Computer Security & Viruses/files storage


"Hello! The expert can't answer your question.

Your Question was:

I got laptop. I clean it out by installing window 8.1.  But I serve the internet through  I think I may have come across a virus or whatever.

I have extremely important files that I need to keep. I decide to put in another account call local account.  But I need to make sure that account is viruses, spam, malware, etc. is clean out. How do I do that?

Following is the reason:

Please give me better information.

What do you mean by "serve the Internet through"?

Are you trying to say that is a website you reach or access through the Internet from your computer?

You can't avoid a virus by setting up another account on the same computer that has the virus. You must get rid of the virus from the computer. To protect your computer, you need to install an Internet security program. Download either Kapersky Internet Security, which offers a free 30 day trial at, or F-Secure's Complete Internet security suite, which offers a free thirty day trial:

Are you asking me how to back up your files to something you ca keep outside of your computer, for example how to copy files from your computer to a removable disk or a thumb drive? If you don't ever want to lose your files, you need to make copies on something that can be removed from your computer.

To avoid spam, you need to get an email provider that filters out spam, or install an email program on your computer that has a spam filter feature. Gmail is good at blocking spam.

Expert: Carolyn Meinel"

I have significant files to be store.  I store at storage site, but I need to keep one in my laptop.  How do I go about cleaning my laptop? I used McAfee to avoid spam, viruses, malware, etc.  I just want to clean out my laptop to store the files. Because I surf the net, there can viruses we come across.  I do not need to buy a new laptop right.

If your laptop uses Windows XP or earlier versions, you will not be able to get updates. McAfee will try to compensate but may not be able to cope with this lack of support by Microsoft. In that case you will be safer if you get a new laptop that has the power to run Windows 8. Older laptops probably won't be able to run the more recent versions of Windows.

If you keep your current laptop, first, restore it to the factory settings. How to do this depends upon the kind of laptop you own. There should be documentation with it to tell you how. You might have some disks that came with the laptop that would do this, or there might be a hidden partition on the hard drive that will do a factory settings re-install. Be sure to back up yur data before you do this, as everything on your computer will be erased.

Next, don't go online until you have first installed McAfee. If you only have a version that you have to download, this is not safe because your computer could easily get infected while downloading it. If you had saved a copy of McAfee on your laptop, the installation file might have been compromised by a virus.

To be totally safe, you could buy a version of McAfee Total Protection that comes on a disk in a box. You can find this in office supply or computer supply stores. If you need to buy online, do this BEFORE setting your laptop back to factory settings.

Once you have restored factory settings and installed McAfee Total Protection, then go online and immediately have McAfee download and install all updates.

Reboot and look again for any McAfee updates.

Next, depending on your operating system, you need to get all Windows updates. If your laptop is old, this could take a long time. If you can afford to use the services of a computer repair shop, look for one that has all the Windows updates on disk. That way you could get all updates done while you wait.

Then you can load your data and reinstall your applications, with McAfee checking everything as you do this.

Finally, to keep anyone including the NSA or FBI from snooping into your file that you want to keep secret-- well, this might not be possible because how good they are is a well-kept secret. That said, the advice here will give you the best chance at keeping your file secret:

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Carolyn Meinel


I cover Windows, Linux, TCP/IP and Ethernet security questions. I do not cover Mac, smart phones, or other networking issues.


Books by Carolyn Meinel: wrote a chapter for The Hacking of America book (see My article Code Red for the Web for Scientific American was reprinted in the book Best American Science Writing 2002 (see My book The Happy Hacker: A Guide to Mostly Harmless Hacking is now in 4th edition with a Japanese edition (see


See a list with some online links at

MS, Industrial Engineering, The University of Arizona Took a course in computer forensics at the University of Texas at Austin/

Past/Present Clients
DARPA, SAIC, Palmer Labs

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