This post was originally shared on Modern Homesteader’s site. When you get a chance, please go check them out!
We are hoping to share some information as part of a series on maintaining your computer technology. As some of you may know, over at Blueberry Acres Farm we are budding homesteaders who still maintain “day” jobs. I am able to work virtually thanks to technology, but my husband “Sheldon” is the one paying the mortgage because of technology. That is, he’s a geek by trade.
So when we thought about all of the other homesteaders who not only use their home computer equipment, but really count on it to sell product, connect with other homesteaders, follow up on homeschooling lessons or get important information, we thought a good place to start would be free resources that you can use to protect your computer. Let’s face it-homesteading can be expensive when you start looking at purchasing land, equipment, etc. Most of us are trying to simplify life, so the idea of needing to buy a new computer every year or two isn’t too appealling. Just like our vehicles, a little maintenance can go a long way-especially when it comes to online protection. While he could go on for hours about ways that you can improve your protection and computing experience (I’m telling you-he really could talk for hours, sigh) let’s start with just a couple of Sheldon’s favorite free resources:
Microsoft Security Essentials: If you have the Windows 7 OS (or earlier), then you can use this to help defend computers running Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. If you have already upgraded to Windows 8, Windows Defender replaces Security Essentials and runs in the background without an install. If you are still running Windows 95, I really don’t know what to suggest…
Ad-Aware Free Antivirus: Lavasoft describes this as something that “combines our legendary Anti-spyware with a super fast, free Antivirus. It now features download protection (blocks malicious files before being written to disk), sandboxing (keeps unknown apps running in a virtual environment) and advanced detection.” It’s good for Windows 8, 7, XP and Vista.
AVG Anti-virus Free: Another free resource that detects and stops viruses, threats and malware.
And what I think is the most important suggestion…Is everyone in your house singing off the same sheet of music when it comes to online protection? You are probably doing all of the right things to protect your computer investment…but are your kids? Your grandkids? Your spouse? Your parents? Why do I ask? Well, I think of my senior citizen parents who allow the grandkids to come and go on their computer. Not only can that be some dangerous “grandparenting,” it’s also bad PC management. It feels like we are CONSTANTLY cleaning viruses and the like off of their computer because not only are they not keeping up with PC clean up, but they allow the g/k’s to go onto any site they want. Make sure that you set the expectation and that if a child (or adult) is allowed to use the PC without supervision, they know the rules of proverbial road. If you have doubts, consider setting up accounts for each user on the computer so that they cannot make changes to the PC without the administrator password…that you don’t leave on a post-it note next to the computer!
We will share some additional suggestions on technology repair/management in our next post in this series. Thanks and happy homesteading!
Shellie, Contributing Writer, Modern Homesteaders