Windows Love and Maintenance
As the resident “IT” guy amongst my family and friends, over the years I have found many tools that will help aide in troubleshooting and maintaining your Microsoft machines. For years I have used paid programs, but the last few years some tools that are now freely available are just as good if not better than paid versions.
Windows machines are everywhere, that is a fact. Which makes them the largest target for scams, viruses, spyware and other trickery. Internet Explorer is installed on every one of these machines, making it wildly used and the most targeted for security exploits. The following tools will help you avoid some of the spyware problems that persists when you play your Facebook games or looking for free movies on the internet.
Use a different browser than Internet Explorer. I recommend Mozilla Firefox and Safari. Google Chrome is another nice browser. All of these browsers offer add ons for security and extreme pop-up blockers, anti-phishing and Do Not Track options. I also recommend that you install more than one of them, just in case a browser stops working for some reason, you have a backup option to get on the internet and figure out your problem.
Antivirus. You have to have an anti-virus program. Whether you use the free Microsoft Security Essentials, or free AVG, make sure you update these often. Just because their are paid anti-virus services, doesnít mean it protects you any better, some of them are even more targeted because most people use either Norton (Symantec) or McAfee.
Use a cleansing program. These program delete and remove all the trash files that are collected from browsing the internet, download cache’s and other items that will sit and just build up on your hard drive. Browsing shady websites will fill up temporary files with spyware and clutter, use these two recommend tools to eliminate them;
- CCleaner (free!) Great program, highly recommend for all users.
Install MalwareBytes. Run MalwareBytes once a month, or the second you think you may have received something fishy from internet browsing or an email. This program will run in Safe Mode, which is great when troubleshooting.
Keep all these programs updated and run them as often as you can, but at least once a month do full scans.
Use of these tools and common sense will prevent you from installing programs that you do not want to have installed tracking your web site visits and bombardment of ads or spyware programs.
VIEW FILE EXTENSIONS AND HIDDEN FILES
(Applies to all editions of Windows 7)
By default, Microsoft protects you from jacking up your system badly by blocking you from seeing file extensions and hidden system files. This is a good thing, but sometimes you need to modify and view this files. Here is how to do it.
Or, for step by step so its easier to follow.
1. Open the Control Panel.
2. Go to Appearance and Personalization.
3. Select Folder Options.
4. Click the View tab.
5. Scroll down a bit and change the Hidden files and folders setting to Show hidden files, folders, and drives. Optionally, you may wish to uncheck the Hide protected operating system files box as well.