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Protecting your PC at Home

The three key steps in protecting your PC at home are:

  1. Applying new Windows Updates released by Microsoft
  2. Keeping up-to-date Anti-Virus Software on your PC
  3. Using an appropriate Home Firewall Product

If you do not take these measures then your home PC is potentially a serious risk to others.

ITsafe is a government initiative intended to provide home users with easy-to-understand advice on protecting home computers and phones from malicious attack. For more information visit the ITsafe website.

Windows Update: Windows Update is a facility to keep your Windows operating system up to date and help to protect your PC from viruses.  To use Windows Update, Check the Windows version of your PC (pdf file - 1 page).
If you have Windows 7 or Windows XP, use Automatic Updates to obtain the latest updates as they are released by Microsoft and have them installed at a pre-set time.  Download the guidance notes for Windows XP (pdf file - 4 pages) and follow the instructions carefully.
Check your service pack level in the same way as you check your Windows version (see above). 
For earlier versions of Windows, you must perform a manual update (pdf file - 5 pages).  Download the guidance notes for Manual Windows Update and follow the instructions carefully.
Note that you must have administrator (Admin) rights in order to set up Windows Update. You can check if you have these rights by:

  • In Windows XP, click Start -> Settings->Control Panel ->User Accounts. Your username will be listed as being a Computer admistrator or a Limited user.
  • In Windows 7, click the Start button->type User Accounts. Your username will be listed.

Protecting Home PCs with Anti-Virus Software
: Staff at Queen’s University are entitled to a copy of Symantec Anti-Virus (SAV) for home use.  SAV CDs are available from Computing Helpdesk in the McClay Library will be issued on request.  Installation is a simple process and full instructions are contained on the CD.  

(Please note that different versions of the SAV CD are available for home and office use – please ensure that you have the correct version).

If you are not entitled to a home copy of SAV then there are a number of free software packages available, such as Microsoft Security Essentials. Students working on home PCs (including those in Queen’s Elms) are advised to install one of these products.

Important Note: If you use a PC off campus and suspect that the PC has become infected then you should not under any circumstances transfer files between that PC and any University PCs until the virus has been removed.

Firewall for Home Use: Staff and students working from home (including students in Queen’s Elms) are advised to protect their PCs using an appropriate home firewall product.  These products allow users to determine which traffic to allow to reach their PCs and are usually quite easy to install and configure.
Information Services has evaluated a number of free of charge software packages and recommend Microsoft Security Essentials.

Note: You will require Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer to download pdf files.  This software can be downloaded from the Adobe website


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