Let me just intro myself I have been in the IT industry for over 14 years and have worked for Rockwell and Lucent and are a full beta tester for microsoft for their home products ie win 98/me/xp and are in my late 50's, and I thought it may help some people if I just give a quick outline how you can assist and help yourself in today's world with so many viruses going around and some good housekeeing.
All the infor below is for XP home or Pro users only, first there are some good housekeeping which will keep your computer at top level and should be carried out weekly (just like a car)
Diskcleanup cleans up your hard drive and only removes files you do not need or even know they are in your computer.
Where is it: START/ALL PROGRAMS/ACCESSORIES/SYSTEM TOOLS
When it has run the program will open and you have choses which boxes to tick, do not tick box 3 and the last one just push OK and it will complete its role automatically
Disk Defragmentor puts all your files inth right order (like in a filing cabinet) ti will take about 20-30 min to run, your machine will be a little quicker after this has been run.
Where is it:START/ALL PROGRAMS/ACCESSORIES/SYSTEM TOOLS
Just push the icon which says defragmentor it will tell you when its finished.
System restore This is your life line it allows you to go back to a time and date if you have a problem with your computer (does not get rid of a virus) to have a look at it go to:
Start/ALL PROGRAMS/ACCESSORIES/SYSTEM TOOLS, now open System Restore and ensure the button is again restore my computer to an earlier time, now click next and you will see a calender on left and some dates are hightlighted if so everything is OK now push CANCEL and it will close, you only push next if you want to restore.
Norton Anti Virus 2002/2003 version
Like the programs above you should check for live updates every week and run full scan at the same time, I know you will say a box comes up say virus updated, that is only for virus definations, so you should open program and run live update and run full scan it normally takes about 15-20 min, Norton normally release Virus updates on Wednesday/Thursday. Always ensure that the little yellow TV screen on bottom of the computer does not have a red cross, if it does go into the prgram and ensure auto protech box is ticked.
This is where microsoft publish all updated for all program and is very important to visit every week, there are critical and recommened, you should always install criticals and the chose what recommended ones you want, just read the descriptions and you then can decide.
Where is it:START/ALL PROGRAMS near the top, if not there then open control panel and is on left hand side, (you must be connected to the internet for it to work.
Any computer which connects to the internet should have a firewall you can buy third party products like, Zonealarm,Black ICE,Norton Personal Firewall, however XP both version have a build in product which is very good, it does not matter whether using a dialup connection or ADSL or Cable you should never connect to the internet without it running.
Where is it: For dial connection START/CONNECT TO (right hand side of screen) highlight your ISP(if more than one ISP each one has to be done) now right click mice and look for properties click open and now push advanced and you will see the heading INTERNET CONNECTION FIREWALL tick the box next to protect my computer etc, AND NOW PUSH OK, that it
ADSL OR Cable START/CONTROL PANEL if using category view click network and internet connections/Network connections, now highlight the local area connection and right mice click and look for properties open and click on advanced tick the box as I mention above for dial up.
If using the classic look in control panel then click open network connections and you will see Local area connection hightlight and right click look for properties and just to the same as above.
I hope these tips will help you have a better running and a protected computer from virus and worms, just a little tip never never open an email if you don't know the sender not even if it looks like you have won a million euros, they will contact you just delete.