While i go to a lot of trouble to make sure that the programs used and the advice given here is bulletproof, you cannot hold me responsible for any loss damage or corruption caused by following any advice given or installing and running any of the software recommended on this site. However, it is the way i run my PCs (i have 5 or 6 altogether at home) so I'm not suggesting anybody do anything that i wouldn't do.
This time I want to talk about some other things that can go wrong with your computer, i'm talking about threats from the internet, mainly Spyware and Viruses. Why did I put Spyware in front of Viruses i hear you say, aren't Viruses the worse thing that can happen to me? Sadly the answer is no.
Viruses are bad don't get me wrong, you don't want one, but at the end of the day virus scanners have the situation pretty well in hand. If you keep it up to date, scan regularly and have good browsing habits you wont have a problem. Spyware on the other hand is more dangerous because its trying to get lists of passwords from your computer or maybe bank log on details, so you can see the result could be disastrous. You must have, and use, a good spyware scanner, there are some great free ones and the best is Malwarebytes AntiMalware (I know it sounds like its a virus itself but i can assure you its not). An honourable mention goes to the veteran Spybot Search & Destroy
Running Malwarebytes Anti-Malware ('Mbam') is easy too, you must get the latest updates before you run a scan, which it usually offers to get for you so you dont have to do much, then decide which scan you want 'quick' or 'full' and click 'Scan'. A short time later it will present you with a list of nasties it has found and most of the time i simply click 'Delete All' and they are gone and forgotten in a flash.
Thats it, its that easy to keep your system clean and safe, you should run Mbam every week after 'Disk Cleanup' and before you run 'Disk Defragmenter' ( See the 'General Maintenance' page for more details) and you shouldnt have any spyware problems. If all of this does not solve the problem you should consult an IT professional for advice.
Jump across to the 'Recommended Programs' page for a link to Malwarebytes Anti-malware
If you have an older computer or one still running Windows XP you should consider having 'Spybot Search & Destroy' on board as well as Mbam. Spybot is one of the oldest Spyware programs around. It started life very early on when Malicious software was being seen for the first time for what it was, ie not a virus but some new kind of threat.
Head over to the 'Recommended Programs' page for a link to Spybot Search & Destroy