A good firewall will prevent programs from accessing the Internet without your permission, and block access to your PC from intruders. Even a better solution is to use a hardware firewall that connects between the Internet modem and your PC. This is usually called a router. If using a wireless router to connect your wireless devices in your home, setup a password for users to connect.
Malicious virus code can infect your PC’s system files and damage your important data. If you don’t have a virus checking program, you may want to download a free version from AVG. This is only for personal home use and can be found at:http://free.avg.com/
Spyware is malicious code that tracks your movements on the Internet and can even affect your PC’s performance. This gets a little more complicated, as some of the spyware infections are pretty severe and can “take over” your PC. One thing you can do is check out the Add/Remove Programs section in Control Panel. Look for programs that you did not install such as: tool bars, search assistants, free spyware removal programs, etc. Click on the program in the list that you wish to remove and click on the button that shows up that says “Remove”. If your system still acts funny or a little slow, you might want to let us take a look at it.
Your computer will fail, and usually it will fail at the most inconvenient time. Backup (copy or use Windows Backup) your photos, documents, music, etc. to an external hard drive or flash drive (depending on how much data you have).