10 Tips to Maintain a Virus Free Computer

Is your computer infected with virus? Do you often get mysterious error messages? Well, this is a common problem faced by almost all the computer users across the globe.

Even though some of them are harmless, they do have the ability to do a number of nasty things up to and including damaging or erasing sensitive data from your computer. However, there are ways to keep viruses and other malware away from your computer.

Here are the 10 tips to maintain a virus free computer:

1. Email is one of the common ways by which your computer can catch a virus. So, it is always recommended to stay away from SPAM. Open only those emails that has its origin from a trusted source such as those which comes from your contact list.
If you are using your own private email host (other than Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail etc.) then it is highly recommended that you use a good spam filter. And finally NEVER click on any links in the emails that comes from untrusted sources.

2. USB thumb/pen drives is another common way by which viruses spread rapidly. So, it is always a good habit to perform a virus scan before copying any data onto your computer. NEVER double-click the pen drive to open it. Instead right-click on it and select the option “open”. This is the safe way to open a pen drive.

3. Be careful about using MS Outlook. Outlook is more susceptible to worms than other e-mail programs, unless you have an efficient antivirus programs running. Use Pegasus or Thunderbird (by Mozilla), or a web-based program such as Hotmail or Yahoo (In Firefox).

4. As we all know, Internet is the main source of all malicious programs including viruses, worms, trojans etc. In fact, Internet contributes to virus infection by up to 80 percent. So, here are the tips for safe surfing habits so that you can ward off virus infection up to the maximum possible extent.
– Do not click on pop-up windows that announce a sudden disaster in your city or announce that you’ve won an hourly prize. They are the ways to mislead Internet users and you should never trust them.
– You can also use a pop-up blocker to automatically block those pop-ups.

5. Install a good antivirus software and keep it updated. Also perform full system scan periodically. It is highly recommended that you turn on the automatic update feature. This is the most essential task to protect your PC from viruses. Most of the antivirus programs offer the auto-protect feature that provides real-time security for your PC. Make sure that this feature is turned on.

6. In addition to an antivirus, it is worthwhile to spend install a good anti-spyware program. This can provide extra security for your computer.

7. Never open any email attachments that come from untrusted sources. If it is a picture, text or sound file (these attachments end in the extensions .txt, .jpeg, .gif, .bmp, .tif, .mp3, .htm, .html, and .avi), you are probably safe, but still perform a virus scan before opening them.

8. Do not use disks that other people gave you, even from work. The disk could be infected with a virus. Of course, you can run a virus scan on it first to check it out.

9. While you download files from untrusted websites/sources such as torrents, warez etc. make sure that you run a virus scan before executing them.

10. And finally it is recommended not to visit those websites that feature illegal/unwanted stuffs such as cracks, serials, warez etc. as they contribute much in spreading of virus and other malicious programs.

Source: http://www.gohacking.com/tips-to-maintain-virus-free-computer/