Monday, March 14, 2016


Many of us still want to do some regular computer maintenance, as we were taught to do 15 years ago. As technology advances quickly, we may have missed the point where many of these tasks became obsolete, and even damaging to our computers. 

Installing current updates for your programs will go a lot further in protecting your computer, data and identity than scanning your discs for viruses or defragmenting the drive.

The problems we have with computers these days are far more likely to be the result of clicking on something that installs adware, spyware, worms or Trojans than for viruses to be lurking and multiplying across our networks. Why? Because viruses aren't our problem anymore, when when have a decent, up-to-date antivirus program installed. Antivirus programs take care of themselves, updating, scanning things that come into the computer, and leaving us with a sense of well-being. 

In fact, we never need to run a scan with our antivirus program any more; the program does a full scan on installation, then scans everything that comes in as it happens. If it finds something suspicious attempting to download to your computer, the antivirus program either warns you or just takes care of the problem. So, when your program nags you that your computer hasn't been scanned in a while, it's more to make you feel better when the "All Clear!" message pops up than to do any necessary job. 

Any decent antivirus program will take care of your computer. The for-pay suites don't really do anything more for you - remember when we cleaned all that malware out of your computer and your expensive security suite never made a peep about the infections? Not only do they not protect from all risks - because there's nothing on the planet that protects us from all risks, including the biggest risk, which is ourselves - but they slow down the computer and give us a false sense of security. The big security suites compete with each other for the best ratings, not because they protect your computer better but because they can advertise their great ratings to convince you to buy them. 

There are several good, free antivirus programs around. Consider not renewing your expensive security program when it expires, and replacing it with something free that does the job, without slowing down your computer or sending all your data to the home servers to "check for viruses". 

Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 all come with decent antivirus protection, free. Many retailers include a trial or even coerce you to buy a subscription to Webroot, Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky or TrendMicro security - not because it protects your computer better but because like the old "rustproofing" add-on when you bought a new car, it adds to their profit. 

And when you renew for $50, $60 or $80 every year they get a kick-back. That's one reason it's so difficult to cancel your subscription to these suites, which may automatically renew on your credit card. If you can't find how to cancel your subscription, check your credit card statement for a toll-free number on the charges; you can call that number to cancel. 

Is there anything wrong with subscribing to and using for-pay security suites? Nope, and generally, they're good products. But they'll slow down your computer, send a lot of data back and forth to their servers, and not stop the stuff that really causes us pain these days. 

Here's more on using antivirus programs:

Save yourself some money - use the antivirus and security software you've already paid for with your operating system, and be careful where you click.

Want help? Contact me via text, email, Facebook, Twitter or phone.

Cathy Contant   315-573-4905

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