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Microsoft Releases Security Essentials Software

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Microsoft recently released to the public its Security Essentials software. According to Microsoft, "Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home PC that gaurds against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software." This is a free download for those using a genuine copy of windows. It is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7.
Personally, I would not choose this Security Software. Don't get me wrong, I haven't actually used Security Essentials. I am basing my desicion solely on principle. The main reason we need security is becuase Microsoft created an insecure Operating System. To me this is kind of like buying "rust and paint protection" from the new car dealer. Why don't you just sell me a car with a decent paint job that isn't going to rust easily?
Anyway, personal issues aside, this could be just want you are looking for if you want free security software. You can take a look at it here. However, it is not the only free security software available for your computer. Take a look at my previous article where I point out several free security tools for your computer.

 

 

Internet Cleanup

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As you use Internet Explorer to browse the internet, files will collect on your computer. Some of the files are good, but many are unecessary and can take up space on your hard drive. Cleaning up after Internet Explorer can help clean up space and protect your browsing history.

  1. Open Internet Explorer. (These instructions apply to IE version 7)
  2. Click the 'tools' menu and click 'Internet Options'.
  3. On the 'General' tab, in the 'Browsing History' section, click the 'Delete' button.
  4. In the new window, you can choose which types of files to delete. This comes down to preference if you have saved passwords, etc that you would like to keep. But you can delete all and not cause any system issues.
  5. Click 'Close' when the process is complete, and click 'OK' to close the Internet Options window.
 

Disable unneeded Windows XP Services

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Windows XP is comprised of services. These services are the workers of the OS, that do various tasks. Even though most users do not need or use all of the services, they are running by default. This page can help you decide which services you can shutdown to free up more of your CPU and RAM.

*To access these settings, go to your "Start" menu and click the "Run". Type "Services.msc" in the text box. That will bring up the Service Management Console that lists all of the services. To enable or disable a service, double click it and change the setting in the drop-down box.

*Please note that some of these services may not be installed on your PC depending on your Windows XP version (Home, Pro, etc). If this is the case, it will not show up in your Services Management Console.

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Take your files AND your programs with you on a USB drive

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I came across this portable application platform for USB (and other portable) Drives. The Portable Apps platform is an open source project (built by the community, free to use). It can be found at http://portableapps.com. It allows you to install programs on your USB drive and run them on any Windows PC just by plugging in your drive. Currently there are over 50 prepackaged programs available for download. There is also information available if you are interested in packaging your own programs for portability. The website also hosts a forum for requesting programs or getting help with the system.

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Install Virtual PC on Windows; run multiple operating systems on your PC

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There are a few ways to run a second operating system on your computer. Creating a virtual machine is one way to do so without risking your main OS installation. If you have a newer computer, you can probably do this. Here are the system requirements for Virtual PC 2007 according to Microsoft's website:

  • 400mhz Processor (32 or 64 bit)
  • Windows XP Pro, Vista Business/Enterprise/Ultimate, Server 2003
  • Memory and Hard disk space requirements vary based on the guest OS installed.

 

From my experience these requirements are not very realistic. To get decent performance on a virtual machine, you should really have at least a 2 ghz processor(preferably dual core or HT). While Virtual PC doesn't actually use multiple cores, but it will allow your computer to run it's host processes separately. I would also recommend at least 1gb of RAM on your host system. Virtual PC 2007 will also run on XP Home and Vista Basic but will produce a warning message that your OS is not supported. You can ignore this message.

 

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