Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Top 10 things you should do to your computer–updated

Today is “one of those days” and I simply have too much happening this morning to write an fresh article. So today I am reposting an article which aggregates the most important computer security steps into a single checklist…a “Top 10” list. Click on the blue links to get more instructions on the topic.

There are several things a PC owner should do to have a healthy computer and be safe(r) from online cyber criminals when they browse the Internet. Not surprisingly, I have covered these topics/items over the course of writing this six-days-a-week series of articles.
I have noticed (from my stats) that not too many folks are looking through past (archived) articles, nor are they using the Search tool to find this previously posted advice and help. So I thought I would put the more important ones into a single list — a “Top 10 List” — and provide direct links (blue text) to the articles which cover the How To steps of making these things happen… and provide you with a simple way to find out what you need to do, compared to what you’ve done already. In case you missed one, or two.

Tip of the day: Run down this list, and ask yourself, “have I done that?” to each one.

1) Install an antivirus, and keep it up-to-date (with the latest “definitions”).
To read my articles on malware, click here. To see a list of links to free antivirus programs, click here. To read my article on how to configure your antivirus for maximum protection, click here.

2) Install two anti-spyware apps, with one having “active” shielding.
To read all my articles which discuss spyware, click here. To see a list of links to free anti-spyware programs, click here.

3) Install a 3rd Party firewall OR turn on the Widows Firewall.
* If you have a home router or Wireless AP, make sure its firewall is enabled (NAT).

4) Enable Automatic Updates from Microsoft (and either set it to automatically install [for the non-geeky] or to prompt for install [for the hands-on type]) and set your programs to “automatically check for updates”.
And then actually click on the “Install” button when told there are updates available.. and please not tell them to “go away, you’re busy.”

5) Password protect your User Accounts.

6) Make a (monthly) system backup.. or at least a “files and settings” backup.. and store a copy — on two different types of media — someplace other than your hard drive.
To read all my articles on backups, click here.

7) Upgrade to IE 7 and/or an “alternative” Web browser (like Firefox, Opera, or Avant). Click here to read my articles on browsers and browsing.

8: Use strong (and complex) passwords. Everywhere. And change them every so often.

9) Rename the Administrator account.

10) Tell Windows to show file extensions.

* (Windows XP/older) Use the NTFS file system, and disable Simple File Sharing.

* (Laptops) Encrypt your hard drive.

There is more you can do to optimize your PC (of course) and the odds are good that I have told you the steps in a prior article, as I’ve written well over a 250 of them– so far, and I invite you type the word “optimize” into my Search box and see what comes up. Also, my Tag Cloud can help you find topics that can help– click on a word in the “cloud” and see the articles I have “tagged” as being relevant.
I hope this find-it-in-one-spot review has been helpful to you.

Today’s free link: By clicking the links above, you will see all the previously posted downloads, of which there are many. And also, there are links to more free links in no’s 1 and 2 above.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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April 5, 2008 - Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, Backups, computers, converting to NTFS, encrypting files, how to, passwords, PC, privacy, security, tech, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , ,


  1. Some of these tips like more then one spyware are really not needed. That does nothing but slow down the computer. Use common sense.


    Comment by Brad | September 14, 2009 | Reply

    • Brad,
      As you blog about tech, you are not an “average computer user”, and there is no doubt in my mind that you have the savvy (you call it “common sense”) to avoid many of the pitfalls that lurk on the Internet. But I assure you that Mr. & Mrs. Average do not have anything even close to approaching savvy; and the longer I do this (and I have been doing this computer thing a long time) the less “common sense” I sometimes think they have.
      The average person has neither the time nor the interest to learn about the workings of their machines. This site is for those rare few interested in learning, not for Über Geeks (but those types are welcome too).

      And I would debate you whether having a second (passive) AS onboard would “slow down” a computer .. except of course while the scan was running.

      I left the link to your site in, as I found it interesting.


      Comment by techpaul | September 14, 2009 | Reply

  2. Brad,

    I found your comment, directed at TechPaul, highly offensive so I checked your Blog and found it curious that you reviewed MS Essentials and stated “(I mean come on it found a password trojan that norton was happy to LEAVE RUNNING on my system for <2 days)". In other words, you are agreeing there is no ONE security application that will detect ALL malware.

    I've been involved in computer security for 20+ years (from your pic, you don't even look 20 years old!), and here's a little "common sense" advice for you. Stick with what you know. You sure as hell don't know anything about computer, or Internet security!

    Any truly experienced geek, or Internet security consultant, will tell you, that 2 anti-malware applications is the MINIMUM number with which to scan for infections.

    In my view, people like you are dangerous to the interests of average computer users. Before you hold yourself out as a geek or a superuser, get some background in the topic – get some experience. Otherwise, your Blog will go the way of most Blogs, and simply disappear.

    Bill Mullins


    Comment by Bill Mullins | September 15, 2009 | Reply

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