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Avoiding viruses, staying up to date, and dusting the vents.  Stay safe, and keep your PC in good condition by following these simple steps.

Computer problems? AVOID THEM !! Read This and do these no-cost things NOW ! ................Scrapbookers, Bookmark this page (or print it)  so you can return to it for the next step after you close your browser to install this important, free, computer-saving, protective software I am listing here. 

A. FACT: Most of my site visitors do not know that if their computer is ever turned in for repair, most likely it will be returned to them with a reformatted hard drive and all their saved files will be gone. 


B. Make sure that you are running a current anti-virus program. Right now, Trend Micro PC'cillin seems to be best, next is Norton AntiVirus, everything else is after that....get it at Sam's, Best Buy, CompUSA, or go to their website below and download it and burn it to a disk for safe keeping. Then install it. 
Buy Now
--good prices-- Amazon Softwarescrapbook

C. Even if you don't have viruses, you probably have spyware. A general term for a program that surreptitiously monitors your actions. While they are sometimes sinister, like a remote control program used by a hacker, software companies have been known to use spyware to gather data about customers.  Some spyware hijacks your browser and serves up ads from competitors instead of the page you were requesting. Your computer may be running as many as 200 spyware/adware programs in the background, which slows your computer way down or causes freeze-ups.  I am going to tell you here how to clean it all up and keep it clean.

You may be doing some Windows Updating, so write this number down----Microsoft update support:  1-888-772-4357.  Write down this phone number NOW, if you have computer problems, you can't get back to this page to find it--duh ! (print this page is best)

These are the preferred steps, but probably no harm done if you do them out of order.

Removing Spyware
1. EVERYONE: First  you need to install & run two great free Spyware removal tools--
'SpyBot Search and Destroy' and 'AdAware'.  Spyware is a common cause of problems with Windows update installations. Remove it.

FREE: Go here and download AdAware:
Install it. Run it once a week for the rest of your life. Click check for updates. Then click Scan. After the scan, you have to put check marks by the spyware it finds then click, you can right click on top check box and choose 'check all'  then click "Remove".      

FREE: Go here and download SpyBot:
Install it. Run it once a week for the rest of your life.   Spybot usually auto-updates when you first open it--be online. Click 'Check for Problems' then after it scans, click Remove.

If these programs find spyware and remove it, then restart your computer now.

Try it for FREE: PCWorld Magazine testing has determined that the $20 shareware program Sunbelt Software CounterSpy is hands-down the very best tool for keeping your computer spyware clean. They say, and it makes a lot of sense, that $20 is peanuts compared to what it will cost you to pay someone to 'fix' your screwed-up computer. You can read about & download CounterSpy Here. You can download and try it for free or just go ahead and buy it outright.  scrapbook scrapbooking

Most of you can go on to step 2. now.

Only if you have reoccurring problems, then: CWShredder is a small utility for removing the bad CoolWebSearch (aka CoolWwwSearch, YouFindAll, and a dozen other names). Spybot S&D and Ad-aware tend to forget essential parts of this hijack, so until they update, you can use this to completely remove the hijack. This program is updated to remove the new variants once they come out if you have this spyware on your computer.  Go here and download CWShredder

If this program finds spyware and removes it, then restart your computer now.

If your computer is infected with Total Velocity's TV Media spyware, you need to remove it before you proceeded. If you have this spyware, you will need to go to:   scroll to middle of the page and look for this:

  • Use the Adware T.V. Media Removal Tool (KB 886590)
    Remove all T.V. Media programs. To do this, download the following tool from the Microsoft Download Center:
    Download the Adware T.V. Media Removal Tool (KB 886590) package now.
Back Up
2. Windows XP Users: Now--BACK UP YOUR IMPORTANT FILES NOW--on CD's, an external hard drive from Sam's Club, or to an online back-up service--whatever, cause you are about to get a big Microsoft Windows Service Pack Update if you use XP and don't already have Service Pack 2.
Update Windows
3. Let Microsoft scan your Hard Drive and see what updates you need.  If you are using  any version of Windows, use Internet Explorer (won't work with alternate browsers) and go to:   and let it do it's thing to show you what updates are available and what YOUR computer needs.

Do all the recommendations till you are totally finished.

If you are using Windows XP, as my stats show most of you are, and you don't already have it, Microsoft is going to want to download and install XP Service Pack 2, this is a good thing, it fixes many security risks--say YES. It is a BIG  file and will take a while, so go watch the sunset and have a beer.   Check on it every once in a while, you may have to click stuff like  'I agree' or 'OK'.  It may look like it is sitting still, don't worry--lots of files are being moved, sorted, etc.....

Turn on Important Stuff
4. Now, XP Users, once SP2 is installed:
1. Go to: Start/Control Panel/Security Center and be sure Automatic Updates is turned 'ON'
2. Also in Control Panel/Security Check to see if the Automatic Firewall is turned 'ON'
3. Also in Control Panel/Security Check to see if the Virus Protection is turned 'ON'

If you have questions about update downloads go here:

Switch from using Internet Explorer to using Firefox---
we have done all the above stuff to get to this IMPORTANT part.
5. Now, all Windows users: to keep your computer clean, you must stop using Microsoft Internet Explorer immediately- switch to the better browser FireFox.

“Beware of spyware. If you can, use the Firefox browser.” - USA Today
“Better than Internet Explorer by leaps and bounds.” - FORBES

Almost all malicious spyware/malware is designed to attack only Microsoft products, so you need a good alternate browser.

Download the free FireFox browser replacement for problematic Internet Explorer.

Start Using FireFox Today !   

<- Click this button to Download & Learn About Free FireFox, the download link is green and on upper left side of the screen you will see.

The download install icon will go , by default, to your desktop. Look for it, icon is a little box with a CD, says 'firefox setup'--double click it, it will self-install--use all recommended settings.

When installing, FoxFire will ask:
Do you want to import your Internet Explorer bookmarks (aka favorites)= YES (might take a minute)
Do you want FireFox to be your default browser = YES--FOR SURE


<- Click this button to Download & Learn About Free FireFox

Are you on a network (cable connection,etc) ?   If yes--read this, if not, skip to # 7

On a Network? You may need a good Firewall:

If you are using a network connection like RoadRunner, Cable Connection, MediaCom, ComCast, etc.. or your company network, etc ?....if so, go to  Free ZoneAlarm Firewallscrapbook and download the free-for-personal-use award winning ZoneAlarm. Install it.

The first time you use it, you will be asked by ZA if it is OK to let certain programs access the internet--you are gonna have to say yes several times as FireFox, anti-virus software and maybe your online support service attempt to connect. Check the box to let it remember these "yes" settings.

Later on, if the Zone Alarm pop-up opens and says that something is trying to access the internet, and you don't now what it is.....copy the name of what ever it is, (it will show the name), open a new FireFox browser window,  and do a quick    or    search to see what the program trying  to connect is---if good or bad.
If searching, enter the name of the program attempting to access plus the word 'spyware' and  you will find articles about that program that enlighten you as to whether it is good or bad for your computer. Whatever you do, do not ever let 180Solutions, or 180Search access your connection. And avoid Gator like the plague.

So far everything is free.......consider making a donation on the programmers' websites--there is usually an opportunity to do so thru PayPal, etc.   I suggest $15.00 to the FireFox bunch.

Still have Pop-Up or Slow Computer  Problems?

If you still have pop-ups and computer problems, download and install Pest Patrol--(highly rated).
Removes spyware that leads to identity theft and slow PC performance.
Windows 98/Me/NT/2000/XP Downloadable ($39.95) and Windows
98/Me/NT/2000/XP Physical Shipment ($39.95)

Not free but good.

All other spyware removal programs except those mentioned here and above are POORLY RATED or worse--actually install more spyware.

Important for everyone:


DO NOT click on any pop-up that looks like an official Windows Alert and says " Your Computer may be at Risk from Spyware"--it is a trick and will install spyware. --if you have to close the box to get on with life, click the 'X' in upper right corner. If that doesn't work, or there isn't an 'X', look on lower monitor screen task bar for the window's button and RIGHT click and choose 'close'.

DO NOT install ANY other so called anti-spyware program unless you research it totally--some simply install MORE spyware.
One wicked one called 'My Net Protector' adds 67 files that display ads and alter browser settings. Bad, bad, bad.......

Everyone needs good, current   Anti Virus Software.

Everyone Read This: Now, if you are not running current anti-virus software, YOU MUST.

Usually Norton and PC-cillin rank best.

PC-cillin 2006 (12-months) - Digital - $49.95 - Shopping Cart Link scrapbookingBuy Now

Buy Norton at places like Sam's Club or directly from  Norton AntiVirus Software

Buy Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2005 at places like Sam's Club or PC-cillin 2006 (12-months) - Digital - $49.95 - Shopping Cart Link computerBuy Now

Uninstall any old anti-virus software before you install a new one. Go to Start/control Panel/Add or Remove Programs/find it on the list/click  Remove.

Everyone Read:

10. EVERYONE: ----DO NOT click on any pop-up boxes that look like Windows Alerts that say "YOUR COMPUTER MAY BE AT RISK from Spyware" it is a TRICK to screw up your computer-if you have to close the box to get on with other stuff, click the 'X' in upper right corner. If that doesn't work, or there isn't an 'X', look on lower monitor screen task bar for the window's button and RIGHT click and choose 'close'.
Email Protection from viruses, trojans, worms,etc...Switch to Thunderbird
If you use Outlook or Outlook Express to read your Email:

"Thunderbird downloads hit 1,000,000 in 10 days"...Planet Mozilla, Dec 20, 04
11. If you are reading your Email using Microsoft Outlook Express or Outlook, you need to  use Thunderbird instead   which is new OE and Outlook replacement  from the FireFox folks.
Thunderbird makes emailing safer, faster, and easier than ever before with the industry's best implementations of features such as intelligent spam filters, built-in RSS reader, quick search, and much more. Since it is not a Microsoft product, it is not subject to the constant vunerabilities that OE andOutlook are.

Get Thunderbird! <-Click this Button to Download & Learn About Thunderbird

Download the new Mozilla Thunderbird Outlook/OE replacement. Just follow the directions and let it be your default Email and Usenet program.

Everyone Read:
Everyone, Auto Updates:
12. In all cases with the above recommended software check 'YES' for auto updates, AND be online when you run AdAware and Spybot, etc so they can get the necessary, almost daily, updates.
Do you use Instant Messenger, ICQ, or similar message software?

13. Do you or anyone who uses your computer us Instant Messenger?  Watch Out !!! The very immediate nature and informality of messaging worsens the danger from worms, viruses an other malware. Keep your IM software updated and be very wary of files sent via IM, especially those with a .exe or .scr extension. Never click on an unsolicited link fed via IM, or one in a user's profile or away message. If you have children or inexperienced adults using your computer, invest $20 in Zone Labs "IM Secure".  It encrypts messages and blocks potentially harmful web addresses. Secure your IM client herecomputer
And Finally.....

14. Although spyware and viruses can slow and even stop a computer, it's not always the case. In fact, one of the biggest problems is corrupted programs.

"Corrupted programs and conflicting programs are major reasons for slow downs. Many programs have missing DLL's ( Dynamic Link Library is a library of executable functions or data that is used by a Windows application. It provides the actual functions for a program). Often times users try to abort programs in the middle of loading or installing. This creates a lot of corrupted files scattered throughout the drive, and in time will bring a computer to its knees. Always let the program finish loading and then if you want to get rid of it, simply uninstall it.

Those missing DLL's can certainly play havoc on a machine. Many times  a program that a user thought was closed was still running in the background. Missing DLL's can cause a file or program to be just running around in circles, not knowing how to shut down. The registry can get oversaturated with bits of files left behind from installing and uninstalling programs . You can download and run Registry Repair software for small change.

"Another thing I run into more often than not, is that many computer owners fail to defragment their hard drive. Go to Start/Control Panel (category view)/Performance and Maintenance/Rearrange Intems  on your hard disk to make programs run faster/choose drive "C" and or "D"/ and Defrag.

Make sure your computer stays cool . Don't do anything foolish like blocking off air access to your computer. Make sure there is good circulation all the way around the case. Vacuum lint build-up from all vents. 

I will try to add to this list as things change, as they always do.

And......BACK-UP, back-up, BACK-UP all your important files at least weekly. Places like Sam's Club, Costco have easy to attach and use, big ole external hard drives that come with the auto back-up software for around 100 bucks. Best money you ever spent if you have a computer crash, 'meltdown' or hardware failure. Most of my site visitors do not know that if their computer is ever turned in for repair, most likely it will be returned to them with a reformatted hard drive and all their saved files will be gone.  GONE.  I get emails about this every single week.

It is getting harder and harder to keep a computer virus/worn/trojan/spyware/malware free. It is your job to keep up, know what to do and when to do it. 

Oh, and did I mention back-up ???????????????????
We love you all & only want the best for you,



If you run a work network of computer systems, you will be interested in this:
Mass Deployment of Firefox-----Spreading Firefox
A tool to "mass deploy" Firefox accross a network, something like Microsoft's IEAK (Internet Explorer Administration Kit). Get FFDeploy.
You can download FFDeploy from:

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