So how safe is your computer from the ongoing security risks from the Internet? It all depends on your operating system first. If you have the latest Windows Vista then you are going to be in the best shape since there will only be a few 'patches' required to get your system up to what Microsoft would call "safe standard". As much as we read about VISTA being dinged again, you must also realize that these hackers are obviously going to go after the latest piece of candy offered up to them, meaning it is a new puzzle for them to try and bust in to. It would be nice if we could say that with all this hoopla over Vista security issues, that if we just went back to, say Windows 98, that it would be the safest route on the Internet, but that just isn't the case. In fact even with Windows XP, there are the service packs that are a necessity in order to even stay close to 'up to date'. The simple fact is, when it comes to being safe on the Internet, you are always going to be the safest using the latest technology available, so long as you stay on top of the available patches that fix the holes found in the armour. Although I blog about this latest patch issue with Windows Vista, I will not give Vista a bad rap because of it, other then the fact that the Microsoft people probably shouldn't be trying to sell the O/S as the 'safest' since that is like prodding on the hackers to continue to drag its name through the mud. That fact that I even blog about this is simply to reiterate the importance of keeping your system up to date. But if you read my previous blog about the Windows Critical updates, it may be a good idea to still follow that rule and choose the custom installation method.
To give you and example of installing an operating system on a brand new hard drive. Windows Vista will take about 20 minutes to complete the initial install with an additional 15 minutes of patching and driver updates. Of course this is based on a typical system today which would be 1.6 ghz processor or better. A windows XP installation will take about 35 minutes to install and then another 1 hour of patching and driver updates. Windows 98 or ME is just not safe enough, even with all the patching available, to use the Internet. Plain and simple! No matter what you do with these operating systems they are not going to be safe enough and that is pretty much why Microsoft themselves have stopped supporting such old operating systems. Depending on the components you already have on your system, running windows XP, you may find it cheaper in the end to buy a new computer if you are thinking of upgrading to Vista. This is because of the fact that even though Vista will run on 512mb of memory, it is advisable to at least double that to 1gb which means for some computer motherboards, spending a lot of money for memory if the memory it uses is not the latest DDR2 memory. You may find it cheaper to simply buy an entirely new motherboard that does use the latest DDR2 memory, but of course with that you will need a new Processor (CPU) and so that is where the prices start to climb even more, but still quite possibly less then if you were to continue upgrading your old computer. It still makes sense, if you want to stay on top of things, not necessarily BLEEDING EDGE, but Leading Edge, you will need to get yourself on to a Windows Vista machine sooner than later!
More tips and tricks and help can be found through my TIPS page and SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page or simply contact me if you have further questions.