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Click Tips: Net protection

Rob Freeman
By Rob Freeman
Click tip-ster

Rob Freeman, Click's very own Mr Fixit, troubleshoots your PC problems and helps you get the most out of your computer.

Last time I was talking about anti-virus software but this time I want to talk to about some of the other ways we can protect ourselves online.

"I saw your item on anti virus software, I thought my ISP provided this already."
Kim Buxley, Mexico

Kim, you did not say which ISP you have so I cannot say if yours does, but it is certainly possible that virus protection is either included in your subscription, or it is available for an additional charge.

While not free, these packages can make sense if you want to get up and running straight away, and let your ISP manage the installation and the updates.

AOL are trying this with a package called Total Care which is still in Beta, so I cannot send you to the site, but AOL's original safety and security software is available at

This includes some virus protection, spyware filters and a firewall. To download and use it, you need to sign up for an AOL email address, which is now free.

Microsoft has recently launched an online computer protection service called One Care (

For $50 a year, you get all the virus protection you would expect, plus some file backup software.

You can put the software on up to three computers, which makes it attractive not just for family PCs at home, but for small businesses too.

Currently it is only available if you are in the US, but Microsoft are planning to extend its availability in other countries in the next year.

There are so few Mac viruses, that one of the free protection programs has recently slipped into history - Agax - which was for older Macs which did not run OS 10.

Its author says that he has not needed to update it in four years due entirely to there being no new threats for older Macs in that time.

But there is something to remember for Mac users who run Virtual PC, or the new Boot Camp software, which both allow you to run Windows on your Mac. You can still lose data on your Mac if you get a virus when running in Windows mode.

For such users there is the free ClamXav (, which points out that so far, the number of viruses out there for OSX is up to... well there actually are not any to speak of.

Finally, virus protection is just one part of being properly protected online.

New viruses come out all the time, so once you have got some protection, make sure you do not let it fall out of date.

Nowadays, a firewall is a must to stop some nasties getting in to start with, and spyware protection is handy too.

It can stop some of the more annoying, if not actually destructive kinds of online pests.

I must remind you that downloading any of this software is at your own risk. Something for nothing means you cannot complain if anything goes wrong!

"You recently told us how important it was to use a limited user account for day to day use - but this means I'm constantly switching between users to work."
Jeff Calderon

I was warning you against using your administrator account for every day work but... good news!

Windows makes it really easy to switch between users, especially if you need to make a quick changes using the administrator account.

This is a feature called fast user switching, and it is something you will see on Mac OS too.

Normally when you log off, all the programs you have been using are closed.

Fast user switching means that when you go to the log off screen and choose Switch User, everything you have been working on gets frozen, while you log into the second account.

When you are finished, you can switch back and pick up exactly where you left off.

It is a great time-saver.

Sometimes as a limited user, Windows just will not allow you to run certain software and that is where the very handy "Run As" command comes in. This lets you run a program as if you were an administrator.

Bring up the icon of the software which will not work. Hold down shift, and press the right mouse button. Choose "Run As".

Now enter your Admin login and password and that software should work normally.

This is the computer version of "a stitch in time saves nine".

Yes it takes a bit longer, but it can save you a lot of extra work cleaning off malware.

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