I was talking to a guy the other day and somehow the conversation went into computers. He was complaining about how much it cost for him to have "Geek Squad" come out to his house and unscrew his computer regularly. He admitted this was likely mostly his own fault, he let his subscription to Norton Antivirus run out after just not having the extra $50 a year to keep it current and he admitted he likes to pass by the occasional porn site.
I thought for a minute, ok, maybe less than 30 seconds, and responded to him life doesn't have to be like this.
Lets stop there though and allow me to admit one thing, I'm not anti Microsoft by any means. I do run Windows Vista, I've been running Windows since 3.11 and "Windows for Work Groups". I hated NT 4.0 but ran it anyhow, made a carer at the time as a Windows Net Admin. When 2000came out I thought this is much better, XP ruled on that, Vista I feel is the best Windows Operating system we've had to date.
I've been a Linux user just as long though and have to admit my all time favorite operating system out there is freebsd.Not the easiest to use by any means, but still my favorite.
In many ways we're chained to being forced to use Windows making it a necessary evil.
My response to this guy though was it doesn't have to be this way.
Windows will cost you out of the box, a lot of money, doesn't matter if your computer came with it already and you feel like you didn't pay for it, you still paid for it, and when the next latest and greatest version comes out you'll either pay several hundred dollars for it or even more to buy a new computer with it already on it.
Maintaining it for the average person is where it really begins t nickel and dime you to death. We'll ignore the crazy cost of add on software but the necessity software instead like "anti virus" software. This garbage not only bogs your system resources down to insane levels, but it costs you money in subscription fees. You can find "free" anti virus software and anti everything else you "must" have when running Windows. It's all pointless though and total BS. There are billion dollar businesses like "Geek Squad" built around profiting of just the problems any regular Windows computer user is going to experience.
You can have your cake and eat it too!
Leave Windows installed on your computer for all those things that you can only have Windows to do.
Use Linux to do all those things that create problems and extreme risks you have from Windows, like surfing the internet, on line banking with threats out there that even make SSL connections a joke like the "silent banker" trojan (google that, be afraid).
Here's what you do and its 100% free with no strings attached, its also a no brainer to use.
Go to Ubuntu Home Page | Ubuntu
Download this Linux operating system, it will be an ISO file, free software if you don't already have it and very simple instructions are right there. Burn the file to a CD and you don;t have to change anything on your current Windows computer to use it. You burn it to a CD, You boot up to this CD instead of your hard drive and you're up and running the entire Operating System. Everything runs off the CD and your computers memory.
You can go to the nastiest virus infested porn web site known to man and there is nothing it can do to you. They can't write their virus code back to the read only CD your running off of.
You can't screw anything up even if you try to. Any changes you make, any problems you create, it all gets wiped away by just rebooting your computer. You boot again 100% fresh and new to that read only CD.
It's 100% free, no strings attached, no trials, no submitting your email address, its just there and free. All the software you will ever need is already on the CD. You can make and read any Microsoft Office files, download with just a click of the mouse software that installs itself to view any video files, even Microsoft .wmv files. You don't have to search for additional software, if you need it the operating system goes out and gets just what you need for you, making it the ultimate no brainer.
The only risk is you most likely will like it so much you choose to install it on your hard drive permanently in place of Windows all together.
You don't have to do that though, that's the real beauty of it. You can just burn it to a CD and leave everything Windows on your computer untouched. Boot to it and use it as the ultimate and 100% fool proof anti virus alternative thats free and untouchable while surfing the internet.