I prepared the following for information at a recent FTM SIG meeting.
I have been requested to post it on dist-gen as many of you might find it
useful to keep your computer in top running order.
If your e-mail reader program messes up the formatting and URL links too
badly send me an e-mail and I would be pleased to send it as an
attachment in MS Word .doc format with hot links.
The programs that are listed in the various URLs below can be download
and can be installed and will run in Windows XP. They may not install or
run in Vista.
Do you need a firewall? YES. You should use both a hardware and a
software firewall. Routers, which connect between your modem and your
computer, contain a hardware firewall. Be sure to configure it and if it
has wireless capabilities, enable the security features (encryption).
Software firewalls, which protect you from unwanted outgoing internet
connections, are compared at this website:
The highest ranking free firewall is now Comodo and can be downloaded from:
One of the most popular free software firewalls is Zone Alarm which can
be downloaded from:
You should also test your firewall security. See these tests:
You should have and use an anti virus program. Do not try to run more than one at a time or
they may have conflicts. Free programs can be obtained from:
You should also periodically run an anti spyware or anti malware program.
A comparison of free programs can be seen at:
Ad-Aware and Spybot are two common programs. Be sure to keep them
If you download any programs to try and then uninstall them, there will
likely be remnants left in the Windows Registry file and it will
eventually need to be tidied up to make Windows load and run as quickly
as when first installed. I have tried various free registry cleanup
programs. Some find very few problems while others will flag hundreds or
even more errors? Most of the free ones or good ones with free trials
will only fix a limited number of problems until you purchase the full
version. I tried about 10 free programs some time age with widely
different reports. So different that I would not let any of them loose on
my Registry. This is a case where you should purchase a good program. NB
Be sure to backup your Registry files before you let any program change
it! Check that it has a restore capability.
A review of many registry repair programs can be found at:
Registry repair programs were discussed at a Computer SIG meeting some
time ago. If I remember correctly, Registry Mechanic was recommended at
that time. It is listed # 5 on the above review.
Registry Mechanic from PCTools $39.99 (free trial of 6 registry sections)
I´m a bit of a cheapskate and purchased Registry Repair Pro from 3B
Software some years ago for $9.99 (Special offer). It´s #11 on the above
rating list, but it works for me.
http://www.3bsoftware.com/ Link from the registry repair review
URL above to get special price
Other Registry review websites rate programs somewhat differently. Look at:
http://registry-repair-comparisons.qarchive.org/ or Google "Registry
Are you getting the download speed that you are paying your ISP for?
Some ISP speed tests that I use are at:
Browsers; why would you change from IE? Several other browsers will load
faster and are more secure the IE. For a comparison of some of these
alternatives to Internet Explorer go to:
Firefox is available from:
You will find Opera at:
A new browser is Google´s Chrome which I have not tried. Each of the
above browsers has an included or companion e-mail program, ie
Karen´s Power Tools, Replicator and other free utility programs:
Another backup and/or data recovery program is available from Acronis. If
you have a Seagate or Maxtor hard drive a free version is available from
And still another good backup program is disk copy 2.
Window´s Secrets newsletter is a good resource for Windows problems and
information.The current issue has an article on the new security threat,
"Click jacking". See:
Magazines and other links:
http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/ Another small browser.
Portable applications for your memory stick:
Happy browsing and safe computing!