While we understand most people use Microsoft Windows[tm] simply because of their marketing and popularity, we highly recommend and prefer UBOs, of which there are dozens of completely free operating systems which are usually more stable and secure. We will only recommend free software for Windows on this page. If you're using Microsoft Windows, here are a few recommended steps to take immediately upon reading this, if you have not already done so.
- Install a Firewall. This will close all your ports from being accessible from the public internet.
- Install antivirus software.
- Install both anti-spyware as well as a cleaner and run these regularly.
- Install another browser for surfing the internet such as Mozilla Firefox or Opera as Internet Explorer has a long history of security incidents.
This is our technical explanation of how a firewall works.
Comodo Easier to install than ZoneAlarm.
ZoneAlarm Installation is lengthy for the new computer user.
There is also the default Windows firewall. This is only applicable if you aren't using one of the firewalls listed above:
- Click Start and then click Control Panel.
- In the control panel, click Security Center.
- Click Windows Firewall.
- Turn it on if it is off.
If you have the disk space, it won't hurt to have both of these as they may find some that the other won't.
Spyware Blaster freeware (choose manual update not autoupdate for the free version)
You use a cleaner to clean temporary files, caches, unused registry entries, your recycle bin, clipboard etc. This is handy for freeing up wasted hard disk drive (HDD) space. Only one of the following is necessary, your choice. We recommend you run it at a scheduled interval, such as monthly.
CCleaner Free, donate if you like it. You will probably want to uncheck "Add Yahoo! toolbar within IE" during the install options. Other than that, no other configuration necessary, run it.
Zappit Freeware. This has a "Safe mode" (easy), as well as an advanced option to remove any of the defaults or create your own.
CleanCache Free, donate if you like it. This tool requires knowledge of what you want to clean exactly via user input. Also, it does not given an indicator of how much HDD space you have cleaned up unlike the others.
- Patch your computer.
- Run a cleaner
- In Control Panel, go to "Add/Remove New Software" and go through the list, removing any applications that you don't know what they do, or if you haven't used them in the past 3 months.
- Run your anti-spyware software
PowerToys gives you access to system settings that are not exposed in the Windows XP default user interface, including mouse settings, Explorer settings, taskbar settings, and more. If you're not sure which to try, start with TweakUI.