If your computer is plagued by popups and other junk, you may have wondered how it got that way. Lots of different reasons, but here is what I do to keep my computer clean.
- Whenever you search for something with any search engine, the first few results are going to be paid ads. Those results may look like what you want, but usually aren’t. I never click on the paid results on any search. They probably aren’t what you want anyhow.
- Many times, those paid results are going to cause problems. For instance, if you search for ‘fixing something’, the ‘fixes’ you get when you click on a paid ad are probably going to make things worse. You’ll get a pitch for a ‘easy and free’ program to help ‘fix’ your problem. Just don’t go there. Ignore the paid results, and carefully look at the non-paid results to get what you were looking for.
- Never click on a pop-up, no matter where it is. They are just trouble. Especially the ones that claim to be updates for some program (‘click here for an updated version of whatever to view this page’). Just don’t click.
- Now there are times when a valid popup will ask you to update things. An example is a Windows update, or maybe one from your browser. Proceed carefully, Grasshopper. Windows Updates are good, and you should do them when they ask. But make sure that the update is for something you have, or is from the actual vendor site, not one that looks like it.
- Wherever you go, tread carefully. Even a mainstream news site might cause a popup asking you to do something. Again, just say no.
- If you need to install a program, make sure that you install it from the vendor’s actual site, not one that looks like it. And beware of add-in programs that come with an update. Adobe is a place where you will get additional programs when you try to install an update. Watch for those pre-selected check boxes for additional browser plugins or other programs. If you need to get an Adobe update, then do it, but don’t get all the extra stuff they try to force on you.
We’ve had other posts on how to keep your computer safe. Here’s the quick list.
- Do the Windows Updates.
- Make sure your antivirus is current.
- Install Windows Security Essentials anti-virus program (pre-Windows 8; it’s built into Windows 8).
- Install the free Personal Software Inspector program from Secunia to keep your other programs current.
- Uninstall Java (unless you are sure that you need it).
- Don’t use the same password on multiple sites.
- Make sure your password is complex and hard to guess.
- Don’t do financial transactions at a public Wi-Fi spot.
- Be careful of public WiFi spots.
- Don’t click on popups.
- Do backups (I use an automated backup-to-the-cloud service – Carbonite).
With a bit of effort, you can keep your computer clean. And make your browsing life much simpler.