Tips on Safeguarding Your Computer

Volume 6, No. 7

The Question:   Can you imagine being without your computer for a day?
The Fact:    If your computer contracts a virus, you could face days or weeks without it--and even face losing your data.
The Remedy:   Take the following three steps to help safeguard your computer against contracting a virus:

Install an Antivirus Program
An antivirus program runs on the computer to protect you from viruses that may cause harm to the system. ISS recommends installing the antivirus program, Microsoft Security Essentials, which provides excellent protection at an attractive price – FREE!

Download the Microsoft Security Essentials here:

2.      Keep Your System Updated
To fix vulnerabilities that may exist on your computer, run software updates to ensure installation of the latest security patches designed to address current vulnerabilities.

ISS recommends turning on Automatic Updates to seamlessly keep the operating system up-to-date.

  • For Windows XP
    • Start Button -> Security Center -> Automatic Updates -> Automatic (recommended)
  • For Windows 7/Vista
    • Start Button -> Control Panel  -> System and Security -> Windows Update -> Change Settings -> Install updates automatically (recommended)

3.      Turn On Your Firewall
A firewall helps protect your system by allowing only permitted network traffic to pass onto your computer. Enable the built-in Windows firewall as follows:

  • For Windows XP
    • Start Button -> Control Panel -> Security Center ->  Windows Firewall -> “On (recommended)”
  • For Windows 7/Vista
    • Start Button -> Control Panel  -> System and Security -> Windows Firewall -> Turn Windows Firewall on or off -> “Turn on Windows Firewall” for each network type

If you follow these steps, the chances of your computer contracting a virus are greatly reduced. Should your computer become infected with a virus, you may seek assistance at the Pearson Library Circulation Desk; ISS will attempt advanced virus removal techniques for a $25 fee.

*This Issue’s Techno Term

Term:  computer virus
Definition:  A program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge and runs against your wishes; viruses are capable of replicating themselves.
Example in a sentence:  Even though all computer viruses are human-made, some people believe weird processes running on their systems are caused by inexplicable magic spells.

 If you have questions or need assistance, please call the Help Desk at (805) 493-3698 or send e-mail to Additional information is available at the Computer Training Website; in addition, an archive of previous Tech Bytes issues is located at