On this page will find many tips, tricks, and techniques in regards to internet/computer security. The tips will help you stay secure, and allow your computer to run in great shape. You will find regarding the following:

Tips to Avoid Viruses:

There are thousands upon thousands of viruses that exist today. With a couple easy techniques, you can avoid the majority of all viruses.
- Don't open an email or attachment of an email if you don't know who or what it is. Email is an easy to way to put viruses on your computer and spread them to others.
- Don't download anything if you haven't read any reviews on what you are downloading. If you want to download something, search the internet for reviews about that product, so you know whether the product is reliable or not. Make sure the review site you look at it reliable as well, as forging a website with reviews can be done easily.
- Keep your viruses definitions, spyware definitions, and firewall up to date. Whenever an update is available, be sure to update. Since viruses are constantly being created, it is important to be scanning using the latest available information.

Popup Issues:

If you are getting lots of popups, don't simply get a popup blocker to eliminate them. Instead, take out the source of the popup's themselves. Popups are caused by viruses, and/or spyware, or they are often just a way to advertise. However, if you are getting popups on a regular basis, you are most likely infected with a virus/spyware that is causing them to occur. If you are getting popups regularly, please visit the How To Cleanup page. That page contains information on removing viruses and spyware, and will often clean out 95% of the junk on your computer.

Your Personal Security Online:

The internet is enormous. It is growing at an astonishing rate, and is becoming a big piece of the world's economy. People often buy, sell, pay bills, send information, etc. over the internet. However, there are scammers out there that want to steal your money, identity, etc. It is essential that you avoid the most obvious scenarios.
- Never send personal information over the email. Scammers often create fake emails that look identical to real emails, and will ask you for personal information, such as your credit card, etc. Often in these emails, the scammers will have a button that says "Click to Login" or something to that nature. Once you click the button/link, you are going to a site that is not legit. Once you type in your username/password, or your credit card number, you are basically just sending the information to the scammers. If you want to login to a site such as Paypal, your Bank, eBay, etc. go directly to the site. Open a new window, and in the address bar type in the URL. Never click on links that take you to the site, it is too dangerous.
- Never give out your Social Security Number to anyone. This fits in the same category with your credit card number and login information. - Always know who you are talking to. This goes for instant messaging and email. For example, you may be talking to a friend with the email of "This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.". A scammer could create an email very similar to that email, such as "This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." and email you. The scammer can begin to contact you as if it was the person you really thought it was. They then may ask for personal information. Make sure you are 99% sure who you are talking to before you are too direct with that person.

Slow Computer Problems:

If your computer feels like it is running very slow, or glitchy, there are many possible sources behind this. It may or may not be a virus. Here are tips that will improve the speed/performance of the computer:
- First, scan for viruses/spyware. Visit the How to Cleanup page to remove these problems.
- Perform a memory diagnostic test. You can use the Windows Memory Diagnostic test here. The memory diagnostic will test the Random Access Memory (RAM) on your computer for errors.
- Defragment the computer. You should defragment the computer once every month or two. Defragmentation (or defragging) is a process that reduces the amount of fragmentation in file systems. It does this by physically reorganizing the contents of the disk in order to store the pieces of each file close together and in order (contiguously). It also attempts to create larger regions of free space using compaction to impede the return of fragmentation (See more about defragging here). To defragment yoru computer, go to Start, click on All Programs, go to Accessories, System Tools, and click on Disk Defragmenter. The defragmenter will take sometime (1 hour+) to run, so be patient.
- If when you startup your computer, it takes a long time to load the desktop, you may have too much information starting on your computer. To control what items load on the Startup, so to Start, Run, type in "msconfig", click OK, then click on the Startup Tab (see below):

This image shows the Startup tab, and all the checked items for startup.

You can uncheck any processes that you don't want running on Startup. This method of ending a process for startup is for troubleshooting, and doesn't disable an application. Please read more about "msconfig" at NetSquireel: MSCONFIG.
- If you don't want an application to start, you should deal directly with the application. Most applications will have a setting or option that you can check/uncheck to open on startup. Open the application and look at the settings/options.

Using Safe Mode:

Safe Mode is a diagnostic mode used by certain computer operating systems, including Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X, as well as other complex electronic devices. While an operating system is in safe mode, it will have reduced functionality, but it is easier to isolate problems because many non-core components are disabled. An installation that will only boot into its safe mode typically has a major problem, such as disk corruption or the installation of poorly configured software that prevents the operating system from successfully booting into its normal operating mode.

Though it varies by operating system, typically safe mode loads as few executable modules as possible and usually disables devices, except for the minimum necessary to display information and accept input. To load the computer into safemode, restart the computer and press F8 every second when the computer is restarting. See more information about SafeMode on Safe Mode Wikipedia.

How to Check your Computer Information:

If you are wondering how to find information about your computer such as how much RAM you have, or how much space the hard drive has, you can do it quite easily. Click on the Start Menu, then Right-Click on "My Computer", and click on Properties. In the General tab, under the Computer section, the information for your computer will be listed (see below)

The image above shows an XP operating system view of the information a computer has. The computer section is highlighted in red.
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