Single anti-virus program affords ample protection

ASK Jim

Plugged In

June 22, 2006|By JIM COATES | JIM COATES,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

I have subscribed to Norton Internet Security for years, and I've been quite satisfied. Now my SBC Yahoo DSL service offers a free download of Internet security with anti-spyware, firewalls and anti-virus protection. But they say I must uninstall any other anti-virus programs before adopting theirs. I'm wondering if I'd be safe with the SBC version and save the cost of Norton. I'm sure a lot of other Yahoo customers are curious about this also.

- Jim Bergstrom, yahoo.com

If you had auto insurance from State Farm, would you go out and buy a policy from Allstate so that you would be covered by both? That says it all in this common and confusing situation in which computer users are blitzed by competing anti-virus and spyware solutions.

Buy a new PC and you often can find McAfee and Symantec's Norton anti-virus software installed and running at the same time. Microsoft soon hits you with an offer to sign up for its new One Care system. Meanwhile, America Online and your Internet provider, SBC Yahoo, offer the same services as part of their subscription deals.

You only need one, Mr. B.

Adding others is overkill, even though the companies all claim that their service is fastest to find threats and guard against stuff that others cannot. The fact is that virus and spyware watching has become a huge growth industry, and so as soon as any new threat surfaces, everybody is all over it quickly, and they all add it to their downloads of new protection tools. So you can expect that even if the anti-virus company you choose isn't the first to find a new threat, it will jump in with its own fix as soon as competitors mention it.

My machine was running slow, so I had a computer `expert' come in to clean it up. I have a Dell 2400 with XP Home. After he left, I found I couldn't download pictures from my digital camera and couldn't scan photos on my HP PSC 2350. Those issues have since been resolved.

My question is, when I go to get a paint-by-numbers tool at www. segmation.com/segplaychoose.asp, I get an error message, whereas before I was able to access. Why? I have Java J2SE runtime environment 5.0 update 6. The `expert' is baffled, which makes me really baffled.

- Dan Ormsby, Las Vegas

One way to fix this would be to just say "no" to Microsoft and download a different browser, like Mozilla Firefox at www.getfirefox.com, Mr. O.

This browser was designed from the first day to use Sun Microsystem's Java software for animation such as that "paint by numbers" site instead of competing routines like Microsoft's Active X.

The first step in fixing things should be to download the latest version of the Java Software for Browsers at www.sun.com. Select the downloads button there, select "See All" and then scroll down to "Java Software for your Browser" and give it a click.

Or you could try a hands-on fix. If you're interested, open Microsoft Internet Explorer and click on Tools and then Internet Options. Now open the item called Programs that offers a button to view all of the plug-ins, including Sun Java. Select Sun Java and then click on the radio button to select enable. If this is set wrong, your computer won't handle the Web site in question.jcoatestribune.com

Jim Coates writes for the Chicago Tribune. Contact him by mail at the Tribune, Room 400, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

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