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Ignore pop-ups when surfing the Internet. If a window appears having the message "Click here to speed up you computer" or "Click here to ad XYZ toolbar" do not. Just close the window. These programs are junk and just slow your computer down. Sure, there may be a time when you really want the Google tool bar but be careful not all offers are good offers. Read the privacy statements, this should scare you away from these "free" software vendors. Most are just some form of spy ware to watch your web habits.
File sharing or music sharing. Kazaa, Napster and like are not your friends. You never get something free. The price you pay is having other computer users that are more perceptive entering your computer and looking around for something good, like your bank account or pictures of your friends. If you want to download music, go to I-tunes, Wal-Mart etc. and pay for a song. On the other hand, just buy the CD.
Chat programs are as bad as the file sharing programs. Use care and make sure you have the program configured properly or you risk security issues when using chat. Web based chat is far more safe to use.
Add or Remove Programs through the control panel only (2000 & XP). If the program starts to auto-load when the CD is inserted click cancel then do the following. Click Start then click Control panel. Select add remove programs and double click the icon then browse the CD for your program. If you let the auto-load load the program chances are you will be the only user that will be able to run the program if you have multiple users on the computer.
Surge Protectors or UPS. Please consider having a clean source of power for your PC. A surge protector will prevent most power spikes from hurting your PC. A better choice would be to use an UPS, or Uninterruptible Power Supply. They can be purchased for as little as thirty-nine dollars. An UPS gives your PC a steady voltage with no spikes or sags. It will also run your PC for some amount of time should the power quit completely and may even have software included that can safely shut down your PC should the power not return.
Make a decision as to the use of your computer as soon as you decide to turn it on for the first time. Do you want a tool or a toy? If you want a tool, your PC needs treated as such. Keep it tuned up and running its best. If you decide a toy is fine then do not be surprised should you encounter trouble when all the mal-ware you or someone else loaded has corrupted your PC.