Keep Your Computer Secure

Dear Computer Lady,

I have been having a few problems with my computer lately, and the guy at Best Buy said that all I need is an internet security suite like Norton or McAfee.

Those programs are kind of expensive, how do I know if they are really worth it?


Dear Anne,

You ask a good question. Since most internet security software packages cost over $100, you really need to weigh your options.

I can tell you that I have never had one of those packages installed on my computer, and I have never been infected by a virus, or hacked into by hackers. I did once get some spyware on my system, but that was while I was testing a free software program for the newsletter. Needless to say, that software program did not make it into this newsletter.

I can also tell you, that it is my experience working on computers, that 90% of the virus infected computers that I have to clean out, were running Norton at the time they got infected. I also occasionally have worked on computers that would not even go on the internet once a security suite was installed.

So, what do I use to protect my computer and not have to deal with intrusive security programs? I use one piece of hardware, one inexpensive program, and several free programs.

First, for security, I use a router. This is a piece of hardware that connects to your cable or DSL modem and then can connect to one or more computers. Most people buy a router so that they can hook more than one computer up to the internet, but the router also acts as a hardware firewall, protecting you from hackers on the internet. If you have a dial-up internet connection, the built in Windows XP firewall will be enough to protect you.

Some of the advantages of using a router as a firewall include:

1. You buy it once and can use it with any computer you own.

2. Your router will work for multiple computers, you don’t have to purchase a software package for each computer.

3. No need to purchase yearly upgrades. It will do its job as long as you use it.

In addition to my router, I use an antivirus program called AVG. I don’t use the internet security package, just the AVG Antivirus which protects me from viruses and spyware. You can get a 30 day trial at: and a 2 year subscription is $51.99

To protect myself from spyware, I use two free programs that are really great. One is “Spybot Search & Destroy” and the other is called “Spyware Blaster”. Both of these programs can be found at

When I clean out a computer that has been infected with viruses and spyware, I always make sure they go home with these programs installed. The computers run better, longer once they are protected by these great programs.


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    • desertsailor
    • April 23, 2010

    Rather than buying a floppy drives and cables, go to an LDS (Mormon)Family History Center. They usually have computers with floppy drives and CD drives so you can transfer files.
    Many of the volunteers at the FHCs are not Mormons, so you don’t have to wonder if you will be asked if you want to know about what Mormons believe, etc. The FHCs have been created to help people with searching their family history regardless of church affiliation.
    Of course, someone may ask you if you want help with doing your family history!
    That’s not a bad hobby.

    • desertsailor
    • April 23, 2010

    Oops, forgot to suggest you go to, click on Family History and Temples, then click on Family History Centers. That will take you to a screen to help you locate the nearest one. They are world-wide.

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