Viruses for Free!

Some of the worst virus infections I have ever seen I can trace to websites offering stuff for free which you have to pay for everywhere else.

Some examples are sites that offer free clipart, graphics, games and screen savers. They are enticing, but many load adware, spyware or viruses.

The worst offenders in terms, of jobs I’ve worked on, are file sharing sites. Not only do they offer Music and Movies (illegally in most cases) for free, They are a fantastic place to get malware that can cripple your PC.

Many times, parents with children are involved. Some don’t actually understand what the kids are doing with the computer, so they feel they can’t prevent the problem. So they get infected over and over again.  My frustration with this problem is what finally caused me to stop doing home visits for free.   People would quickly become re-infected bucause their behaviors did not change.

Please look at all pop-up adds offerings free stuff as potentialy very dangerous.

Add please do not ever use the following sites or file sharing software:

  • Limewire
  • Bearshare
  • Grockstar
  • Morpheus
  • Kazaa

Finally file-sharing in general with Bit-Torrent is dangerous for the same reasons.   There are so many other sites which you can use find torrents that I could never list them.  Just know how much of a risk you are taking.  

In another post I will tell you about some free software you use if you have viruses, adware, or spyware.

External Drives For Backup

If you want to do backups, you need a place to store your backup copies.  The most common is an external drive that sits outside your computer.  Extermal drives are nice since you and attach them to do a backup and them move them somplace else.  The safest back up is one kept away from the PC.    The safest place is at a different physical location, but I won’t be that pick now.  Any backup is better than none.  Other posts will talk about off-site methods.

New computers come with large hard drives.  In genneral, I don’t think you should start with drives smaller than 500 gigabytes

One of my favorite places to order computer stuff from is Newegg.com.

Here are two examples of good external drive from manufactures I recommed:

Seagate $500 gig drive

$69.99 + Shipping

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148404

Western Digital 500 gig drive

$69.99 + Shipping

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136466

Prices change often so I will try to update current prices from time to time.

Backup, Backup, Backup

One of the first topics I want to address is backup. If you havn’t thought seriously about it, you should. Backup method can range from simple to complex. If you are not backup at all, any kind is better than no kind.

Disk drives fail. You may have been lucky never to experience this, but given enough time chances are good that you will. One data recovery expert I follow points out that as hard drive capacities get larger and larger, the margins for error in construction and technology get smaller and smaller.

Some say “I don’t have anything important on my computer.” Yet, they use it every day. Unless you store all your pictures, music, internet shortcuts, kid’s schoolwork, recipes and documents online someplace on the internet, you need some kind of backup. It need not be complicated or expensive. Everyone should think about what items the find the most meaningful or hard to replace. What stuff do you have that is very inconvenient to recreate? Start with backing up these things.

If you want to start simply, burn important stuff to CD or DVD. Make sure you store these safely. Do not by cheap blank CD or DVDs if you choose this method. I once was involved with a mass scanning project involving thousands of pages of documents stored on CD. The vendor used cheap CD’s. The CDs were unreadable within 3 years.

Today, flash or pocket USB drives can provide enough space to keep backups. This is not the perfect solution. Be careful. Think of these as more temporary storage than for archival storage. If you must use them, store backup copies on them, then put the drives away (keep them somewhere safe at another location).
Putting a backup in a desk under the computer is not the greatest idea. Don’t use flash drives holding backups for other purposes. Just put them away.

Real backup involve software, separate disk drives, and offsite or online storage. In my next posts I’ll talk about each of these separately give you some links you can check out.