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computer security tip
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Tech tips

Do this before installing any program on your computer

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When you buy a new computer, it comes packed with features and programs you might never use. You may also find third-party apps included in a deal with the manufacturer.

The same applies to software. Whether you’re installing an operating system, a productivity app or a game, there’s always a chance they’ll try to sneak in some things you don’t need. You can catch them in the act and prevent it before it happens.

Here’s the backstory

When installing software, you’ll sometimes find different installation options such as express install (sometimes called recommended) and custom install (also called advanced install and often labeled for advanced users).

This is how they get you. Since many people don’t consider themselves “advanced” users, they’ll go with the simple or recommended option. Makes sense. Just let the program do all the work.

The truth is that express installations often include unwanted software and sometimes malware. At the very least, they’ll take up more storage space.

Some programs even change your default settings, browser, homepage or search engine, so you’ll want to have the option to opt out of this. You won’t have these options in the express or default installation.

Finally, express installations can opt you into data collection, sync your contacts, or include some other invasion of privacy. While you may be able to change these settings later, it’s better to nip them in the bud during the installation phase.

Here’s what to do

Always go with the custom or advanced option. Aside from choosing a destination folder or drive, you may have the option to uncheck boxes for optional software and settings you don’t want or need.

Read everything carefully and tick off the boxes as needed. Don’t worry about messing anything up — the installer will include the necessary files to run the program no matter what you choose. It just won’t include the extras you left out.

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NOTE: For smaller, simpler apps, you may have the option to download a portable version. A portable app doesn’t use an installer. All the files required to run the app reside in a single folder, which you can put anywhere on your system.

Rather than installing a portable app, you typically download it as a ZIP file, extract it to a folder, and run the executable file for the app.

Keep reading

Security basics: How to install antivirus and scan your computer

Have an older iPhone? Install this update now to block hackers

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