You've made a big investment buying your computer.

Just like a car, your computer will last longer with preventive maintenance.

This guide was written with owners of computers running the Windows 7 operating system in mind. The premise for those using other versions of Windows is the same though you may find the step-by-step directions and product versions differ for your application.

You're smart enough to know that few things in life are really FREE. Use common sense when installing "free" software downloaded from the Internet.

Take your time and read the install prompts. Uncheck additional programs, toolbars, games, etc. included in the package that you don't specifically want installed.

Charging other companies to Include those "extras" with their product is how developers of good tools make money to feed their families so they can give away the good stuff.

Glossary of Terms

Windows: The proprietary personal computing operating systems developed by Microsoft. Mac is the proprietary OS developed by Apple. Android, funded by Google, uses the Linux programming language and was developed primarily for smartphones and tablets.

Firewall: Software that checks information coming from the Internet or a network, and then either blocks it or allows it to pass.

Nasties: My code name describing all unwanted computer invaders that slow down performance, generate pop-up ads, and potentially much worse. Read more in the wikipedia.

Malware: malicious software, is software used or programmed by attackers to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems.

Spyware: mostly used for the purposes such as; tracking and storing internet users' movements on the web and serving up pop-up ads to internet users. Its presence is typically hidden from the user and can be difficult to detect.

Trojan (horse): is a program that appears harmless but hides malicious functions.

Virus: is a computer program that can replicate itself and spread from one computer to another.

Limited User Account: Generally cannot install software or hardware, but can access programs that have already been installed on the computer. Recommended setting for profile used to access Internet and email to prevent accidental installation of viruses, trojans, spyware and malware. Note: to download and install the virus, spyware, and malware protection programs recommended you will have to use or be able to sign-in to an Administrator Account.

Computer Administrator Account: Intended for someone who can make systemwide changes to the computer, install software, and access all non-private files on the computer.