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How to secure a new PC or Laptop

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Secure a new PC is the first thing that we think about as soon as we get hold of the shiny, untainted PC out of the box. The perfect way to secure a new PC will be to keep it isolated from connecting to internet, install legacy software and not connect any external devices for data transfer. But we are so dependent on internet these days; a computer is just half the device without connecting it to internet. There is no way that anybody can assure you 100% protection from the dangers of internet and malicious softwares. So the key phrase here is to limit the risk.

Secure your computer

This is the most important thing to do if you are planning to have a computer which will go online. Without any security software, your computer is prone to attacks from viruses, malware and hackers who can steal valuable information from your computer. Before installing the security software, you need to understand the type of software. Some security software only provide security against virus (antivirus), some against spyware (antispyware) and so on. Each software is meant for protecting against a specific infection. But there is no assurance that the attack will come from only one type of infection. So you need to have security against all these different type of infections. But the easiest way is to install a internet security suite which provide the combined protection against virus, worms, spyware, malware, trojans, rootkit and also attack from hackers by providing firewall protection. So it is better to install security software which got all features. Do remember, not all security softwares provide the same quality of protection. Most PC’s are bundled with trial versions, so that they can collect renewal fee once the trial period is over. There is no rule that you should only use the software whose trial version is installed. If you are planning to use other software, uninstall the trial versions and then install it.

Remove unnecessary and trial softwares

You need to remove and cleanup system from trialware or shareware. When you buy a new computer, the manufacturer might install some trial versions of software by default. These softwares are from companies with which the manufacturer got tie up with. The idea is to attract customers by allowing customer to play with it using the trial version hoping them to buy it.
These trial softwares clutter the computer. They take hard disk space and also create nuisance such as unwanted pop ups. Some software even might have trap holes inside which can invite infections towards your computer.
Go through the list of all softwares installed in your computer. Remove the ones which you are sure is not needed in your computer.

Keep softwares up to date

Most of the softwares in your computer need an update from time to time. Software needs regular updates to close loopholes in their program an also the one which is discovered and exploited by malware programmers. It’s not only the popular programs, but the operating system also needs update regularly. Then there is security software which needs to be updated regularly for protection against the latest infection.

Create a password protected administrator account

One of the easiest ways to secure your PC is to create an administrator account and standard user account. Use the administrator account in order to do administrative tasks such as install/uninstall, change software settings etc. Then use the standard user account for doing regular job on the computer. This way, even when your computer is infected, there is a chance that only the standard user account is infected and administrator account is safe. Be sure to protect your administrative account using strong passwords.

Set up System Restore

System Restore is a feature in Windows Operating System which allows restoring your computer to a point before when it was working fine without losing any files or folders. By default, the operating system creates restore point automatically whenever you make any major changes in the PC such as install/uninstall softwares, adding or removing hardware or when installing updates. You can also manually create restore points. This feature is a blessing for fixing many issues when the computer worked fine. So create restore points manually once a week or fortnight, so that you can use it to revert back if something goes wrong.

Secure your network

It is very important to secure your network. Most PC users will be running a wireless broadband using the router provided by ISP. They come with different security levels such as WPA, WPA 2 or WEP. These routers usually come with a default password. Make sure your Wi-Fi is secure using WPA 2 and use a strong password.

Physical Security

Computers and laptops are prone to theft and are easy to be stolen. Keep your computer away from windows. Keep it invisible from the street so as to protect from predating eyes. You can also lock it using something like a Kensington Lock.
Another concern is people can physically come and use your computer to steal information. The best thing to do is to create an account which is password protected. Not all concerns are related to stealing information. Sometimes accidental deletion or innocently installing bad softwares can happen from people who use the same computer. In such cases, you can create a separate standard account for them.

Use it wisely

No security is perfect without your sense of vigilance. Cybercriminals always find ways to gain access to your computer. It can be an innocent looking email, attachment, software downloads etc. Avoid emails or WebPages in suspicious websites asking for personal details which can harm you. Also avoid downloading programs from suspicious website. Use your logic and your computer will always be safe.

Your new PC is to be enjoyed and internet is a wealth of useful resources. You should never live in fear, but embrace the points mentioned here. This should help you secure a new PC or laptop.

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About the author: Anup Raman A Tech Enthusiast|Blogger|Tech Trainer with 10+ yrs experience in the field of IT. My expertise are in Operating Systems, mainly Windows and Computer security which comes from my experience, working as Tech Support and Trainer for Microsoft, Symantec and McAfee. Loves blogging about Technical Troubleshooting, discussing latest Gadgets, Games and doing Reviews.

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