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Microsoft suggestion to keep your PC Safe


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Microsoft has these suggestions for Protecting your computer from the

various things that could happen to you/it:

Protect your PC


Outfitting a new computer for the Net


Getting started with a new PC


Although those tips are fantastic, there are many things you should

know above and beyond that. Below I have detailed out many tips

that can not only help you clean-up a problem PC but keep it clean,

secure and running at its best.

I know this text can seem intimidating - it is quite long and a lot

to take in for a novice - however I can assure you that one trip

through this list and you will understand your computer and the

options available to you for protecting your data much better -

and that the next time you go through these steps, the time it

takes will be greatly reduced.

Let's take the cleanup of your computer step-by-step.

Yes, it will take up some of your time - but consider what you use

your computer for and how much you would dislike it if all of your

stuff on your computer went away because you did not "feel like"

performing some simple maintenance tasks - think of it like taking

out your garbage, collecting and sorting your postal mail, paying

your bills on time, etc.

I'll mainly work around Windows XP, as that is what the bulk of this

document is about; however, here is some places for you poor souls

still stuck in Windows 98/ME where you can get information on

maintaining your system:

Windows 98 and 'Maintaining Your Computer':


Windows ME Computer Health:


Pay close attention to the sections:

(in order)

- Clean up your hard disk

- Check for errors by running ScanDisk

- Defragment your hard disk

- Roll back the clock with System Restore

Also - now is a good time to point you to one of the easiest ways to find

information on problems you may be having and solutions others have found:

Search using Google!


(How-to: http://www.google.com/intl/en/help/basics.html )

Now, let's go through some maintenance first that should only have to be

done once (mostly):

Tip (1):

Locate all of the software you have installed on your computer.

(the installation media - CDs, downloaded files, etc)

Collect these CDs and files together in a central and safe

place along with their CD keys and such. Make backups of these

installation media sets using your favorite copying method (CD/DVD Burner

and application, Disk copier, etc.) You'll be glad to know that if you

have a CD/DVD burner, you may be able to use a free application to make a

duplicate copy of your CDs. One such application is ISORecorder:

ISORecorder page (with general instructions on use):


More full function applications (free) for CD/DVD burning would be:

CDBurnerXP Pro


DeepBurner Free


ImgBurn (burn ISO images)


Final Burner


Another Option would be to search the web with Pricewatch.com or

Dealsites.net and find deals on Products like Ahead Nero and/or Roxio.

Ahead Nero


Roxio Easy Media Creator


Tip (2):

Empty your Temporary Internet Files and shrink the size it stores to a

size between 128MB and 512MB..

- Open ONE copy of Internet Explorer.

- Select TOOLS -> Internet Options.

- Under the General tab in the "Temporary Internet Files" section, do the


- Click on "Delete Cookies" (click OK)

- Click on "Settings" and change the "Amount of disk space to use:" to

something between 128MB and 512MB. (Betting it is MUCH larger right


- Click OK.

- Click on "Delete Files" and select to "Delete all offline contents"

(the checkbox) and click OK. (If you had a LOT, this could take 2-10

minutes or more.)

- Once it is done, click OK, close Internet Explorer, re-open Internet


Tip (3):

If things are running a bit sluggish and/or you have an older system

(1.5GHz or less and 256MB RAM or less) then you may want to look into

tweaking the performance by turning off some of the 'resource hogging'

Windows XP "prettifications". The fastest method is:

Control Panel --> System --> Advanced tab --> Performance section,

Settings button. Then choose "adjust for best performance" and you

now have a Windows 2000/98 look which turned off most of the annoying

"prettifications" in one swift action. You can play with the last

three checkboxes to get more of an XP look without many of the

other annoyances. You could also grab and install/use one

(or more) of the Microsoft Powertoys - TweakUI in particular:


Another viable (decently inexpensive) option is to increase the amount

of memory (RAM) your computer has. You can get an idea of what you

need by visiting:

Crucial Memory Advisor

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  • 3 years later...
  • 1 year later...

You know, this is inappropriate context to say this in, because everything you said I agree with absolutely 100%  but since learning how to be a tech I haven't gotten a single virus. The really big BIG thing you can do is simply knowing how to use Google, and knowing how to find credible sites and information sources. Only one Antivirus, a good one, and if you manage to get infected I would remove it before scanning. I always run Combo first. I usually don't go snooping around for new freeware programs, but I'm glad I did tonight (for fun on a Saturday night) because I cant wait to try out the Wintoolkit

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Do you really think XP is "safe" ?

The only way to be safe is to use Open source OS and apps, and blocking all majors US sites....then you are - maybe-, a little "safer".

Smartphones are even worse, the perfect spy indeed.

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