Top 10 Tips to Protect Yourself Against Computer Viruses

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!  Anything you can do when protecting 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 a 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  from viruses 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 installed PC Matic on this computer and there has not been one problem since. This program offers full protection along with full computer maintenance. It never asks him to do anything and just works in the background silently. Free PC Matic Scan

If you currently have no protection or maintenance software I highly recommend you grab a free scan with PC Matic to see what it can do for you.

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. Most programs will update by itself as long as you haven’t turned this option off by accident. This is definitely something you should check.

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. This is definitely included in the top 10 internet safety tips.

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 history so 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 programs 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. I would rather use a program to scan my drivers and update them for me. I would not risk downloading a device driver from just any old website. PC Pitstop offers a free driver scan.

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 removal program at any one time.

Please share how you protect your computer from viruses as I know there are many more ways to protect your computer?

Install a Program to Your Computer!

A software program will not upgrade your memory but it will clean out all the junk files, detect Malware, delete unused registry keys, Automatic Driver updates, and more. Not taking advantage of the latest updates and security patches can leave your computer vulnerable to attacks. At the moment I am using PC Matic to maintain everything for me and protect my computer. This program is so easy I have installed this on my Dad’s computer. This software is amazing and has won a number of top awards. You can get a free scan for your computer to see how it works before you buy.

Free PC Matic Scan

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Mitz,

    Using a good and reputed browser like Google Chrome helps in great extent to prevent virus and malware from internet to enter the PC. In case they enter, a good antivirus program like Norton will quarantine them.

  2. Talen Storla says

    A simple, but elegant, way to avoid the vast majority of viruses is to just not use Microsoft software of any kind.

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  4. Trill says

    You dont “need” an anti virus, i havent had one for 4 years, i tried installing one recently and it caused my computer a lot of lag and it was just slow. (The anti virus was paid)

  5. WarrenHudson says

    A virus can damage our computer files that are important as well as it damages computer hardware. we should aware about it So i consent with your second point it’s the main thing we chose best Anti-Virus Software.

  6. says

    This is totally a very helpful tips for newbie like me. I’m usually having a problem in computer viruses in my two laptop, I’m surely going to follow this tips to avoid this viruses. Thank you

  7. Andrew says

    You need a good antivirus to protect your computer and to be smart about what you do on the internet. I’m using Unthreat Antivirus and I think it does a great job of protecting my computer but I do follow most of the steps above to insure that I don’t get a virus.

  8. says

    Great information, When i was a computer novice, i do turn off my firewall and surf the internet. This post enlighten me the more. Thanks

  9. Erik says

    I like your tips but one of them should also recommend using a sandbox type program. A list of sandbox type programs sandboxie, bufferzone, or Geswall

  10. Bill says

    As someone else pointed out, its so easy to forget the basics and not update for months! I noticed my last update was 4 months ago.. hmmm!

  11. zain says

    nice, good points mentioned to secure a PC. and one thing more, be careful about plugging USB drives and memory card readers to your computer, they also can bring viruses.

  12. anna says

    Yes, avast is ok. Didn’t have any problems with it. I also tried to use Kaspersky, but you should have a powerful pc for it. It uses too many resources…

  13. says

    Hi,
    This article is very informative and I have been following these steps religiously. I recently had a big problem after my PC started crashing as soon as the AVG virus scan and another malware scan (which I purchased) would go on. After tearing my hair out and consulting different web sites for 4 weeks and fearing I had to buy another computer, I finally decided to uninstall AVG (2012 version) as well as the malware scan I bought. Did the trick and I promptly replaced with AVAST which has protected me in the past, no problems. What can I say? Some times you can purchase problems. AVG no more.

  14. says

    oh that’s really an informative post …this virus make my system slow and spoill my work at times hope i will not this happen again ..thanks for awesome tips and ideas :)

  15. Linto Mathew says

    Could you please write a posts comparing all the major antivirus products available ? These days antivirus are a bit cheaper. So I am planning to buy one license for one year. Could you please help me in this task.Its very difficult these days to find a good antivirus comparison.

    • charlie says

      i use macfee their next in line to kapernsky. I plan to stay current with them for service when needed has been great. regular updates i get daily and all has been fine.

  16. Anthony says

    I also check every falsh card I open on, especially if it is not mine and there might be some dangerous files. Check everything not to get caught.

  17. says

    Hit Mitz,
    I am agree with your points.I am using quick heal total security to protect my PC against virus.However I am agree with david, Microsoft security is an oxymoron!!

  18. says

    Most computer users disabled auto update of their antivirus because they think it will slow their system down while the update is in progress. This is a serious mistake as their antivirus has become outdated without the latest update, hence risking their system infected by viruses.

  19. says

    Security has been a primary concern with the Windows OS. For those who find it difficult to shell out those extra bucks just for your PC protection, here is the list of the 5 Top Antivirus Softwares which provide complete protection to your system and are available for free download.

  20. Tookata says

    If you rely on av software to protect you’re self from malicious code,then good luck.I have not used av for years.
    Common sense with computer knowledge is the key to a clean pc.I do have combo fix and malewarebytes on stand by though.I recommend these to all my clients.

  21. Richard says

    I think the bit about regular updates is essential, as basic as it sounds it’s easier to forget or ignore the notifications and then before you know it you end up with a virus ( happened to me :/ )

  22. says

    Hi Mitz, Nod32 combined with malwarebytes has made my computer 100% safe against any viruses, malware or spyware.

  23. luke neave says

    “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.”

    So your friend then sends an email back saying yes I sent you an email, which you have deleted and now can’t read!

    I think we can reasonably presume your friends would have quite quickly have given up the idea of emailing you. Problem solved!

  24. says

    t’s recommended that auto updating of antivirus software to be enabled. Many who got infected by virus were due to not having an updated version of antivrus program. Although auto update will slow the system down a little when it’s updating, it will make sure that you will never forget and missed the update. A good antivirus program is almost certain to be updating everyday to ensure better protection from new security patches.

  25. says

    Great post! Very important for people who are not aware of the dangers of the internet yet.
    I personally use Comodo internet security (Anti-virus and firewall). I am very happy with it, although I feel like it’s a bit heavier for my computer than eset or kaspersky was but it’s free and it’s still pretty awesome. No problems so far.
    Before this I was using avg for anti virus and pc tools firewall as a firewall but both of them started to look outdated as I never saw them update and the last update dates were long long ago, but when I force them to update they say I have the newest version. So it was time for something else.

    There are a lot of great ones but make sure you don’t decide on the fame or how awesome the website looks. The biggest companies are not necessarily the best.
    Norton for instance is a famous anti-virus and firewall maker, but their software used to be very very heavy. I think these days they have made them lighter but back in the day they were one of the most famous but they were definitely not the best. Lighter and more unknown anti-virus software was catching much more viruses than Norton.

  26. says

    I am using Eset Smart Security from 2 years and I never faced any problem with viruses since then, also Windows Updates are very important, many ignore these updates but they are very important in safeguarding your system. I recommend installing the latest service pack if you don’t install Windows updates at regular intervals.

  27. milton says

    cant download updates..help…i have 3 anti virus programs running is this the problem….

    • says

      Yes this would be a big problem as they all see each other as a threat and stuff your system up. Choose one and remove the others.

  28. says

    I use KeyScrambler software, along with McAfee anti-virus software. I think keyscrambler is just the most effective solution you can find to save yourself from keyloggers. Using it with a decent anti-virus solution = great security!

  29. says

    Hi Mitz!
    I’ve been hooked on Kaspersky for almost 3 years now. A lot of things went wrong for me and my PC in these three years and Kapsersky saved me countless times. I would recommend it to anyone, anytime.

  30. santosh says

    The best anti virus for me is AVAST 6.0 . SUPER as of from 2007 till today i’m not facing any virus effects to my computer

  31. says

    having a good and complete anti virus software is the best choice, choose anti virus which provide Anti spyware and anti malware too.

  32. says

    Just to add some more tips. :)

    1.) It’s always best to have an integrated browser security software so-to-speak, such as “Spywareblaster,” a totally free browser protection program. It helps to prevent malware from questionable websites (which are listed in the definition updates for the software) installing and infecting a PC.

    2.) Comodo Firewall is an amazing FREE tool. I can’t say too much about it. It can be useful for novices as well as amateurs (using the “Safe Mode” settings) and configured to do some serious blocking, routing, forwarding etc. Worth a try for an additional level of protection!

    3.) Another thing I’d recommend is creating a 2nd user account on any computer running Windows, which is to be used for LIMITED access. In other words, no installing of software without authorization from the administrator. These policies can be set in “gpedit.msc” Unfortunately Windows Vista Home doesn’t provide the gpedit function but other versions as well as Windows 7 does.

    I will add more tips if I think of any…you pretty much covered them Mitz. :)

  33. Jarvis Edwards says

    Very good tips. With more than 35,000 variants of malware being released daily, it is important to know how to avoid being infected in the first place! Your post basically covers many essentials to preventing infection.

  34. David Bolick says

    Microsoft security is an oxymoron. Use Linux if you are serious about real security.

  35. michael johnson says

    most web sites that contain viruses will have a pop up that will give you an option to click yes or no but both options are yes. just close the browser or hit back as many times as you can. You cannot get infected unless you give the virus an option to be invited into the system, they are like vampires…

    avoid.exe files when downloading something as well unless you know it is from a trusted source.

    Zone Alarm back in the day was a horrible program as lock down included really meant lock down and sometimes the program would freeze all together and block applications when it saw fit to do so…