The only safe way to surf the web if you are using Windows
Even if you have the very best anti-virus / anti-spyware software (Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky, etc) installed on your computer, you are still apt to get a virus somehow, someway, and it's just a matter of time that this will happen. Even if you buy Windows Utility programs (such as Fix-It Utilties), which advertise to prevent you from getting viruses, malware, spyware, etc., and claim to be able to get rid of these that are on your computer, and also fix your Windows Registry --- sometimes they are unable to do what they claim in their advertising. They simply are unable to get rid of some viruses (particularly Trojans). The only way to get rid of some very nasty Trojan viruses is to edit the Windows Registry manually, and get rid of what the Trojan inserted into the Registry. This is extremely dangerous for anyone to do. If you tried, and did it wrong, you could disable Windows so that your computer won't boot up at all.
In addition to anti-virus software, you shoulddownload McAfee SiteAdvisor (it is free), if you insist on surfing the web using your Windows computer. Once installed, if you do a Google search for a topic, the SiteAdvisor will give a green check mark, or a red X, indicating which websites are safe, and which ones have viruses and spyware on them.
Believe it or not, there is a way to safely surf the web with NO chance of getting a virus or spyware. You can go anywhere on the web, and not run the risk of getting infected. If you want, you can save your downloads to external devices (flash drives, external hard drive). Your hard drive is not touched at all. When you power off, it's as if you had not even touched your hard drive or your computer at all. And it is free.
What I advise is to boot up your system using a Linux "Live CD" which you can create on your own. The purpose of a Live CD is to let you try it out (in this case, Linux). You might then have an option to install it permanently on your computer if you want to.
To see lots of Linux "Live CDs" available, click here.
I like exploring some of the smaller downloads, such as Damn Fast Linux, Feather, Kaboot, Luit, Slax, and others --- and in particularly, the Puppy. Their appeal is that they quickly get you up and going into an operationg system (Linux) that you can do word processing, surf the net, manage files, music, pictures, etc, in a very similar way that Windows does.
Click here to go to the home page of PuppyLinux.com
Just for fun, take a look at these web pages from the above website:
Click here to see the Puppy. He's so cute!
Screen Desktop of two puppies with rainbow.
Little boy and his hound dog saying their bedtime prayers.
Notice under the picture it says, "The operating system you have been praying for - No malware, no viruses, no trojans."
... And don't forget Jewel and Callie!
Take a few minutes to explore this website, then return here for a step-by-step explanation on how to install The Puppy...
How to Install and Run Puppy Linux
(Step 1) You need to download the following file (save the file to disk):
by clicking here. It is 98.7 MB long. That is TINY considering it is a full computer operating system comparable to Windows. Dial-Up users: Don't try; instead, download it using a high-speed connection using another computer and save the file to CD or flash drive.
(Step 2) You now have the file --- an .ISO file. You need to "burn the image" of this file to CD. This is differerent from merely burning the file itself -- doing a "copy CD". Don't just burn the .ISO file to CD. This will do nothing. You need to instead use the "Burn Image" function of special software. (Note: if your computer does not have this software, then transport the above file you downloaded (the .ISO file) to a computer that does; either do so by simply burning the .ISO file as is, or use a flash drive.)
I am using Roxio Creator Basic Version 9, which came with my Windows Vista computer. It has a special "Burn Image" function. Here's how I did it: I opened up Roxio. I put in a blank CD into the CD writer. I clicked on "Burn Image". I browsed to the above file puppy-3.01-seamonkey.iso. I clicked on it, then clicked on the orange "Click Button to Continue" at the bottom right of the screen. In just a few minutes, the burning process was complete. There's other burning software that can do the same thing as Roxio. Just make sure you use the "Burn Image" function, instead of just copying the .ISO file to the CD. Why? because the "Burn Image" function creates a bootable CD --- a "Live CD" --- with all the files in the exact sector locations on the CD so that it will auto-boot.
For lots more info about burning CD Images,click here.
(Step 3) Make sure your computer boots first from the CD. Simply insert the CD into your computer, and power off, or do a "restart". If Puppy Linux starts up, go on to to Step 4. If it doesn't, and if you burned the CD image correctly, it's probably due to your computer not booting first from CD. This is accomplished in BIOS. When the computer first starts, look quickly at which keys to click to get into your Set-up (your BIOS). It could be F1, F2, F10, depending on your brand of computer. Once in the BIOS set-up, navigate (using the arrow or tab keys) to where it lists your hard drive and CD drive. Set the CD drive as first, then your hard drive as second. Save your settings --- possibly, this is F10, and exit. Have your Puppy Linux CD in the drive, then power off. Power back on and see if it boots up into Puppy Linux.
(Step 4) The Boot Up Process -- the "hoops" you jump through --- they're not that hard.
Here's what I experienced as the CD was booting up, what I did, and what you should do as the CD is booting up in Puppy Linux:
When asked which type of keyboard, choose "US" keyboard (qwerty)
When given a choice, choose "Xorg" (and something else) choose "Xorg". (Don't ask me what Xorg is: I think it's something from outer space.)
Keep monitor settings at 1024 x 768 x 16 -- just click on the line highlighted.
(Step 5) Running Puppy Linux
You should now be up and running in Puppy Linux.
I have DSL. When I clicked on "Browse" to browse the internet, it gave a message that it could not find the website, and that there was no internet connection.
Here's what I did to make a quick DSL (or cable) internet connection:
Click "Connect" (on main screen, the Desktop)
Click "connect to internet interface"
Click "Auto DHCP"
When asked, "Do you want to Save configuration?", click Yes
Then click "Done"
If you're still having trouble getting on line,download the Puppy Linux manual from another computer, or view it on line, and see section 5 "How to set up an Internet Connection".
(Step 5) Be patient.
The above "hoops" you have to jump through are a small price to pay for having a full operating system that is free, one that you will never have to worry about viruses or malware or trojans or spyware or any of those things. At least the above instructions should give you a step-by-step list of what to do.
Store stuff on your flash drive
When you are running Puppy Linux, you might as well have your hard drive unplugged, because you arenít using it. In fact, you can safely surf the net anywhere without any danger at all whatsoever of accidently getting a virus, malware, worms, or other malicious software. But if you want to store anything Ė stuff youíve download from the internet, manuscripts you write using the word processor that comes with Puppy Linux, spreadsheets, artwork, etc Ė you will need to store it on a peripheral device, such as a USB drive or camera card.
First, you have to "mount" the peripheral device. To do this, click the drawing of a flash drive, which has the word "drives". You will see anything that the Puppy "sees" but is may or may not be allowed to play with or touch. Click on any of these devices, whether it be your hard drive (which is something like /dev/sda1) or a peripheral device such as a flash drive (which youíll see as /dev/sdb1, or /dev/sdb2, etc). When you do this, the letters "/mnt/" will be added to the front of these descriptions.
So, by default, Linux will not touch your hard drive at all --- unless you "mount" your hard drive as explained above. You can then store stuff to your hard drive, but YOU have this option.
Boot Puppy Linux from a flash drive
You can boot Puppy Linux from a flash drive or a camera card. To do this:
Have Puppy Linux running on your computer.
Mount your CD-rom --- no, donít get on top of it and ride it like a horse --- but "mount" it as explained in the above section so that Puppy Linux can access it.
Plug a flash drive into a USB port, or plug in a camera card into a port, and then "mount" it so that the Puppy can access it.
Make sure that this device (the flash drive or camera camera) card is either empty or you donít care if it is automatically erased. If you have any data on it, it will be wiped clean.
Click "Menu", which is a the bottom left corner of your screen.
Click "Setup", and then click "Puppy Universal Installer" and basically follow the instructions from there.
Donít worry about too much in the installation process. Youíll see an option of creating a "Superfloppy" or not. Iíve experimented with both options, and have installed Puppy Linux using the top option, and then another time using the bottom option (the Superfloppy option), and it didnít matter.
Just follow the directions, and remember that you canít destroy the flash drive, so just dive in and follow the directions, and donít be afraid. If you make a mistake, just start over again.
To use Linux or Windows?
Someone told me recently, "Oh, I don't to have to do all that. I just want to turn the computer on, and just click on the Internet, like I do in Windows." My response is, "Ok, you're apt to get a computer virus. Using Microsoft Windows to surf the Internet is like driving a car without your driver's license and no car insurance. You wouldn't do that. And you shouldn't surf the net with Microsoft Windows." If you really want a Linux operating system that is like Windows in that you turn the computer on and you don't have to answer any geeky questions, then go for Ubuntu...
There's only one other really good Live CD for Linux out there that I recommend: it is Ubuntu. It is a FULL computer operating system. You can run it as a Live CD (as you do with Puppy Linux), and if you want to you can install it. It is almost 700 MB, so it fits on a CD. The disadvantage is that it takes a little longer to boot. The advantage is that it pops up right away in the Ubuntu desktop, and you don't have to jump through any "hoops" to get it up and going. I feel Ubuntu is the wave of the future. I have installed on one of my computers at home. It is great!
Click here to download Ubuntu.
More Information about Puppy Linux
Download the manual for Puppy Linux (or view it on line).
Doug's Website Home Page