When it comes to technology, lots of folks just follow blindly, buying up whatever they hear is best, when just a little research and maintenance work might help them save both money and headaches. 

When it comes to technology, lots of folks just follow blindly, buying up whatever they hear is best, when just a little research and maintenance work might help them save both money and headaches.  


“Handling your computer is like handling your car,” says Jim Ensign of Endorfan Consulting in Naperville, Ill. “There’s routine maintenance that must be done.” For the average home computer, this means watching out for and protecting it from spyware, malware and viruses. 


Do them all


Ensign says many computer owners don’t realize that they must do all three.  “Most of the work I do surrounds viruses, malware and spyware,” Ensign says. “People tend to make the mistake of thinking of them as one thing and they think of that one thing very seldom.” Make sure that you’re addressing all three of these computer infiltrators on a regular basis to keep your machine in top working shape.


What’s best?


While you can certainly purchase effective protection programs that are inexpensive, Ensign says there are many free ones that work just as well. His three favorites are Malwarebytes Anti Malware, Spybot Search & Destroy and Avira Antivi Personal Free, but he urges consumers to download carefully; there are many less effective or harmful look-alikes lurking online. Find listings and links to all of his recommendations in the Technical Tips at www.endorfan.com, a page the technical expert designed originally for himself, to ensure he could always determine the real software from the impersonators.


Stay on top if it


In order to keep speed and performance up, perform regular updates and scans, and choose programs that don’t expire. “Most viruses happen in the month after your software expires,” says Ensign, who urges folks to make sure they complete the whole process when they download the protected software listed above. “Be sure to download, install, and update several times until you see a message that indicates all available updates have been installed as of a recent date. Then inoculate, scan, repair or fix all and finally, check to see that you are running auto updates and scheduled weekly scans.” All seven steps must be completed for each of the three recommended programs.    


How much can you save?


This might seem like a lot of work, but when Ensign receives a frantic call for assistance from a homeowner who has lost something valuable or can’t tolerate excruciatingly low processing times, he welcomes the chance to teach them about maintenance. “The average invoice for calls like this is about $200,” Ensign says. With just a bit of free DIY computer maintenance, that’s $200 saved.


Molly Logan Anderson is a freelance writer who lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Mike, three kids and black lab. Join Molly on her family’s journey of living a frugal life and making financial freedom their reality.