Protect your computer

Make an appointment today...and start protecting your computer!   (207) 446-2738 

This page is designed to help you combat the ever present and increasing threat of viruses and spyware on your home computers. Here you'll find links to the products (all free) that I HIGHLY recommend you install on your machine to protect it from the "dark side" of the internet. Obviously you use these at your own risk, but I have found these products to be highly recommended by IT professionals worldwide and use them myself. In fact, I installed them all on my MOM's new laptop (if that isn't a testimonial..then nothing is).


Many of you probably use MS Outlook Express. You may not be aware that over 90% of email viruses designed to attack email address books are written for Outlook and Outlook Express. Using Outlook Express usually makes you part of the problem and often times your computer may be sending rogue emails to your friends and family without you even knowing it! My recommendation? If your ISP (Internet Service Provider) offers a web-based email service...USE IT! Nearly all of the local ISP's offer it. For example...if you use can access your email via the PowerPage or by visiting It's easy to use and a LOT more secure since the email never actually get's loaded on your remains on the server. Check with your ISP to see if webmail is available and start using it TODAY! Make a bookmark in your browser for easy access.

If you regularly use the school email (FirstClass)'re quite safe as that email always stays on the server and has been scanned for viruses prior to delivery. As always...nothing is ever foolproof...when in doubt...don't download attachments.

I recommend using web-based email from your ISP...or use a service such as Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, or GMail (my favorite).  If you need to have an email client...please check out Thunderbird from the same folks who bring you Firefox (the Web browser).

Click here for more info on Thunderbird

Web Browsers

If you are using MS Internet Explorer on a regular basis...STOP! IE is a virus magnet and a major threat to your computer security. This is not just my opinion...the US Dept. of Homeland Security advises against using IE and several major universities have told their users to stop using Internet Explorer (IE). Click here to read the Penn State article I use Firefox almost exclusively on all my Mac, Windows, and Linux PC's. At school we do the same. Firefox is highly recommended and a very useful and versatile browser. While there are other alternative browsers out there that are very good...such as Mozilla and Opera, I am only providing the link for Firefox, because...simply's the best.

Once you download and install Firefox I recommend checking out the menu item "Tools" > "Extensions" to download and install several very useful addons for Firefox...I particularly recommend one called "User Agent" as this allows you to change how the browser identifies itself to some web servers...for example: If you are having trouble with online can tell your browser to identify itself as MS Internet Explorer 6.0 and often that is enough to make it work. You'll find the User Agent Switcher loaded in "Tools" once you've installed it and relaunched Firefox. There are many other cool extensions as well. Also check out "Tools" > "Themes" to change the look and feel of Firefox to some really neat themes!

Click here to download Firefox


Just because your computer came with an anti-virus program doesn't mean you're all set. You need to keep it updated at least once a week...and especially once a new virus makes the news. If your current A/V program has expired (Norton or McAfee are the most popular) you either need to renew it...OR uninstall it and install one of the ones listed below (both free for personal use)  

NOTE:  Many people find that Norton (aka Symantec) and McAfee internet security suites and anti-virus suites really slow down the performance of their computers.  You may find that uninstalling them and installing one of these may increase the performance of your computer.

AVG Antivirus

I use this one personally.  I have found it to be extremely effective and easy to use.  I commonly install this on laptops and workstations and have had great success with it.  My favorite feature is the ability to schedule a daily scan (or not) and the automated update feature.

Click here to download

AVAST! 4 Home

I have recently installed AVAST! on my own laptop to check it out.  I'm impressed!  It is really full featured and easy to use!  I may be a new AVAST! convert soon!

NOTE:  I recently read this review (click here to read) and as a result I'm pretty well convin ced that this is a good solution for most folks.  Both the user and editors reviews on are very positive!

Click here to download


I've used this many times.  I found Anti-Vir to be effective and quite easy to use.

Click here to download


Comodo Free Firewall, Anti-virus, Anti-Malware (spyware), and more!

 If you are really looking to protect your computer....then the Comodo suite of applications is a fantastic way to go!  I highly recommend Comodo BOClean for anti-spyware.  For the at-risk computer or the paranoid (security-conscious)...I recommend Comodo Firewall.

Click here to go to the download page


Many people do not know this, but spyware can be just as destructive as a virus and is much more prevalent. Spyware is often installed on your computer without your knowledge....especially if you've ever done much online shopping or if you've downloaded and installed a gadget on your computer. Sometimes visiting a simple web site is enough to infect your machine with spyware. Spyware is used to track your browsing habits....and it will often hijack your web browser and insert annoying pop-ups and bookmarks. Spyware can also slow your computer to a crawl if left to run wild. Install ALL of the programs below to help fight spyware and rid your computer of these pests. I recommend you install both Adaware and Spybot Search and Destroy for a double layer of protection (one will detect what the other one misses).


Click here to download

Or click here to download

Spybot Search and Destroy

Click here to download

OR Click here to download

AVG Anti-Spyware

Click here to download (find AVG Anti-Spyware)


What are Browser "Hijackers"? Hijackers are a particularly dangerous type of Spyware: They snoop on your browsing activity, invade your privacy, and flood you with those horrible popups.

Some of the symptoms are:

# Changing your "search" page to THEIR "pay-per-click" search page

# Changing your default home page to their company page (most often pornography sites)

# Transmitting all websites you have viewed and your internet history to their company servers

Your PC is probably infected if:

» Your Home-page and/or Favorites have been Hijacked

» You have downloaded free mp3 music online using P2P

» Your computer is running extremely slow

» Your computer is invaded by those horrible popup ads

Trend Micro™ HijackThis™is a free utility that generates an in depth report of registry and file settings from your computer. HijackThis makes no separation between safe and unsafe settings in its scan results giving you the ability to selectively remove items from your machine. In addition to this scan and remove capability HijackThis comes with several tools useful in manually removing malware from a computer.


Click here to download

Personal Firewalls

Having a good virus program is not enough to stop all intruders. Another extremely important line of defense is a firewall. Some might say that you need a hardware firewall (as a function of your router, for instance) to keep intruders away from your system. For most people (me included), a good software firewall offers plenty of protection against attacks and also against software on your hard drive that might be trying to contact "the mothership" without your knowledge.  Here are a couple below.  Windows XP Service Pack 2 (or SP2) also has a built-in firewall that you can use, but it often locks me out from using much of the internet, so I don't use it...these others are often easier to use.

Comodo Internet Security


Online Armor

Ashampoo Firewall FREE

PC Tools Firewall Plus

NetVeda Safety.Net