How to Setup and Run Windows Defender Offline Version

Windows_Defender_iconMicrosoft has added another weapon to its arsenal in its fight against malware: an offline version of the Windows Defender software. The software, which is in beta at the moment, scans and removes various forms of malware like its desktop counterpart. But the advantage of the Offline version is that it can be run from an external media such as a CD or USB drive, even when the OS is not running. This makes it easier to remove certain rootkits and advanced malware which otherwise is difficult to remove when the OS is running. Like the version found in Windows 8, Windows Defender comes with both anti-spyware as well as anti-virus solutions.

Here’s a step by step guide on how to setup and run Windows Defender Offline beta.

1) First, download the 32-bit or 64-bit installer of Windows Defender from here, depending on the version of Windows you have.

2) Once the download is finished, open the installer. Click Yeson the UAC window if prompted. Next, you will see the window  below  . Click Next.

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3) Now select the media, in which you want to install the tool and click Next.

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I recommend installing on a USB drive because, if you install it on a USB drive, you will be able to update the definitions later. If you use a CD/DVD, it will become obsolete pretty soon when new updates are released.

4) You will have to reformat the USB now. Make sure that you don’t have any important data in it before proceeding.

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5) Finally, the installer will download the necessary files (about 215MB in size) and setup the USB drive. Click Finishonce the setup is complete.

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6) To scan your computer, restart your computer with the USB drive connected. Make sure that USB booting is enabled in your BIOS. Once that is set, you can boot from your USB drive. If you have a dual boot setup, you will have to choose the OS to be scanned. Select the desired Operating System and click OK.

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7) Next, you will be taken to the Windows Defender interface. As you can see from the  screenshot  below , it is pretty similar to the Microsoft Security Essentials UI. You can select to do either a Quick Scan, a Complete Scan or even scan specific areas. Just select the desired option and click Scan now.

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To update Windows Defender Offline Tool,

just click the installer you used earlier and it will automatically download and install all available updates.

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Easily Create a Table of Contents in Word

One of the most frustrating things that I have seen people deal with in Word documents is when they try to work with a Table of Contents. Word has a really nice way to take a document that you have created and automatically generate a Table of Contents. A little planning ahead will make this process a lot simpler. In this tutorial, I will show you how to generate a Table of Contents automatically.

The first thing that you need to know about creating an easy Table of Contents in Word is the use of Style. Word has a Style Gallery on the ribbon where you can apply styles to your text. Take a look at the picture below to see an example of the Style Gallery.

Style Gallery

To make the Table of Contents easy to automate, we need to use Heading styles. You’ll notice in the picture above that I have my chapter Title and I am picking Heading 1 from the Style Gallery. This will guarantee its inclusion in the automatic Table of Contents that I will create later. If I wanted to add a subheading, I would pick Heading 2, instead. Now if you’re following along with this tutorial, you may have noticed that Word 2010 can hide the other heading styles. Here is how you can get them into your Style Gallery. In the bottom right corner of the Styles group on the ribbon, there is a tiny arrow. Click that arrow and you will see the menu pictured below.

Manage Styles

To add the other heading style we need to click the Manage Styles button at the bottom of this menu. You will see the menu pictured below.

Add Headings

Click the heading styles you wish to add. By default they will have “hide until used” selected. To eliminate this, click the “Show” button at the bottom of the window and click OK. You will now have the additional heading options in your Style Gallery. Now you can add the Heading 2 style to your subheadings if you have them.

Once you have all of your headings typed, it is time to insert the Table of Contents. To do this, we have to click the References tab on the ribbon. I recommend making sure that you are in the exact spot where you want this added your document when you start this. Pictured below, you will see that you click the Table of Contents button and then choose from the available Table of Contents options. I chose Automatic Table 2.

Insert Table

You will now see the Table of Contents at the cursor in your document with the fields automatically populated, as pictured below.

Table of ContentsNotice that the words labeled with Heading 1 are aligned left and the Heading 2 words are indented. Word automatically picks up on these headings based on those styles that we picked earlier. One big mistake that I have seen people make when making a Table of Contents is thinking that merely making a word bold will make it show up. This simply isn’t the case. Use the heading styles. It will make life much easier.

There are other ways that you can insert a Table of Contents. One reason you might want to do it differently is if you don’t want the subheadings to show up. This is pretty easy to do. First, let’s remove the Table of Contents. If you click in the table, you will get a little menu at the top of the table. On the left side of the menu, there is a white sheet of paper with an arrow beside it. Click the arrow and then click Remove Table of Contents to remove it. Now, let’s click the Table of Contents button on the ribbon and look way down at the bottom. Pictured below, click the option that says Insert Table of Contents.

Insert Table

You will get the dialog box pictured below.

Options

One thing I would like to point out to you is at the bottom of the dialog box. The “show levels” setting is currently set to 3. If you only want to see the top-level headings in your Table of Contents then set this option to 1. Pictured below, you can see that my table now only shows the Heading 1 text.

TOC

So what if you add more headings later? It is very simple to add those pages to the table. Simply right-click inside the table and choose the “Update Field” option from the menu. A dialog box will ask you whether you want to update the page numbers or the entire table. Choose the option to “Update entire table”, as pictured below.

Update Table

I hope this tutorial will save you some pain down the road. There are other ways to get a Table of Contents into your document, but I have found that this is the simplest way by far. Now you can go write that great novel you’ve been putting off and put your new skills to work. Good luck and thank you for reading Techie Buzz!

The Black Friday Breakdown

I have scoured the web for the last week trying to figure out the best electronic deals for Black Friday. Of course, I can’t do every store in the world, but I will try to focus on a few of the best deals I have found in some of the popular electronics categories. So let’s get started!

Best TV Deal

Sharp – 42″ Class / LCD / 1080p / 60Hz / HDTV from Best Buy

This is a great deal and I am afraid you’re going to have a hard time getting your hands on it because of availability. Hopefully Best Buy will stock a lot of these in their stores because this is a great deal.  What I like about this deal is that it is a large 42 inch screen with a 1080p resolution. Most Black Friday deals are selling 720p resolution. It is also made by Sharp. They are a well established brand. The refresh rate may be a negative to some since it is only 60Hz. Personally I don’t think this is going to be a big deal to the average home TV watcher.

Best TV

Laptops

HP ® 2000-363NR 15.6″ Laptop from Radio Shack

I can hardly believe I am saying this, but Radio Shack has a great deal on a laptop this year. What I like about it is that it is an HP with an i3 processor in it. A lot of the laptop deals out there have been low end “netbook” type processors. It has a built-in webcam, 4GB RAM, and a decent size 320GB hard drive. It also has a DVD burner and SD card slots for your camera cards. For $349 it is a great deal.

Radio Shack

Camera Deals

Nikon L105 Digital Camera

Target has this great zoom camera for $99. This camera has it all. 12 megapixels gives you the ability to take pictures that will print great at big sizes like 8×10. It comes from one the most reputable camera makers in the business, Nikon. A 15x optical zoom which is great. Just be sure you get an SD card for it before you leave because it probably won’t come with one in the box.

TargetBest Blu-Ray Deals

Toshiba Smart Blu-Ray Disc Player from Best Buy

$39 is a ridiculous price for a great Blu-ray disc player. It as Wi-Fi connectivity and will allow you to stream Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, and several others. It will up convert DVDs to 1080p. This is a very nice deal.

Best Buy

Best Game System Deal

Xbox 360 4GB Console with Kinect from Walmart

This was a tough one because there are some really great deals this year. I like this particular deal because it comes with the Kinect package. Your kids are going to love the Kinect which allows them to interact with the games as if they are right there. This is a great price on a great game console bundle.

Walmart

I hope these tips help you out with some of your holiday shopping. I am sure there is plenty more information to come before this week is over so stayed tuned to Techie Buzz for all your Tech info. Most of all be safe and remember that life is short, so make the holidays more about spending time with your loved ones and not so much about spending money on them. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Don’t Let Black Friday Equal a Blue Christmas

Here in America, after we’re all stuffed with turkey and completely worn out from holiday travel, we have this strange ritual we call Black Friday shopping. Retailers love this time of year. They taunt shoppers for weeks with promises of out-of-this-world prices on all of the hot items you could ever want. Then, on the day after Thanksgiving, at the stroke of midnight, the retailers open up their magical realms for countless shoppers to enjoy. It doesn’t take long to feel most of the magic being sucked out of the room when the retailers have only stocked 3 of the items that 1,000 people are looking for. What’s even worse is when you get one of these so-called great deals and it turns out to be a poor quality product.

There is no way that I can educate you on every deal out there in one small article. However, I hope that I can give you a little more insight into some of the things that you’re going to see out there in the open market this weekend. Today, I am dealing with laptops because I am getting a lot of questions about them this year. I am not going to tell you where these deals are because I am not advertising for one store over another. I just want to give you some insight on what to look for in your Black Friday tech.  So let’s get started!

Low End Budget Deals

Let’s start with the low hanging and most enticing fruit. One of the box store giants is offering this incredible deal pictured below.

Compaq AMD C-50

I must agree that this is a fantastic price for a laptop. Let me warn you, however, that there are some down sides to this deal. Highlighted in red, above, you will see that this laptop has an AMD C-50 processor. I don’t want to knock AMD. In fact, I am a fan because they usually perform well at a lower price. The problem that I see here is that a Grandma is going to fight the crowds and get this for her 16 year old grandson. If that boy plays games on his laptop and likes to video chat with his friends, this laptop will fail miserably. The C-50 processor has its limitations. If Grandma is buying this laptop for herself to get on the internet and look at pictures and read the news, then this laptop may be OK. Don’t even think about buying this for an engineering student in college.

Now, from this same store, they are offering a little sweeter deal for about $50 more. This deal is pictured below.

HP e-350

This laptop features the AMD E-350 processor. This is a better deal, for sure. The E-350 will work with HD video and is a step up from the C Series AMD processors. However, if your little Johnny is a big gamer and likes to do a lot of multitasking, then this will still be a bit of a disappointment. The E series processors are energy efficient, but they were designed for the little netbooks. Putting these in a full sized laptop is a bit of a stretch, in my opinion. If you are Grandma, and just do a little browsing on the web, then this would be a decent choice for you.

Mid Range Laptop Deals

Let’s take it up a notch! This little Samsung caught my eye because it has a decent price and a decent processor. Pictured below, you will see that it has an Intel Pentium. This is not a mind blowing deal, however, it helps me point out a little something about Intel’s processors. Pentium is better than Celeron. If you see Celeron on the box, then you should think, “low performer”. If you see Intel Atom on the box, then you should think, “netbook” because that processor really wasn’t designed for a full-sized laptop. The laptop below is better than the previous two. I would feel comfortable using this laptop for Office apps and homework. However, this is probably not your engineering student’s laptop, either.Samsung Pentium Laptop

Pictured below, is a bit better of a deal. For $50 more, you get the Intel i3 processor. The i3 is a dual core processor and is a step up from those that I’ve mentioned previously. I like the i3 processors. The i3 processor is meant to be used in a regular-sized laptop. I would feel comfortable using this at work or for college. It is still considered a budget laptop processor. For most people who are just browsing the web and watching videos, this laptop would do quite nicely.

HP i3

Higher Performing Laptop Deals

The last laptop deal that I am going to point out is the one pictured below. This laptop is actually a “decent” deal. First of all, it has the Intel i5 processor in it. The i5 series is pretty powerful and is really good for video and pretty much anything else the “power user” would want to do. This is one of the very few i5 deals I saw on the Black Friday ads so it caught my attention. If you can find a laptop with an Intel  i5 or i7 processor for $500 or less, you have got yourself a deal worth looking at.Acer i5

Hopefully this gives you some idea of what to look for. Notice that I focused mainly on processor in this article. There is a reason for this. Manufacturers are cutting the most corners with processors to get their prices lower. There are, of course, other factors to consider. You might consider whether or not you want a full-sized keyboard with a number pad on the side. Accounting people love these kinds of laptops. The trade off is usually that this requires a bigger screen size which adds more weight. You may also consider whether having a web cam is important to you or not. Also, the amount of RAM should be considered. However, an AMD c-50 laptop with 4GB of RAM is not going to be as good as an Intel i3 with 3GB of RAM. Processor matters more than RAM in this instance.

I hope that this helps you to avoid the Black Friday mistakes that I know some people are going to make. As always, feel free to comment and ask questions. We love to get your feedback. Good luck with your shopping!

How To Get Back Old Gmail Theme

*See updates at bottom to find more ways to restore Gmail Interface

Google recently rolled out a new interface for   to all it’s users. The interface is in line with most of the design changes that have been brought about by Google. It all started when they decided to add a Bing link background to their homepage and continued with a slew of other changes including removing the I am feeling Luckybutton, using a new design for search results and yet more, simplifying the image search results, adding top references to results and more.

However, not many people are actually liking the design and unlike earlier the options to switch back to old Gmail have changed. If you have switched to the new Gmail theme, you can easily switch back to the older theme temporarily.

Revert Gmail Theme

To revert back to the Old Gmail look, click on the “Settings” icon and then select the option to “Revert to old look temporarily”.

Once you do that, Gmail will revert back to the old interface. I am not sure as to how long the older interface will be available before users are forced to switch to the new Gmail interface. However, as always someone might come up with user scripts or which will allow users to go back to the old Gmail interface.

We will update the post with user scripts and extensions to switch back to the old Google interface as we come across them.

Update: 04/20/2012: Check out a new way to restore Old Gmail Interface using a Stylish script.

Insert Screenshots Into Your Word Documents

Have you ever needed to create an instruction manual and wished you could insert screenshots? There are lots of software options out there that will help you to do this. One of those options is probably sitting right under your nose and you haven’t noticed it. Microsoft Word 2010 has a screenshot feature that will allow you to take a picture of your desktop screens and insert them into your documents as pictures. In this article, I will show you the steps to do this. Let’s get started.

In Word 2010, click the “Insert” tab and then click the “Screenshot” button. In the picture below, you can see that when you click the “Screenshot button”, you get several options. First, you will see the “Available Windows” area. This shows you a representation of all of the windows that you have open. In this example, I wanted to insert a screenshot of an installation I was doing. I chose the appropriate window from my choices below. The second area I would like to call to your attention is highlighted in purple below. It is called “Screen Clipping”. This option will allow you to highlight a specific region on your screen that you would like to insert into your document. For instance, you might see a logo on a web page that you would like to clip into your Word document, simply click the “Screen Clipping” button and highlight the logo. When you release the mouse button, the highlighted area will automatically be placed into the document.

Screenshot Button

Once you have inserted your screenshot into your document, you can edit it just like any other picture you would insert. You will see your picture with selection handles (dots) all around. Clicking and dragging these handles will allow you to resize the picture. You will also notice, at the top of the picture, a green dot. This green dot will allow you to rotate your image 360 degrees. You may also choose to use Microsoft Word’s drawing tools to put arrows and text boxes on your image like the one pictured below.

Inserted Screen Shot

When it comes to writing tutorials, it helps to have pictures to illustrate what you’re writing. I guess this is supported by the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words”. I hope you find this tutorial useful. If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear back from you.

Remove Installed Greasemonkey Scripts in Firefox and Google Chrome

scripts are lightweight JavaScript files which add additionally functionality to browsers such as and . In the past we have talked about several interested Greasemonkey scripts which are both useful and help solve problems. One of the most recent one was removing Black bar in Google.

However, there are times when the Greasemonkey script you install might not work as expected or cause problems on other websites. If you are facing a similar problem you can easily uninstall the Greasemonkey script and get rid of the problem.

Google Chrome allows users to install Greasemonkey scripts as extensions so to uninstall scripts on Google Chrome, you will have to follow the steps given in How to uninstall apps and extensions in Google Chrome. However, if you are Firefox user and want to uninstall a Greasemonkey script, you will have to follow the steps given below.

Manage User Scripts Greasemonkey

Step 1: Click on the arrow next to the Greasemonkey icon and click on "Manage User Scripts"

Disable Greasemonkey Scripts

Step 2: Click on "Disable" button to disable the script temporarily or click on the "Remove" button to remove the script completely.

That’s it. Once you have disable or removed the script, just refresh the webpage and your problem will be solved.

5 Tips for Amazing Speaker Sound at Home

As a kid, I used to watch my dad with fascination as he hopped from stool to cupboard to adjust a speaker’s position to get it just right. As his little helper, it was my job to sit in his chair and make sure I heard the music from the speakers loud and clear. But of course, not everyone has the option of having a little helper around.

Here are my top five tips to help you get self-started with your sound system at home.

1. Use the Primary Components of a Sound System

You should buy several speakers if you want a superior sound experience. A single pair of speakers works, but as the soundtrack feeds all its separate sounds (frequencies) into the same device, this results in some lost or blurry sounds. To listen to a crisp and clear soundtrack (where you can hear every instrument or voice in it), you need several speakers so that the different sound frequencies are routed to the appropriate speakers.

The primary components of a sound system are as follows:

Left and Right Front Speakers: A speaker is a device that converts analog audio signals into the equivalent air vibrations in order to make audible sound ( definition from pcmag.com/encyclopedia_term).   The front speakers should not point directly to each other. Rear speakers follow the same principles as the front speakers.

The following image shows you how to place your front speakers.

Have you ever wondered why we need two speakers instead of one?

The science behind it is because we have two ears.  Seriously. For example, if you hear a train chugging on your sound system, the sound may be first played on your left front speaker and then on your right front speaker. This gives you the illusion of a train moving from left to right.

Left and Right Surround Speakers: The surround speakers are placed besides or behind your main seat. They are pointed at ear level. The surround speakers face each other more directly than the front speakers.

The following image shows you how to place your surround speakers.

Central Speaker: The central speaker should be in front of you and should point directly to you at ear level. In my opinion, this is the most important speaker, though it likely to burn a pretty hole in your pocket.

Subwoofer:   A subwoofer is a sound system component that focuses on the very low bass frequencies of the soundtrack. It is usually placed in front you (its placement is flexible).

If you hear imperceptible sounds in a soundtrack faintly in the background (the lower frequencies), you need to check the bass. Generally, the bass is set as “low” on your front speakers, which is perfectly fine. A subwoofer is used to bring out the clarity of these background noises and make them actually sound like something. It adds the “punch” to the soundtrack, if I may say so.

You may have two, five, or more speakers plus a subwoofer for your home sound system. Dolby has instructions on the how-to in it’s Home Theater Speaker Guide. I have used some of their wonderful and simple diagrams in this post.

2. Beware of Speaker Sizes

You can have small, medium, or large speakers depending on your budget and your room size. Remember that large speakers are too overwhelming in a small room.

To simplify this, let me categorize speakers based on the following two sizes:

  • larger floor-standing speakers

Advantage: Power

  • smaller book-shelf speakers

Advantage: Easy to maneuver

It is a matter of personal opinion, but I believe that small speakers cannot function with the same intensity as large speakers do, irrespective of the technology used to squeeze out every last bit of sound from the small speakers. You are free to mix and match different speaker sizes to  create your perfect home sound system.

3. Check the Distance of the Speaker from the Seating Area

A simple method to obtain the correct co-ordinates to place your sound system, is to measure the room and locate its center. Use this central point as the primary reference to measure the distance (at appropriate angles) for the various speakers. Ensure that a set of similar speakers is equidistant from the center. The front of the speakers should ideally face you directly; this may result in some speakers being angled (they are not positioned in straight and parallel lines from each other).

The famous 38 percent Rule  says that the best seating position is theoretically 38 percent into the length of the room (from either the front or rear wall of the room). A useful tip if you go to book movie theater seats too.

You will most likely place the speakers near the wall; but take care to never touch the speakers to the wall.

4. Check the Height of the Speaker  from the Floor

The front speakers should be placed at your ear level. This is suggested because of the direction sound waves travel. The left- and right-front speakers should be aligned at an angle of 60 degrees from each other.

The rear/surround speakers should be placed two feet above your ear level.

The central speaker should be placed at your ear level.

The subwoofer may be placed on the floor.

5. Angle the Speakers Appropriately (from each other)

Have you ever wondered why we need two speakers facing each other at an angle? It is because our ears face in opposite directions. Over simplistic isn’t it?  The following figure explains the angular separation of the speakers from each other.

 

Create A Cool Photo Album With PowerPoint 2010

Have you ever gone on vacation and wanted an easy way to share photos with your family and friends? Maybe you’re an art teacher that teaches an online class and you would like to share slides with everyone in the class. There is a super easy way to create a photo album slide show in PowerPoint 2010. It is also extremely easy to share this photo album with anybody in the world using a free service built into PowerPoint 2010. Let’s get started!

We’ll begin by opening PowerPoint. By default, you should see a blank PowerPoint show. Click the “Insert” tab on the ribbon toolbar and then find a button that says “Photo Album”. Click “Photo Album” and choose “New Photo Album” from the menu. See the image below for an example.

Insert Photo Album

A dialog box will pop up, as pictured below. Click the button that says “File/Disk” to bring up a file selection window.

File Button

In the file selection window, navigate to the folder that contains the pictures you would like to have in your album. In the picture below, you will see that I have selected multiple pictures. I did this by holding the ctrl key down and clicking each picture that I wanted to select. Once you have all of the pictures that you want to include selected, click the “Insert” button.

File Selection Window

You will be taken back to the “Edit Photo Album” dialog box. There are several options in this dialog, as you can see in the picture below. You can rearrange the order of the pictures. On the far right side, there is a small toolbar for quick photo edits, such as brightness and contrast. You can also change the layout of the slide to hold multiple photos. The “Theme” dropdown lets you pick one of PowerPoint’s built in color schemes.

Edit Photo Album

Below, you can see what a photo album slide show looks like.

Finished Album

Now that we have our photo album designed, we have to figure out how we want to distribute it. There are two ways I would like to show you how to do this. The first way is to save it as a PowerPoint show. A PowerPoint show can be emailed and the person on the receiving end can see the slides without having to see them in edit mode. One thing you might want to do, if you set it up as a show, is configure the slides to automatically change. To do this you click on the “Slide Show” tab and click the button that says “Set Up Slide Show”, as pictured below.

Set Up Show

Below, you can see a picture of the “Set Up Show” dialog box. Here you can configure the slide show to open full screen and to advance either manually or automatically. This is also the place you go if you want a presentation to loop over and over until you stop it.

Use Timings

Now that we have the settings in place, let’s save the show. In the save window pictured below, you will notice a “Save As Type” dropdown. In this instance, we want to choose “PowerPoint Show (*.ppsx)”. This puts it in a format we can email to people for viewing.

Save As

The second way you can share your PowerPoint show is via a new feature in 2010 called “Broadcast”. The broadcast will allow you to present your show online for free. A link is generated that you can send to people. When they click the link, they will be taken to a web page where they view the show in real time as you present it to them. In the picture below, you can see how this is done. Click “File”, “Broadcast Slide Show”, then click the “Broadcast Slide Show” button.

Broadcast

A “Broadcast Slide Show” dialog box appears, where you click the button that says “Start Broadcast”.

Start Broadcast

A link is created that you can send to the people you want to view the show. Now you can get everyone in a conference call and click the “Start Slide Show” button. As you click through the slides, the people you invited will see the slide advance on the web page they are viewing. It’s as simple as that, and it’s free!

Share Link

I hope you have enjoyed today’s tutorial. I think that this is a great way to cross geographical boundaries and share photos and presentations. What about you? Have you used this service? Do you have any ideas that you would suggest for its use?

As always, we appreciate your feedback. Thanks for reading Techie Buzz!

The Layman’s Guide to Computer Security

With a world full of malware, identity thieves and hackers, securing your computer properly is of at most importance. But unfortunately, most of us do not think further than installing security software. Mostly it is only after you get infected or hacked, that you realize you have done too little. But it would be too late by then.

The truth is, by following some very simple practices, you can easily minimize chances of being infected. Here’s a rundown of some of basic tips to secure your computer.

Install reputed Anti-virus software

You should make it a habit of installing an anti-virus (AV) software right after you install your OS. There is free antivirus as well as paid security software. If you are ready to shell out a few bucks, you can go for paid solutions. But the free ones work just fine. When you buy/download security software, make sure that it is a reputed one. A simple Google search can give you an idea whether the software is good or not. There are lots of Fake AVs doing the rounds and you don’t want to end up getting one of those. So this is an important step before getting a security suite.

Also Read: Protect Yourself from Internet Threats

Some examples of paid security software are Norton, NOD32, and Vipre etc. Free ones include AVG, Avast and Microsoft Security Essentials.

As I mentioned before, just having the anti-virus installed is not enough. You have to use it wisely. And by using wisely, I mean turning on the real-time protection, updating the AV and scanning your PC in regular intervals. The real-time protection mechanism monitors you PC all the time and will warn if there is any suspicious activity. Almost all major AV software has this feature.

Malware of different types are being released to the internet every minute and running an out-dated anti-virus makes your PC more susceptible to those malware. A common trend nowadays is that people tend to use trial versions of paid security suites that come pre-installed even after the trial has expired. Do not do that. As the trial is expired, you won’t be getting updates and your AV will be of no use unless you have the latest updates. So pay to get the full version of that software or else choose a free one to get those valuable definition updates. Remember! Updates are the spirit of your AV.

Do a system scan once in a while. A full scan every week would suffix. Most of the modern AVs allow you to schedule regular scans and automatic updates so that it requires minimum intervention from the end user.

Update the OS and all other installed software

While trying to break into a PC, it’s not just the vulnerabilities in Windows that the hackers take advantage of. Vulnerabilities in third party software are also an important issue. So make sure that all of the programs that you have installed are fully updated and not just your OS or security software.

Use a strong and unpredictable password

Your password is the key to your data and it is extremely important that you use a strong password. Here are some tips on creating a strong password.

  • Your password should have more than 8 characters.
  • Use a password that is not easily predictable. People tend to use passwords that are related to them such as their own names, date of births, favorite quotes etc. A hacker who stalks their victim’s social networking accounts such as Facebook can find this kind of information very easily. So it is very important that you use an un-related word, preferably a non-dictionary word as your password.
  • Try to include upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers and special characters to strengthen your password.
  • Do not use a single password for all your accounts. If you use a single password and your account gets hacked, your other accounts are also compromised.

Also Read: Tips to Create Easy-to-remember Strong Passwords | 4 Tools to Generate Strong Passwords

Practice safe browsing habits

Bad browsing habits are one of the major sources of malware infection. Always be vary of things that your download from the internet. Even if you download something from a trusted source, scan it before opening or executing the file. Do not download pirated software or media as there’s a big probability that they might be infected with malware.

Use your browser’s security features such as the smart screen and phishing filter while browsing. All of the major browsers such as IE, Firefox and Chrome come with these features.

While using social networks, be careful about whom you befriend and the level of data that you want to share with. For more on Facebook security, check out this guide.

Backup your data

Even if you are following the above practices, it is better to have a backup’ plan. The best method is to backup your data to an external hard drive. There is lots of software that will do this for you. Using Windows built in tools; you either do a full PC backup or choose which data you want to back. These settings can be found in the Backup and Restore Center in Windows 7 and Vista (just type backup in the start menu and press enter to open the Backup and Restore Center).You can also use paid software like Acronis True Image or Norton Ghost if you need more features.

Whether you use paid solution or the native Windows tool, make it a habit to backup important documents and media so that even if your system gets infected or corrupted, you don’t lose your important data.

You can also use websites to backup your data to the cloud. We have covered several services which allow users to backup files for free online, you will find most of them in our Online Storage section.

With the help of security software and by using our very precious common sense, we can easily reduce the chance of getting infected up to a great extent.

So stay safe and happy browsing!