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Setting Up A New Computer The Safe Way!
 
Using it on the Internet without proper precaution could quickly lead to a bad situation.
 
Along with all the web pages and e-mail out on the Internet are a variety of attacks searching for any computer to victimize, and new computers are often the most vulnerable. Before you connect it to the Internet you should make sure that it is protected by a firewall and patched to the greatest extent possible.
 
The best situation is to have a network with a real firewall. This will ensure that any devices are protected against the vast majority of attacks. If not, you'll need to get a personal firewall for the computer. Windows XP comes with a personal firewall; prior to Windows XP Service Pack 3 it is called the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) and it's not a great firewall, but it's worth having enabled on your computer until such time as you can get a better one.
 
The firewall in Windows XP Service Pack 3 (called the Windows Firewall) is much better than the first one and much less likely to interfere with applications. If the computer does not come with SP3 pre-installed then you should install it pronto. If you have a second, protected computer you can download a complete (316.4 MB) copy of SP3 from this page on Microsoft's web site,

Click Here for the download.
 
burn it to a CD, and have to ready to install on your new computer without having to put that one online. If you have enabled the ICF, you can feel safe enough to go to the Windows Update site and install SP3 on the new computer that way, but it will take a long time.
 
If you are using a version of Windows prior to Windows XP and you don't have a network-based firewall, it is essential that you find some software firewall, such as the Norton Personal Firewall 2005, to install on the computer before you connect it to the Internet. Even if the first thing you do when you go online is to download and install a firewall, it's probably too late. With Windows XP, after you have installed SP3 is a good time to install a 3rd party firewall, Still, the important point is not to expose the computer to the Internet without having an effective firewall running.
 
Once you have a firewall running and you are all patched up from Windows Update, you may still be vulnerable to many attacks, such as those you get from infected e-mails with the latest viruses or by visiting web pages that exploit browser-based vulnerabilities, or even adware you could install unwittingly off the web. This is why you need to complete the security configuration before using the computer for pedestrian purposes.
 
Install an antivirus program and update it before surfing the web casually or setting up e-mail. Set up the antivirus program and Windows to automatically retrieve security updates and to install them.
 
Finally, it's possible, especially with lesser-known system vendors, that a new computer comes with adware on it, so you may even want to install a good anti-spyware product such as Webroot Spy Sweeper and scan the system.
 
More users than you might think start out on the wrong foot with their new computers, stepping right into the world of malware unknowingly when they connect to the Internet. By getting your defenses ready in advance, you can keep your new computer running smoothly from the start.

Let me know if you need anything else.

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