The biggest challenge of Personal Computing is the shared ownership aspect of the home computer. Back in my days of being a student my computer hardly ever showed a fault. All that changes when you gamble and let the most infectious of computer viruses connect to your personal computer. No, Im not talking about some sort of strange self-replicating virus downloaded from the Internet the one thing most likely to infect your computer is setting up multiple users on your home computer. Of course the children need access for homework
its a perfectly logical and reasonable request and consequently you fall for it
suckered in to letting your personal computer become part of the family furniture.
At this point all sensible adults look at every possible way to lock the computer down. Anti-virus, parental monitoring software anything that leaves you with half a semblance of a feeling of being in control. The reality of course is that control has long since evaporated into the ether. The moment you set up those additional users in Windows XP it is a matter of days before your machine crashes down around you and you spend a long and tedious phone call to customer support asking for a second copy of the recovery disk to be sent through the post.
You see it doesnt matter how well meaning they are or how sensibly they take precautions, it will be hours before they readily accept any file sent through by a friend on MSN. Worse still the cries of Dad look at this e-mail. It said to open this Word file and Id win a million pounds !!!
So, not bitter. Not resenting in any way the hours spent of two or three weekends trying to get everything back from back-up, I reached the decision that my current anti-virus solution was inadequate and needed updating.
After a little discussion with colleagues and friends I was soon tapping my credit card number into the Etrust anti-virus website and receiving the code that unlocked my trial version into a full version of software.
The good news is that since that painless installation my computer has been major problem free. Sure, it has picked up viruses from the Internet and yes, I still blame the children. However now it is definitely safe. Etrust kicks in and within moments has moved the virus to quarantine. The updates come through regularly and seem to keep all real dangers at bay. One of the useful features of this InoculateIT software is the facility to check incoming files. With this option checked in the setup any file coming in from the Internet is automatically scanned and if necessary moved to safe quarantine before it ever has the chance to damage the system files. The setup option also allows you to specify how often and where the system scans for viruses. I have it set-up to run in the background once each day. The system cleverly waits for a period of inactivity and then begins scanning. The only way of knowing the scan has been done is to click the item in the system tray and check up on the notes from the last scan.
I feel that the price of this software ($49) was extremely reasonable and that the year of virus free computing has made the chore of sharing my personal computer with well meaning homework seeking children far more palatable. Of course they say they are doing homework but the evidence seems to indicate a youth lost to MSN and the joys of sharing virus infected files around the Internet. Now though it doesnt bother me that much it just means I have to clear the quarantine every once in a while and clear space for more of their million winning e-mails.