Are you getting a new computer for Christmas or for any other reason? Are you giving a new computer as a gift? Either way, start right, with security in mind.
If it’s going to be your own computer, you want to make sure that you don’t get infected with viruses, spyware, malware, worms or other problems in the early minutes and hours of your new computer.
If you’re giving the computer to someone, you probably know more about PC security than they do.
Start by preparing to install the antivirus, antispyware, and firewall programs before ever connecting to the Internet. I use and recommend VIPRE Premium, which is antivirus + antispyware + firewall.
If you’re going to use downloadable programs, download them ahead of time from your old computer or a friend’s computer. Copy them to a CDROM or flash drive.
Next, get ready to update the antivirus and antispyware programs before you connect the computer to the Internet. Whether you’re going to use a boxed product, a pre-installed trial on the computer, or download the program, the following advice on signature files applies.
Antivirus and antispyware programs need signature files. Fortunately, many antivirus/antispyware companies allow you to go to their web site and download the signature file to install later. Download the latest version the day you’re going to set up the new computer — or maybe a day or so ahead of time.
The point is to have a recent signature file to install before you ever connect to the Internet. Then, be sure to install the antivirus program and antispyware program (which may be the same or different programs, your choice) and install the signatures, too.
Install the firewall program.
Now, with these security precautions completed, connect your Ethernet cable to your computer so you can connect to your cable, DSL or other high-speed connection, or use your dialup modem if you’re still using dialup.
Don’t check email. Don’t surf the Web. It’s not time yet, despite what your kids and spouse may say.
At this point, you need to do your Windows Updates and get current on all the high-priority patches for Windows. Not sure how? Start > All Programs > Windows Update.
Once you’ve gotten your security and Windows Updates completed, it’s time to have fun, check the email, surf the web, install other programs, etc.
Enjoy the new computer!