Check the hardware.

Hardware? Yes! No operating system can be better than the hardware on which it’s installed, and older systems are prone to age-related problems. One often-overlooked problem is dust buildup, which can cause chips and drives to overheat and malfunction. These hardware errors can masquerade as software problems, causing you to waste time troubleshooting the wrong thing.

It’s easy to clean your PC. Consult my how-to article, “Getting the grunge out of your PC.” (It’s a few years old, but still completely apt.) While you have your PC’s case open, make sure that all plug-in cards and socketed chips are fully seated and all cables firmly connected. More »

Microsoft has responded officially to a story published recently reporting that Google had taken the decision to dump Windows from its IT environment, and replace it with Linux, or swap PCs with Macs. At the time of this article, Google had yet to confirm whether it was indeed moving away from Windows, but, according to the initial report, the Mountain View-based company was doing so citing security concerns.

In a post on the Windows Team blog, Brandon LeBlanc, Windows communications manager on the Windows Client Communications Team, defended Windows and the security the operating system brought to the table. “There’s been some coverage overnight about the security of Windows and whether or not one particular company is reducing its use of Windows. We thought this was a good opportunity to set the record straight,” he stated. More »

The latest routers, security suites, and software patches can help protect your PC against today’s ever-more-sophisticated Internet attacks.

These security tools are easy to install, easy to maintain, and provide the average PC user with basic protection against viruses, botnets, Trojans, rootkits, and other types of malware.

Keeping your PC secure goes far beyond convenience it can protect you against significant financial loss. That’s not hyperbole: according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center’s 2009 annual report (available from the IC3 site), Internet crime losses more than doubled through 2009 to more than U.S. $559 million!

But it’s not hard to provide a reasonable level of basic security for any PC. For average PC users, the basic rule for keeping PCs secure has not changed  keep it simple, keep it up-to-date.

The WS Security Baseline summarizes the latest reviews from trusted computer test labs. The current status of these reviews will be periodically updated on the Security Baseline page at More »