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New security tools help protect your PC

The latest routers, security suites, and software patches can help protect your PC against today’s ever-more-sophisticated Internet attacks.

These security tools are easy to install, easy to maintain, and provide the average PC user with basic protection against viruses, botnets, Trojans, rootkits, and other types of malware.

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Should your personal computer be quarantined?

A hot topic at last week’s RSA Conference in San Francisco was how to stem the flood of botnet-infected PCs.

The controversial solution posed by a Microsoft security executive? Quarantine them.

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Get help from the Windows Reliability Monitor

Windows abounds with special-purpose tools that can help in the care and feeding of the beast — if you can just figure out where to find them.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to the Reliability Monitor, one of my favorite ways to identify and exorcise the demons that lurk within.

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Windows shortcuts can boost your efficiency

Constantly moving your hands between the keyboard and mouse is not the most efficient way to interact with our computers, but most of us doggedly stick to it.

But if you take a little time to learn (or relearn) a few basic keyboard and mouse shortcuts, you can blaze through your windows faster and more easily — and possibly put less stress on your overworked hands as well.

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Quick cures for the worst Windows 7 annoyances

In its seemingly never-ending quest for a better Windows, Microsoft simply can’t resist tinkering with — and sometimes completely removing — features that many of us loved.

If you find yourself tripping over new Windows 7 features or missing favorite old ones, I’ve got some tips that will come to your rescue.

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Freeware outdoes Windows’ built-in system tools

Most standard Windows maintenance tasks can be accomplished using the utilities included with the OS itself — but that doesn’t mean those tools are your best option.

Whether you’re looking for an easier way to browse the image files in a folder, create a restore point, revert to XP’s Classic Start Menu, or customize your file associations, there’s a (free) app for that.

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The EULA you click may not be the one in effect

When you accept Microsoft’s end-user license agreement as part of Windows’ installation, that click is considered by many people to be as enforceable as a wet-ink signature — at least in the U.S.

But I’ve found that the terms in the EULA you agree to during an installation may vary from the license that’s posted at Microsoft’s Web site.

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The long wait for 64-bit PC software continues

Even though 64-bit PCs have been available for seven years, the promise of 64-bit computing has been delayed by a dearth of 64-bit software.

The situation is improving — slowly — but many major PC applications remain 32-bit affairs.

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Patch arrives for IE hole targeted by Chinese

As of this writing, Microsoft is scheduled to release on Jan. 21 an update that fixes the Internet Explorer vulnerability behind the recent, highly publicized cyberattacks on Google and other major corporations.

The sophisticated “Aurora” exploit is delivered through common file attachments or links — typically in e-mail or other messages that appear to come from trusted sources — but proven security measures and a little common sense can negate all such threats.

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Why the need to reboot after updating Windows?

Not so long ago, Microsoft promised that fewer Windows patches would require restarting the system to complete their installation.

Microsoft clearly hasn’t delivered on that promise, so PC users need to take steps to ensure that they don’t lose data due to unexpected post-update reboots.

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