HOW TO: Protect your computer I thought I'd post this (make it sticky or don't) because this approach has never failed and is still working today. First, I'll just say that using this approach I've never gotten any Adware or Spyware or Viruses. [Meaning that I may have gotten them but they never do any damage because I stop them]. Steps to ensuring you have a safe and bug-free computer: Download an Anti-Virus Software Download a Personal Firewall Download a SpyWare remover Download Google Toolbar Set Internet Security settings on Custom Keep system up-to-date [/list=1] I'll go through each one. :grinthumb 1. Download an Anti-Virus Software First, uninstall any current virus software you're paying for because chances are it's bogging down your system. Next, head on over here to download Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition. This is totally free and provides great coverage (includes Real-Time file monitoring) and Outlook [and Express] support for email monitoring. After installing this, download the update. (Do this by right-clicking the AVG icon in your system tray and clicking "Run AVG Control Center" and clicking the "Update Manager" tab [then click "Update Now!"]). 2. Download a Personal Firewall First, again, uninstall any current firewall your paying for or if you think it doesn't provide adequate protection. Then, head on over here to download Sygate Personal Firewall Free. This is by far the best firewall I've used, thousands better than Zone Alarm but it may be advanced for you if you don't know much about computers. Install this, restart your computer and anytime you use a Internet-connecting program it will ask you to either Allow or Disallow the program (along with having it remember the setting). I have set IE, Outlook, and some other programs to always be allowed. If you have a cable modem, your network card always tries to connect whenever you start Windows, so I set it to always allow. 3. Download a Spyware Remover Hands down, download this, Spybot S&D. Once installed, run it and click the "Online" button on the left side and click "Update". After updating, click "Spybot S&D" and then click "Search for problems." After this is done (depends on CPU speed), click "Immunize". Once it's done checking, it'll tell you if you need to Immunize it. 4. Download Google Toolbar Self-explanatory. This is not only highly useful, but also blocks Popups. Download here. 5. Set Internet Security settings on Custom This applies only to Internet Explorer. Lots of new computers, including the ones at school, have been getting these stupid search toolbars and lots of other pure junk on them. I've never gotten any junk from Internet Explorer. Here's what you do: Right-click Internet Explorer on your desktop (or go into Internet Properties from within IE). Click the "Security" tab, first, reset it to "Default Level" (by clicking it), then up the slider to "High". Next, click "Custom Level" and ONLY change these settings: * Download Signed Active-X Controls: Enabled * File Downloads: Enable * Active Scripting: Enable These are what I have, no stupid "nCase" or "Search Toolbar" junk. 6. Keep system up-to-date This is easy. Just visit Windows Update to download all the latest patches. I'd also advise enabling Automatic Updates. Right-click My Computer, click "Properties", click the "Automatic Updates" tab, then select "Keep my computer up-to-date. [...]" The first option available is fine, "Notify me before yadda yadda yadda." Hope that helps! Happy New Year!