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How to perform computer maintenance

The computer is a device that make part of our daily life, we us it every day for several tasks, work, game, entertainment etc.  More than any other device computer need a good and continues maintenance, to keep it running well and fast, doing all the tasks we need. Actually there are several menaces that can harm our computer. The most of them are coming from the internet, when we connect to the internet we are a target of virus, adware and malwares that can harm our computes, the majority of people that have basic skills in computing thinks that installing an antivirus resole all problems, this is false, even with the best antivirus out there we still in risk.

The proper functioning of any computer depends on the software installed, the memory used and the user itself.
Before talking about the problem of the internet and the virus, we need to know that even without internet we can have problem with our computer. In order to keep your computer healthy and fast you need to do some basics step periodically, if you have programs that you never use uninstall theme.

When you use your computer don´t open a lot of windows, people like let a lot of windows open even they don´t make use of theme, all open windows consume memory so if your computer have a enough memory this can slow down your machine. It is a good practice to defragment your disc to make the file system reorganized for simplifying file access and make it fast when you shut down your computer shut it down with the proper shutdown program and not with unplugging the energy cable, because this can damage your system file and generate a no starting of the system.

Before connecting to the internet it is important to install antivirus to protect your system and your data.
Configure your antivirus to scan your computer periodically; instead you can do it manually on running the antivirus scan. Some sites on the internet are harmful and install a malware script in your computer, it is better to no open this kind of sites (pornographic sites are an example).

Browsers like Google Chrome and Internet Explorer advise you about bad sites.

Internet is not the only place you can get a virus, if you are in a network or you use unknown pen drive or external disk you risk to get your computer infected, so before e connecting any external device to your computer it is recommended to scan it with your antivirus first.

If you are a beginner or do not give winds to your curiosity, don´t try to configure, delete, or change system file (for example register editing) Don´t forget to search for upgrades to keep you system with the last fixes, it is better to set automatic upgrade.

Before Installing any hardware (like camera, mouse or other devices) read the manual and be sure that the device you are installing is compatible with your computer. The use of the computer is personnel; this is why the PC means Personnel computer, so if you let other people use your computer the risk to your computer is damaged is higher.
Periodically it is a good practice to delete temporary and unused files.

If your computer run several services that you never use in the startup, it is better to deactivate those services or programs, this make your computer startup faster. On installing new software read carefully the instruction during the installation, because some software comes with third party plugin like browser toolbars that are checked by default and that will be installed with the software even you will never use them.

It is not recommended to install toolbars in the browser if you do not use theme for any purpose. When you navigate on the web do not install downloaded programs if you done know the publisher.

Following these steps you will keep your computer healthy for a long time without any problem, and if you have trouble with your computer download this tool and let it fix your computer for you automatically.

Protect your computer from viruses

Similar to the way that people catch a virus your computer can also be very vulnerable to viruses. These days there are people out there whose sole intent is to spread them and it is rather easy to get a virus on your computer.  Luckily Microsoft is getting tougher on this junk and I hear rumors that Windows 8 will help protect you much better from this junk getting in as easily.

If you are not sure what a virus is or how to protect yourself please read our article below.

A virus is a malicious piece of code written and designed to enter your PC without your permission and unnoticed. It will then replicate itself and/or possibly cause serious damage to your files and your PC. A virus can come in many forms but they usually come attached to a file, e.g. hidden in Word macros or embedded in executable files or attached to an e-mail, or in the boot sector of a disk.

Once the infected file or disk is introduced to your system, the virus can spread by attaching itself to files on your drives, or by sending infected e-mails to people in your address book. The Internet is a great environment for a virus to spread as downloading and e-mailing and exchanging files and information is common practice. If programmed to do so, the virus will not only spread but also cause damage to your system, such as, but not limited to, deleting files, deleting hard drive boot records resulting in an unbootable system, or erasing CMOS information.

This is a serious threat and should not be taken lightly. Almost every week, a new virus strikes and brings productivity to a grinding halt. The consequences are serious. For a home user, it often results in lost data and a lot of mad friends who received the virus from you. For businesses, a virus can bring down the entire network, often resulting in hours and days without e-mail or online access, corrupted or lost data, productivity loss, etc. Viruses have caused much damage and cost businesses and government agencies billions of dollars in time and money in an effort to recover from a virus attack. Don’t think that you are immune to a virus. Nobody is.

What can we all do to prevent this from happening?

The solution to the problem is two-fold. To prevent virii from spreading, companies install virus scanner software on their mail servers, and home users install virus scanners on their home PCs. Most virus scanning software can be bought in stores for a price, but why pay if there are free alternatives? See the “Security” category of our download section at downloads/security.html for links to several free antivirus solution. Another alternative is to scan your PC online by visiting Trend Micro’s web site, but this option does not offer permanent resident virus protection.

Of course any virus scanner can only work if you have the latest virus definition files installed. These virus definition files, also called DAT files, are being updated on a weekly or even more frequent basis by the maker of each virus scanner software. But it is up to you to download them regularly and update your PC. Most virus scanners either have a feature that let you schedule automatic downloads of new DAT files so that you don’t have to worry about it, or at least offer an easy press-one-button way of doing so. Remember, if your virus scanner does not have the latest DAT files and doesn’t know about the virus, it can’t catch it.

However, the makers of virus scanners are always a step behind since they can’t update their DAT files until they have seen the virus and know how to deal with it. Therefore there is usually a time gap from several hours to several days between the appearance of the virus in the wild and when the cure in the form of new DAT files is available. Since no virus scanner can protect you in that time period, it is up to you to prevent the virus from getting to you.

You are responsible!

The other part of virus protection is prevention. And no system administrator or virus scanner can do that for you. You are the one and only person responsible for exercising caution to prevent this from happening. Here are the top rules of virus prevention. We suggest you print them out, staple them to your forehead, memorize them – anything it takes:

DON’T OPEN ATTACHMENTS FROM UNKNOWN SOURCES! We can’t emphasize this enough.
If you get an e-mail with an attachment from a person you don’t know – DO NOT OPEN IT – DELETE IT!
If you get an e-mail with an attachment from a person you know but you didn’t ask for it and didn’t expect it – DO NOT OPEN IT – DELETE IT!
If it really was legit, the person will follow up with you or send it again and no harm is done. If it was malicious and you deleted it – you’re safe. Virii can only spread if they are activated. As long as the e-mail is not opened and the attachment is not activated, you’re safe.

Virus programmers disguise their malicious software to make it look harmless. Therefore do not assume that an e-mail that is marked “Happy Mother’s Day” or “Funny Joke” or “Great Opportunity” or “Free ” is safe. You need to keep your guard up. If it does not look familiar, if it sounds suspicious – DO NOT OPEN IT – DELETE IT!

A virus can come from anybody – your coworker, your mom, your best friend, anybody! Therefore do not assume that any e-mail you receive from anybody you know is safe. Virii spread by replicating themselves unbeknownst to a user by sending themselves to e-mail addresses found in the user’s address book. This means that virii are most likely to get into your inbox from somebody you know! If somebody you know sends you an attachment that you didn’t ask for and didn’t expect – DO NOT OPEN IT – DELETE IT!

Do not open any attachment that has the extension .vbs or .shs! Virii don’t have to be files ending in .exe to be executed. VBS means Visual Basic Script is another programming language, one of many, that virii are written in. Virii can actually be hidden in many types of files. Often infected files are disguised to look like a text file or a video clip to trick you into thinking they are safe and opening them. Be suspicious of every single attachment you get. If you’re not sure – DO NOT OPEN IT – DELETE IT!

Please use common sense

It is crucial to be suspicious and exercise caution. The number one rule is: Delete any e-mail with attachments that you cannot say with 110% certainty that they are safe. Nobody is safe from virii, but you can help fighting them by using common sense. Remember, a deleted legit e-mail takes only a few seconds to resend. But an opened malicious e-mail can cause hours of downtime, lost productivity, unrecoverable data, and cost a company tens of thousands of dollars as a result. Be responsible, use common sense, and think before you click. The virus threat is real.

CyberDefender Review

Due to all the complaints we have received and forwarded to Cyberdefender without a response we have decided to recommend everyone try our suggestions above instead.

The article below will stay on the site for reference.

“CyberDefender Early Alert Center analyzes threats and calculates the risk levels of suspicious files and processes that may contain harmful spyware and viruses or may be phishing sites. This expert system tests and ranks threats on a Universal Severity Scale™, and updates the CyberDefender threat database automatically.”

The above sentence was taken directly from the CyberDefender website. I wanted to use this sentence as a guideline for testing and reporting any faults or positives in the Cyberdefender program.

Interface

First I would like to state that it’s nice a company that produces protection software finally figured out it’s easier to browse and figure out a program when you have access to everything on a single layout interface.

The main interface gives easy access to monitor the status of each protection type. From spyware to scam or phishing protection addressing settings and options is fantastically easy.

Each subcategory is easily viewable and accessed.

Performance

The best thing I can document is the ease of use. Not just the overall ease of use, but how many of you have tried to scan your computer with your current protection software while still retaining the use of the pc? “Sluggish at best” comes to mind right?

Out of the box the greatest piece of design built into CyberDefender is the low impact on resources during scanning and active monitoring. I would enjoy meeting their design team just to congratulate them and shake their hands on this fact.

This isn’t your typical protection suite. Even with all proactive monitoring in use (spam, phishing, spyware, and virus) as well as performing a full system virus scan I noted my CPU load was not over 40%. I am noting the hardware configuration of the laptop that was used to test the functionality below.

Item Value

OS Name Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Home Premium

Version 6.0.6000 Build 6000

System Type X86-based PC

Processor Genuine Intel(R) CPU T2400 @ 1.83GHz, 1833 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)

Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = “6.0.6000.16386”

Time Zone Central Standard Time

Total Physical Memory 2,549.82 MB

Available Physical Memory 1.24 GB

Total Virtual Memory 5.17 GB

Available Virtual Memory 3.77 GB

Page File Space 2.78 GB

Protection Available

Just insure you have a complete understanding of the available security and protection I want to list the available features other than virus scanning

  1. Early Spam Protection: The spam protection integrates with your current email client to provide an incoming and outgoing email scanner which provides a more complete security suite.

  2. Early Spy Protection: Active monitoring and protection from spyware and adware software types.

  3. Early Scam: Protects against phishing scams which are used to collect your data.

Additional Security Features

While CyberDefender not only supplies you with virus protection, but as well offers spam, spyware and phishing protection there are a couple of features which I would like to list that you might want to know about.

Early Monitor includes the following features not previously listed.

  1. CyberDefender monitors the Windows update site for patches and updates to the Windows operating system.

  2. It also monitors your firewall status and protection to insure you have the right protection.

  3. Easily access and maintain control of cookies on you systems.

  4. Password protection:CyberDefender shows you the passwords saved by Windows which can be accessed by others. Take control and remove the saved passwords, don’ allow windows to save such information.

Additional Features

Aside from comparing performance, cost and overall effectiveness of CyberDefender against it’s competitors one thing you can note about the software that no other competitor offers is 24/7 PHONE AND EMAIL ANTI-MALWARE SUPPORT.

 Cyberdefender apparently charges several hundred dollars per year for computer support and access to their main program which is supposed to keep your pc running smoothly but we hear very different stories from consumers.

Considering my experience with the CyberDefender software I would have to agree with their statements concerning the performance and effectiveness of the program. I would even go as far as having to state that I would consider CyberDefender to not only be a valuable piece of software, but a required piece of software in the fight against virus, spam, phishing and spyware infections.

Windows xp sp3

Although xp has been proven to be one of the better operating systems written by Microsoft there of course are updates and changes which still need to be addressed.

Some of the changes included in xp sp3 have been implemented in there own individual update packages previously, but are now included in the encompassing sp3 pack. This will provide a one time update solution for those who are like me on many of Microsofts’ patches.. a little weary.

I most curious to test the latest service pack to see how performance compares with Vista sp1; which at least with xpsp2 the xp operating system has proven to out perform Vista.

The service pack has been released on TechNet and made available in an admin pack, but has yet to be released on the Windows Update site.

Of course many of you know my feelings on jumping out there and immediately grabbing the latest updates. This isn’t to say I will not grab it for testing. I’m just always the cautious one when implementing in a production environment. This does include you individual users……at least those who consider their data valuable.

Considering this I have as well fallen into a comfort zone when it comes to the xp operating system and my confidence in it, even still I will muster the strength to be patient.

Of course right now the big buzz is being generated by all the sites guessing when the service pack will be made available to the update service. I will not even venture to even guess. Besides I am more interested in the buzz it will create after the release. Yes that was me chuckling in the background!

Botnets

Spammers and hackers today are very sophisticated when it comes to covering their tracks. Instead of sending spam or using their own computers to attack an orginization or individual they now employee Botnets.

A Botnet is a collection of computers (that have been hacked and taken over) which a remote user can use to execute operations such as spam, DOS attacks and other types of mailicious activities.

To quote another article I recently read: “Joe St. Sauver, manager of security programs at the Internet2 networking consortium and the University of Oregon, said there are 5 million to 5.5 million botnets in active rotation at any time.”

Article: Botnets Running Rampant Neal Weinberg, Network World care of PC World

The best way to help prevent this from occuring for an end user is to keep your operating system up to date; Always have an updated virus software running (with a scheduled scan enabled weekly); Employee a good firewall.

I understand many of the computers that are part of Botnets are generally not an end user machines, but rather machines hosted in a public environment such as libraries, campuses and other public domains. Is there no IT staff available to monitor these networks?

Generally speaking the case is that the IT department is so understaffed, overworked, and under budgeted they simply don’t have the time or the money to implement the proper equipment which can detect and prevent this from occuring. That is if they have an IT department at all.

Look…We all know how to prevent most of this from occuring. I am by no means saying it will ever stop, because anything that can be secured can be hacked (it’s all a matter of time), but lets atleast try to secure our own computers.

If you would like more information on how you can secure your computer please follow this link to a previous article over best security practices I previously wrote. I hope it helps.

Microsoft Security Hole In Windows Vista and XP

Microsoft is currently addressing newly discovered holes in the security of their Vista and xp operating systems. Most importantly a security vulnerability in Windows Vista and XP that could expose a computer to an early-season bite while you are connected to the Internet.

How it works is a hacker can broadcast rogue TCP/IP packets to any range of IP addresses. The rogue packets have the ability to circumvent Windows’ security and hijack a computer turning that computer into part of a Bot net. Bot nets are designed for spamming as well as launching self replicating worms and even worse ICMP attacks which can shut down servers.

Currently there have been no attacks using this vulnerability. Microsoft scrambled to make available a patch to secure this hole and it is currently available using the link below. The patch may already be applied to your system if automatic updates are turned on.