Good advice here, even though i can't vouch for the accessibility of all of the programs that she mentions. i heard somewhere that she is visually impaired, but, considering that she wrote a book on digital photography, i would suspect that she sees pretty well.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ AND NOW FOR TODAY'S TIP... Setting up your new computer
Q. Since many people will be getting new computers for Christmas, can you tell us how to set them up?
A. That's a great question. This is often an overlooked issue, until we sit down and actually try to use the computer. I want to get this information out now. This way, you can print it out and have it handy in case Santa leaves you or someone you know a new PC.
Setting up your computer actually involves two things: securing it from attacks, and transferring your information from the old computer.
Today, I'm going to address security, since that is the more pressing issue. I'll deal with transferring your data tomorrow.
The Windows systems distributed with new computers this Christmas should include Service Pack 2. So they will be relatively well- protected out of the box.
However, I would assume the worst and attack potential security problems head-on. Here are the steps I would follow:
--Before going online, activate the Windows XP firewall. Click Start>>Control Panel. Double-click Windows Firewall. On the General tab, select On. Click OK. If you get a blue window in Control Panel that says "Pick a Category," click Switch to Classic View on the left side. Follow the above instructions.
With the firewall set up, you'll be protected from any immediate threats. Viruses cannot attack you unless you open spam and let an attacker in. Use your common sense.
--If anti-virus software came with the computer, use it. Most come with a free trial period. Open the program so that it is running in the background. While you will not be able to update it until you sign on to the Internet, it's better than nothing.
--Double-check your file sharing. This can be a weakness. Click Start>>Control Panel. Double-click Network Setup Wizard. If that is not in Control Panel, click Start>>Help and Support. Put "Network Setup Wizard" in the box and press Enter. Click Network Setup Wizard in the left panel.
When the wizard opens, follow its steps. File sharing appears several pages into the wizard. It is normally disabled by default. If it is enabled, disable it.
--Set up your Internet service. Call your Internet service provider for instructions. Have the ISP walk you through any settings.
--Go on the Internet and open Internet Explorer. Click Tools>>Windows Update. Let Microsoft scan your computer. Install High Priority Updates. Follow Microsoft's instructions exactly, including reboots of the computer when necessary.
--Download a new firewall. A firewall should do two things: hide your computer from intruders' probes and keep malicious programs on your computer from contacting the Internet. I do not recommend the Windows XP firewall because it does not do the latter.
There are free firewalls that do both jobs well. I have links to ZoneAlarm and Outpost on my site. I use and recommend ZoneAlarm. You can download either at: http://www.komando.com/bestshareware.asp
Once ZoneAlarm or Outpost is installed and running, disable the Windows XP firewall. Two firewalls can conflict with one another. Click Start>>Control Panel. Double-click Windows Firewall. Select Off>>OK. Ignore any warnings.
--If anti-virus software came with the computer, these are generally pay programs with a 90-day tryout period. If you plan to continue to use this anti-virus program, YOU MUST BUY A SUBSCRIPTION. This is critical. An out-of-date anti-virus program will not protect you. Set up the program for automatic updates.
If you want a free anti-virus program, go to my site and download either AVG or Avast! anti-virus software. You'll find them at: http://www.komando.com/bestshareware.asp
Once downloaded, update the program on the manufacturer's site. Set up the program for automatic updates.
Afterwards, delete the tryout program. Click Start>>Control Panel. Double-click Add or Remove Programs. Find the anti-virus program in the list and click Remove or Change/Remove.
--Download an anti-spyware program. The programs that I recommend-- Spysweeper, Ad-aware and Spybot-Search & Destroy--are available on my site at: http://www.komando.com/bestshareware.asp
The anti-spyware program should be run weekly. Always update it first, including the first time you run it. Like viruses, spyware is an ever- evolving pest. You must keep the anti-spyware program's database updated, so it can find the latest threats.
--Change to the Firefox browser. This is optional. I recommend Firefox because it is more secure than Internet Explorer. If you know how to use Internet Explorer, you'll have no trouble learning Firefox. You can download it at: http://www.mozilla.org/
Remember: Tomorrow, we'll discuss how to move your data to a new computer.
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