As a windows "purist", I cringe at the thought of third party toolbars, desktop searches, weather beacons, instant message programs, animated cursors, email smileys, browser helpers, and the whole plethera of free apps and plugins that leave your computer resources anything but free. However, a lot of people eat that stuff up. If you are one of those people, AT LEAST educate yourself about the potential threats associated with what I fondly term as "crapware", and learn to protect yourself.

Crapware comes in many forms. It usually disguises itself as some sort of useful application and quite often comes bundled with some applications that are, indeed, useful and blatantly mainstream. When installing the latter, be sure to look for check boxes that will allow you to install the useful utility without the crapware. The more reputable companies will at least give you that option even though it may be well hidden.

It is MOST IMPORTANT that you obtain Microsoft’s critical updates regularly. Please make sure Automatic Update is enabled. If you run Microsoft Office or other Microsoft products, you should use Microsoft Update instead of Windows Update in order to ensure that all of your Microsoft products receive critical updates automatically.

Next, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE purchase, install, and familiarize yourself with an anti-virus program, and keep your subscription and virus definitions CURRENT. An expired anti-virus program only protects you from YESTERDAY’s viruses, if at all. If you can't afford one, Microsoft has joined companies like AntiVir and Grisoft (AVG) in offering protection free of charge.

If you're connected directly to the internet (not behind a router or hardware firewall), you should run a software firewall. If you have Windows Vista, 7or 8.1, you should enable Windows firewall or run a more elaborate third-party firewall program like ones included with McAfee or Norton Internet Security.

Stay away from potential threats. There are countless programs distributed by companies with names you might recognize and trust that will wreak havoc on your system. Be careful what you download. READ those license agreements and privacy policies. Try not to be lured into downloading things you don’t really NEED.

In most cases, the end user agreement you say "yes" to when you first install crapware, makes it illegal for you to "reverse engineer" the software for effective removal. Even when you think you've found all the registry entries and eliminated all the hidden files related to the offending program, quite often there is a script hiding out, just waiting to run after so many restarts or on a certain date or on the third tuesday of the next month that has an R in it. These "time bombs" get their payload by reinstalling the crapware you worked so hard to get rid of. In those cases, a hard disk format and reinstallation of your operating system and all programs is your fastest, least expensive option.

If you're bogged-down with crapware (or worse), Contact GASlight to get your PC running like new again...

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Let GASlight keep your PC in tip-top shape...

phone: 865.212.3408

email: greg

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-Darius Gray