There are many options out there for those of you with empty pockets. There are three essential things to consider for your computer.
a. A firewall.
Hardware firewalls such as those on routers are often the best, but there are other software alternatives out there. Windows XP Service Pack 2 comes with one such firewall, but there are still other options as well for those without XP.
b. Anti-Virus Software.
Some motherboards have anti-viral protections available, but this is mostly for protecting your BIOS. Getting anti-virus software is essential.
c. Spyware and Adware Protection.
This is actually pretty recent in the age of computers compared to everything else. Though a largely known issue now, back in the days of Windows 98 such conventional programs weren't really available. Lucky you.
a. Get yourself a firewall.
Consider yourself very fortunate if you use a router in your home to connect to the internet. Routers most often contain built-in software to manage which ports to allow and the rest are blocked. However, if your computer uses 56k or a direct link to a cable/DSL modem, here are your options, other than sticking with Windows XP's firewall:
Sygate Personal Firewall Standard Edition
I personally reccommend this one as a nifty alternative. I used this one back when I had Windows 2000 Pro.
This is a more popular name, and above is the link to the free edition of their software.
b. Virus protection and prevention.
This is quite obvious. If you don't have Norton nor the money for it, or if you just don't like their style of doing things, you have many free alternatives. While working at PCW Computer, I've noticed a lot of complaints about how slow Norton Internet Security is- This is because it's simply not good software for older computers. The choice is yours, really.
AVG Free Edition
The only example I can think of at the moment, this is what I personally use.
c. Keep the lag away with adware protection.
There are two programs I highly reccommend, and they are also the most popular. They work together like a fantastic duo. And consider the fact that things are usually popular for a good reason. (Except for school fads.)
Ad-Aware SE Personal
Very useful for detection and deleting. Frequently updated and sleek.
As a harmonic companion to Ad-Aware, Spybot offers free prevention as you browse. The program itself has a blacklist that it blocks. It also scans, but Ad-Aware is better for scanning, in my opinion.
Remember to be smart as you browse. Be smart in what you do and where you go. Sure, there are many programs to assist you with your problems, but the best way to prevent any problem is to avoid it in the first place. Here are a few basic guidelines:
a. Stay away from pr0n sites, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
b. Have a keen eye for things that don't look quite right.
c. If something looks too good to be true, it probably IS.
d. When it comes to ANY game, most hack sites are riddled with pitfalls.
e. Scan ALL executables that you recieve from peers. Be cautious.
f. When in ANY public chatroom, think twice before clicking a link.
g. Most important: Use common sense.
3. PC Health
This last section will go over a few tips to keep your PC running fast.
a. Limit programs that start at boot.
Keep it in good habit to limit the amount of programs running in your system tray at once. Remember that every program takes its share out of your system resources. To see what you have starting at boot, click start and select run. Type "regedit" and hit enter. Now go into HKEY_CURRENT_USER>Software>Microsoft>Windows>Current Version>Run. Do the same for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. If you see a BUNCH of programs starting up, it would be a great idea to clean up.
b. Dust the inside of your PC!
Dust bunnies tend to build up inside your case. Take the time once in a while to crack it open and clean it up. Any form of air blaster will do the trick, like a Can O' Air. If you don't have these things, a rag will also do the trick. You see, dust will cause heat to build, which will in turn cause your CPU to work harder, thus your computer runs that much more slowly. But please, remember to unplug your power supply first...
c. Clean up your Temp.
To save on disk space, and to spare your computer from indexing your temporary files, clear out your temp folder once in a while. To find it, simply perform a search for the folder "Temp." Usually, it is in your WINDOWS folder.
Once again, this is only a rough draft. If you have any corrections, suggestions, or additions, please PM me. ^.^
Edited by Issac, 16 September 2005 - 01:13 AM.