Securing a Windows PC

Securing a Windows PC

Did you know that it was possible for a 1.8GHz-class PC to boot into WindowsXP, load the desktop screen…and load…and load…and load…and load till it suddenly ran out of Virtual Memory? Well, I didn’t know either: at least till I took a look at the PC my cousin sent in for me to take a look at. Turns out that his sons installed just about every adware available, probably without knowing what they really were. It didn’t help that the computer was virus ridden (the antivirus software installed hadn’t had its virus definitions updated in over a year) and it hadn’t been fed a single Windows XP update..ever(think of all the unpatched security flaws!). So it was with a “heavy” heart that I recommended a format and clean install of WindowsXP. Thankfully he says all the important data has been saved elsewhere.

To help him avoid having to face these troubles again, these are what I did:

1) installed AVG Antivirus Free Edition (yes, it has a free edition for home users)
2) installed ZoneAlarm firewall software (again, free for personal use)
3) installed Mozilla Firefox along with the Luna Blue theme to make it look exactly like IE in WindowsXP (yes Firefox is free you sense a pattern here? :> )
4) explained to him the evils of adware, the importance of updating his antivirus definitions and doing Windows Update on a regular basis

I know I could have simply recommended him to get himself a cheap Macintosh and be guaranteed about NEVER having these problems again, but this PC is a relatively recent purchase for him (only about a year old) so I doubt he’d want to spend the additional $$$.

In the meantime, here’s hoping that his PC stays problem free..for a while at least…