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Solutions: Keep PC protection simple by sticking with Microsoft's built-in security

My Internet provider is offering free security to its customers. What is your opinion of its security system? Would it be wise to switch from McAfee? I'm currently using McAfee on a Dell desktop with Windows 7 and a Dell laptop with Windows Vista.

Here's my philosophy on personal computing: Keep it as simple as possible. When it comes to antivirus/firewall protection for your home PC, the free Microsoft offerings are as good as or better than any of the for-purchase products. The Windows firewall is built in to Windows and the antivirus program, Microsoft Security Essentials, is available as a free download at www.microsoft.com/download. They are self-updating and free. And they are designed and written by the same people who write the operating system (Microsoft), so they are better integrated and the chances of conflicting updates are much less likely than with a third-party product.

I recently acquired a new Lenovo PC. It has two hard disk drives, the C drive having a capacity of 48.8 GB and the D drive with a capacity of 1.72 TB. I added a few things like Windows Live Mail, Skype, Adobe Reader and games. When I downloaded the 7 GB game from amazon.com I did not see an opportunity to load it onto the D drive, it was loaded onto the C drive. My problem is that the C drive is filling up fast with only 8.7 GB still free. I decided to drag and drop the folder, which is on my desktop and put it on the D drive. It seems to run from the D drive, but can you tell me if it is safe to delete it from the C drive? Also, my computer is telling me that I need to back it up by putting a CD in the F drive. Since I haven't done this before on my other computer, I don't know what kind or how many CDs to buy. Does the backing up mean that everything on both drives is saved?

You most likely have one physical drive that was partitioned into two logical drives. There are various reasons why some people like to do this which I won't go into here, but none of them make any sense to me for the average PC user. All it does is create confusion. If you are using Internet Explorer to download as of these files, choose the "Save As" option to direct it to your D drive. For any of the programs that ran an "Install" type of installation, you will probably have to uninstall them and then reinstall specifying the D drive as the target. Simply moving many of these programs does not change some of the registry entries that they may have created. Now, for your backup, forget using CDs/DVDs. You are better off buying a 1 TB external USB hard drive. Windows 7 comes with a great backup program and you'll be able to specify what and when to backup through the programs Backup Wizard, where in your case you'll include the D drive. Someday PCs will come without any hard drives — just static RAM large enough to boot to a base operating system. All your programs and data will be on "the Cloud." Which also solves the backup issues, but that day is still a few years away.

Send questions to personaltech@sptimes.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Keep PC protection simple by sticking with Microsoft's built-in security 11/06/11 [Last modified: Sunday, November 6, 2011 3:30am]
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