Still using Free Antivirus?

Loads of us use the free offerings from AVG, Avast and Panda and we put up with the nag screens that keep offering premium features for a discount or trial period.

What I find some people don’t realise or simply forget is that they could get a full internet security suite from one of two places. Many banks offer free Internet Security Software with on line banking and many Internet Service Providers also offer free Internet Security software with your subscription. If you are running free software then you should check with your ISP or bank and see what’s on offer with your current level of service.

Current as of 26/05/2016

Talktalk have a product called HomeSafe that you set up on line via your account and also a downloadable product called SuperSafe Boost (provided by F-Secure) that you can install on your computer for added protection. Check out your level of service as some subscribers can protect up to 8 devices with SuperSafe Boost.

BT provide McAfee Internet Security in the form of BT Net Protect Plus. Also BT Protect that you can activate from your account on line (nothing to install) and they also offer parental controls. Information of what you have will be available to you once you log into your BT account.

EE offer Norton Security Premium for up to 10 devices.

Any of these security packages can be complimented with the free Trusteer Rapport

Laptop buying guide

Laptop Buying Guide : Not from the point of view of gaming : May 2016

Download the pdf version here

There is so much to choose from when you find yourself looking to either buy your first laptop or simply replace what is worn out or broken. You can purchase a top of the range laptop such as a MacBook Pro or a top end Lenovo, Dell, Asus, HP or any of the many well known quality brands that sell top of the range models. These usually come complete with backlit keyboards and solid state or hybrid hard drives and the best in class Intel processors and, they will do just about everything you demand of them. All of these features come at a cost, upwards to £1000 and beyond but also, in some cases with the benefit of next day on-site business warranty options. Getting your hands on one is not always easy as they are not always in plentiful stock and often made to order by the manufacturer and then shipped to the UK from wherever in the world their factory is – you might wait a week or two.

Before I go on about the various options I will mention some very simple guidelines;

  • Always buy the best you can afford
  • For good productivity work a laptop with an Intel i5 or i7 processor is best £450+
  • As far as memory is concerned 8gb or more is good (See section on memory upgrades)
  • If you are on a tight budget consider the refurbished market. Refurb Dell Latitude, Lenovo Thinkpads or HP Elitebooks  with Windows 7 Pro go for under £300

Ok here we go (Prices are approximate)

Bargain basement – up to £250 – Great for web browsing, Facebook, web based games, writing, email, watching films and listening to music.

There are plenty of netbooks on the market offering 11.6” to 15.6” screens with Windows 10. They also come with a 32gb of solid state drive (ssd) and generally 2gb of memory and an Intel Atom processor. Be aware that at least 60% of the 32gb drive will be used by the operating system leaving very little to the user for storing files although a micro sd card or an external hard drive can be used for this purpose. And due to the very nature of these small machines it’s not a good idea to install loads of programs as it will slow down considerably, after all a netbook is a book for the net.

Intel Celeron / AMD A8 laptops / 4Gb memory / 1 or 2Tb hard drives (Typical specs)

There is nothing wrong with these computers at all. They will power through most everyday tasks quite well and have plenty of storage for your files, updates and programs.It is highly recommended to have a memory upgrade at the same time as often these machines share the memory between the graphics card and the operating system. Check out how much memory the laptop can take before you purchase as it’s often very cost effective to upgrade it giving your new laptop the best possible start.

Intel i3 / i5 / i7 / 8Gb memory / standard or hybrid or solid state drive

These machines are the real work horses. The i3 being for basic stuff not too different from an AMD A8 but the i5 and i7 will get the hard work done if you are working with demanding video and photo tasks. Still consider a memory upgrade as well.

Memory upgrades : Fitting is generally very easy

Whatever computer you are looking to purchase always take a look at a memory upgrade at the same time. If you are buying from the manufacturer directly then they often offer an upgrade straight away. You can hop along to www.crucial.com/uk , search for the laptop and you will get precise information on upgrades for that model. If it’s not listed then sending Crucial a message is a good idea as they reply with exact upgrade info.

This is a general guide from Michaela Watkins – www.mwatkins.net