Top 10 Tips to protect yourself against computer viruses

Updated on: 2012-03-21 || Source:

When your computer gets infected with a virus it can be a devastating experience and this is exactly why you need to protect your computer from viruses. A virus can consume your precious computer files and even damage your computer hardware. Is this worth ignoring? I don’t think so! Even sites like will tell you the same. Anything you can do whenprotecting your computer from viruses has to be a good thing and is well worth spending your time on. We all know prevention is better than a cure so I am going to share my top 10 tips on how to protect your computer from viruses.

10 tips to protect your computer from viruses

There are many ways to protect your computer from nasty viruses invading. Protecting your computer is an number one concern for every computer user on earth. I do not know anyone that wants to have their computer crash due to a virus invasion. Here are 10 ways to protect your computer and keep your files and data safe.

1. Learn about viruses

The first thing that I recommend is to research and become knowledgeable about viruses. How can you protect your computer from viruses if you don’t even know what they are. Here are some previous tutorials I have written about viruses. See What is a Virus and how do I know if I have one? and What is the difference between a virus, spyware, Malware, and adware? How can you protect your computer from viruses if you don’t know what it is?

2. Arm yourself with the best Anti-virus software to suit your needs.

Not everyone can get away with using free Anti-virus software because it depends what you do on your computer. It depends on factors such as if you download files or not, if you open email attachments, and if you surf suspicious websites. See my reviews for the best Virus Removal Software. Lets face it, if you do not have protection against viruses installed on your computer, you will without a doubt, get a virus within the first hour of surfing the internet. It is that easy. For years I would remove a virus from my dads computer at least once a year, until finally I realized that he needed a paid Anti-virus program. He wasn’t good with computers and if a windows popped up and said he needed to take a scan, he would just do it. He would just presume it was the program I had installed to protect his computer. Now I have Avast on his computer and there has not been one problem since. I bought the Internet security version so it has full protection. It never asks him to do anything and just works in the background.

3. Regular Updates

Having a great Anti-virus program installed on your computer to protect your computer from viruses is great, however if you do not regularly update the virus definitions, then the program is useless. New viruses are produced daily and this is why we constantly have to update the viruses definitions and stay ahead of the bad guys. Avast Internet Security simply updates by itself and just tells me when it is done.

4. Downloading

When surfing the internet avoid websites that contain illegal software downloads, sexual references, free screensavers, cracks or serials, etc. I am sure you get the picture. If you go near these sites you are immediately asking for trouble. Some other websites that you should stay away from include foreign websites where you cannot understand the language on them. This is because you cannot tell what is on the website.

5. Windows Updates

Always update Windows when protecting your computer. These updates contain security updates that will help in your fight against viruses. If you do not perform regular Windows updates you are leaving your computer in a vulnerable state. You can simple check to see if your computer needs updates by going to he start menu and typing in “windows update”. See the screen shot below. You can also view recent Windows update historyso you can be in control of the whole situation.

tips to protect your computer from viruses

6. Opening Emails

Be careful when opening emails. There are obvious emails that you know you shouldn’t open, however what about the ones you get from people you know? What if your friend has a virus and it is spreading itself through emails? An email cannot be important enough to risk getting a virus. Delete the email and send a fresh email to your friend asking them if they actually did send you the email. It is better to be safe than sorry. :(

You can also create a whitelist so only certain emails get through. You will still have to be careful though, as you do not know what security the sender has installed on their computer. It’s like driving on the road, you need to watch how others are driving to stay safe.

7. Change your settings to protect your computer from viruses

If you are really serious about protecting your computer you can change your email settings and receive text emails only. You can also disable the ability to open email attachments. Virus travel in HTML enabled emails and file attachments. They cannot travel in text email messages. I know this sounds very boring, however, I would rather be boring and protect my computer from viruses.

8. Peer to Peer file sharing – ways to protect your computer

Do not use peer to peer (p2p) file sharing programs. These include programs such as Limewire, Bearshare, Gnutella, Morpheus, Torrents, etc. These program let you download files from other computer users connected to their program network. You have no way of knowing what you are actually downloading until it is on your computer. Even if you share files from a cd from a friend, it may have a virus. Protecting your computer from viruses is the most important priority for you and you do not want to risk your computer safety just because you trust your friend.

9. Do not download files from websites

Again, there is no way of knowing what you are downloading. The file can appear to be named like the file you want, however it could be anything. Most of the time, this is how a virus is unleashed, it usually seems like a harmless, familiar object. If you are looking for a driver for a certain brand of computer then make sure you are getting the download from the genuine website. Many websites on the Internet offer free driver downloads, however, many of them contain viruses. Everything is not what it seems, so be very careful.

10. Have Firewall Protection

Make sure you have a firewall enabled on your computer. Windows comes with an inbuilt firewall or you can use a third party firewall program like Zone Alarm. Either way, make sure the firewall is on…To check the Windows Firewall go to the security settings in your control panel.

If you are careful and are serious about learning how to protect your computer from viruses, it is possible to stay safe. My top 10 tips will help you keep your computer running smoothly, and virus free.

Notes on tips to protect your computer from viruses:

  • These 10 ways to protect your computer from viruses are extremely important tips to follow. If you have had a virus in the past you would know how devastating it is when you lose all of your files and your computer crashes.
  • People often try to install more than one anti-virus program to protect their computers from viruses. This is not how to protect your computer from viruses as installing more than one program always causes a problem. You can only install one virus removalprogram at any one time.

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