Top Story

The pros and cons of switching to Windows 7

If you’re still sitting on the fence about upgrading to Windows 7 — after all, it’s been widely available for all of a few hours now — I’d like to regale you with my top eight reasons to jump in with both feet.

I’ll also tell you three possible reasons for keeping the new OS on the shelf — for a while, at least.

Read More »

Press delete: the risk of outsourcing your data

A recent failure affecting T-Mobile’s Sidekick service caused thousands of customers to lose their personal contact information.

There’s nothing new about servers crashing, and something like this is sure to happen again, so you need to protect yourself against such losses in the future.

Read More »

Sponsored search results lead to malware

The ads served by Bing and Google along with your search results are linking more and more often to sites trying to infect your machine.

Neither Bing nor Google effectively prescreens these bogus advertisers, so it’s up to us to detect and avoid them.

Read More »

Get your system ready for a Windows 7 upgrade

Removing unneeded applications and making sure your hardware devices will work with Windows 7 are good things to do before you purchase and install the new operating system.

A merciless approach — ruthlessly excising software clutter prior to the OS upgrade — will help ensure that the process goes smoothly.

Read More »

More tricks to evade keyloggers on public PCs

Dozens of readers responded to my
Sept. 10 Top Story,
many of them proposing alternative ways to evade keyloggers other than the “revised Vesik method” I described.

No method can make you completely safe when using a public computer, so you must balance convenience with the level of risk that’s acceptable to you.

Read More »

Control ill-behaved apps with DEP in IE

Internet Explorer 8 includes a security feature that shuts down misbehaving applications before they can harm your system.

This capability, known as Data Execution Prevention (DEP), runs by default when IE 8 is installed on XP SP3 and Vista SP1 or later, but it may not always be clear to you why DEP has put the brakes on one of your PC’s applications.

Read More »

Prevent keyloggers from grabbing your passwords

Strong passwords are important, but even the best password won’t keep you safe from keyloggers — hardware and software that’s designed to secretly record your keystrokes.

Fortunately, there’s a way you can enter sensitive data so it’s extremely difficult for snoops to extract your passwords from keylogger files.

Read More »

Security Baseline provides basic PC protection

The Windows Secrets Security Baseline describes products and services that serve as a minimum safe PC configuration.

This week, I’m updating the latest findings on a set of hardware and software that should meet the needs of individual PC users, though more-advanced users and large businesses may want a more-sophisticated approach to computer defense.

Read More »

Use any version of Windows 7 free for 120 days

There’s an easy way to stretch Windows 7’s 30-day free-trial period to 120 days so you can determine whether Microsoft’s new operating system meets your needs.

Even better — if you know the secret — you can try out any version of Win7, from Ultimate to the lowly Basic, using a single install disc.

Read More »

Sun, Apple, Microsoft install chaff with patches

When you apply a security update for one of the programs on your PC, beware of uninvited software that wants to come along for the ride.

Vendors are more and more often going over the line, piggy-backing unsolicited commercial products and services onto crucial security patches.

Read More »