Smooth Operator
Windows All Versions

We want you to be a smooth operator. No, we didn't say slick. There's a difference! Here are some basic tips to keep your computer in Tip Top Shape and keep you - not some slimeball company - in charge of your computer.

User education
The best security measures begin on the outside of your computer. Namely, your internal computer. The best computer of all. Your BRAIN! Educate yourself. Apply the same common sense approach to the cyberworld as you do to your everyday life. Look before you leap. If it seems too good to be true; it probably is. Read all you can about computers, scour the Web looking for news articles (like our NewsBytes) and keep yourself informed.

Antivirus protection
A quality anti-virus program, with frequently updated virus definition files, running in real time should be installed and operational on your computer every second, every minute, every hour, of every day. Recommend Free AV programs: AVAST Anti-Virus and AVG Anti-Virus

Firewall protection
Every PC with Internet access should have a personal firewall installed and running. Especially those of you with high-speed connections! It should be bi-directional, tracking both outbound and inbound traffic. There are many good software firewalls that offer free, personal versions: Kerio, and Outpost, to name two. We no longer recommend ZoneAlarm. It has grown to be an octopus with tentacles reaching into every crevice of your hard drive. It makes using normal programs difficult and while it provides good firewall protection, it provides an annoying user experience. Another example of a once-good program upgrading itself into a huge annoyance.

Slimeware protection
No one can decide what to call this junk. Spyware? Malware? Trickware? We'll call it slimeware because that term most aptly describes it. Not only do most of these garbage applications present a real threat to your privacy, they can slime your computer in a hurry. This slime has infamous computer-clogging potential. Slimeware can keep on clogging up your computer too. It can add insult to injury by downloading and installing additional slimeware applications without your knowledge or permission (usually under the guise of "updates"), and may assault you with obnoxious popup ads which seem to appear from nowhere, either when you start up your computer or while you are using your computer. So download install at least two good anti-spyware applications - like SpySweeper, Spyware Doctor and Spybot Search & Destroy - and scan your computer often. Slimeware is here to stay. Anti-spyware software is as important as anti-virus software these days. Don't surf the Web without it.

Open the case
We guarantee you there are no poisonous snakes or other harmful animals inside your computer case. Well, maybe not guarantee but it's highly unlikely that there are! Open the case up once in awhile (every 3 to 4 months) and vacuum the dust from inside the case. Make sure you vacuum the fan area(s) well. Good air circulation is a must to keep your processor running at normal temperatures. Running too hot can shorten the life of your processor. We're sure many "experts" will recoil in horror as we recommend something as unsophisticated as a vacuum cleaner and suck out the detritus from your computers inner sanctum. I'm sure the old "compressed air" theory will be widely touted. However, you probably already have a vacuum cleaner and compressed air just blow dust and dirt all over the place. Use your vacuum cleaner and clean out your computer case (use caution of course, don't go jamming the nozzle down hard on your motherboard and so on). Save the compressed air for your keyboard and car tires.

Delete your temps
Keep your hard drive cleaner by removing the clutter which accumulates during every surfing sessions. At the very least delete your temporary Internet files often by clicking "Tools" - on the Internet Explorer toolbar - then "Internet Options" and click "Delete files" -then click "OK". You may also want to delete all your cookies at that time too. Just click "Delete cookies" - then "OK".  If you want to make cleanup easy, and want to help support Cloudeight at the same time. our Zappit System Cleaner makes removing junk, garbage and temp files as easy as Cloudie-pie!

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