRUS SCAN NOW” advertisement in their browser from a website claiming that they have malware, It”s a very old trick. I personally was shocked to discover how widespread this practice actually is, but even some very well known sites have been “tricked” into running what they thought were legitimate ads on their websites only to discover they were actively infecting their visitors. Here are a couple of examples of Fake Virus scans:

Fake Vista Scan
Fake xp Scan
  • Make sure you run updated anti-virus on your windows system – I  recommend Avast it”s free and updated quite regularly.
  • Make sure you run updated anti-spyware on your windows system – I highly recommend the free Spybot S&D Make sure run regular scans of your system.
  • If your using firefox there are a few more ways to help you avoid those types of fake scans and javascript/flash based attacks. Two extensions I make sure to install on any firefox installation are Ad Block Plus, and WOT(Web of Trust).
  • Be Smart, think about what the website in front of you asking you to do. Legitimate Visus & Malware scanning sites, generally wont just pop up in your face, and beg to scan your sytem.
  • Stop handing out your email address – You don”t have to give your actual email address to every website that asks, actually there is a free service that helps stop spam in your inbox by giving you a temporary email address that you can use  to register at that one website you just have to check out. Mailinator.com allows you create any email address at random and then check it just by using the email address you created, there is no actual account and no registration required. Be aware though, all email is deleted after a few hours.

Back up and Maintain!

Remember Computers are like car”s you can just Gas & Go, you have to perform regular maintenance.

  • Start a back up schedule – Hardware doesn”t last forever, and losing all those precious photo”s or a huge media collection can really make things difficult for you. The best thing you can do is get some external storage, and start a backup schedule. If you don”t have much to back up you can always get a free Dropbox.com account, and have your important files backed up the web. But in case you need more than 2 gig”s of storage space and don”t want to pay for extra an external drive is really the way to go.  DeltaCopy is a great Open Source program for backing up your file. It offers Incremental backup, Task scheduler, Email notification, &  One-click restore features.
  • Back up those bookmarks onlineXmarks (formerly foxmarks) works with Internet explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Google chrome to keep your bookmarks in sync and backed up across computers and browsers.
  • Find our more about System Restore - Answers.com provides great insight about how to use the windows System Restore feature, using it you can create restore points to set your computer back to should something go wrong.
  • Clean Your registryCcleaner is a great way to make sure your Windows Registry stays clean, as well as helping you clean any temporary files from your system.
  • Defragment your files –  Windows XP comes with a nice interface for Defragmenting your hard drive, however  in vista your left with a command line only option of Defragmenting your hard drives. Luckily there are 3rd party  alternatives to windows built in interface, which works with both XP & Vista, I recommend Defraggler.

Are you tired yet?

So once your tired of maintaining your system on a regular basis all the while having paid to have your computer tell you what to do during your free time, Keep your windows for games, and Use Ubuntu/Linux for everything else!

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