Antivirus Software

Widows 7 doesn't come with anti-virus software but for the first time will help you to get it. When you first install Windows 7 the Action Centre will alert you to download anti-virus software and will take you to a screen where you can choose one to download and install if you do not have one already.

This screen will take you directly to the website for the anti-virus vendor you choose. My two personal recommendations are Microsoft Security Essentials and AVG antivirus, both of which are free although AVG also offer a paid-for security suite that has additional functionality.

The Action Centre will alert you if there are any problems with your anti-virus software, such as it needs updating and hasn't done so automatically.

You should always keep your anti-virus software up to date and running properly as it's the most essential line of defence against attacks from the outside world.

WINDOWS FIREWALL

WINDOWS DEFENDER

Built into Windows 7 is the firewall. This is much improved from previous versions and, if you're careful with your PC security, should be adequate for day to day use.

By default it will be set to provide the protection you need.

The first line of defence in Windows 7 against spyware and Trojans, though not viruses, is Windows Defender. Accessed through the Start Menu, this program will alert you through the Action Centre when it needs updating or when a scan should be run.

THIRD-PARTY FIREWALL

You might additionally want to install a third-party firewall from a vendor such as Check Point or Kaspersky.

This will not affect the Windows Firewall and will run happily along-side it.

You may also wish to buy a full security suite such as AVG Internet Security which will include anti-virus, firewall and anti-spam software among others. These suites are a very good idea.

Windows Defender has a simple interface that allows novice user to quickly a simply update it and search their computers for Spyware.

You can also use third-party spyware removal tools such as Spyware Terminator without affecting the performance of Windows Defender.

Protect your PC from spyware

Windows Defender should not be the only software package on your PC protecting you from Spyware, Trojans and other internet nasties.

In the appendices, you will find my recommendations for the best free and paid-for internet protection software available.

quick tip

Don't switch off UAC!

Many people criticised User Account Control (UAC) when it first appeared in Windows Vista for being, frankly, annoying.

With Windows 7 it's much improved, you should hardly ever see prompts.

You should make sure though that you never switch it off. It performs an extremely important role on your PC, protecting you and your system from all types of attack.

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