One thing I forgot to mention concerns Windows Vista: it might not be the best idea to upgrade as soon as it comes out. Vista is coming out sometime in January, I believe it has been shipped to the manufacturers already (at least, by the time you read this it probably has). You may have gotten a free Vista upgrade offer with your laptop; keep it, but like I said don't upgrade as soon as you get it.
The simple reason for this is that many hackers are most likely keeping bugs and exploits to themselves. The beta has been around for a while, so they have had plenty of time to inspect Vista, and I would be willing to bet they did not report all of the bugs they found to Microsoft. As soon as it's released, many unsuspecting people will upgrade and they will unleash their viruses and spyware - at least, I'm making this prediction. I hope I'm wrong, but it's unlikely.
Anyway, Vista does
have good security; I'm not saying it doesn't. After Vista is released to the public and the bugs are unleashed, found, and squashed, then you should upgrade to Vista. It is certainly a superior operating system, especially in its security features, but I feel that it will have a rough time in the beginning.
I just wanted to go ahead and mention Vista, because there is much confusion as to exactly what to do, and now that manufacturers are giving out free Vista upgrades (or cheap ones), it is the time that consumers are getting ready to upgrade. It's a shame that many unsuspecting people will probably be hit by the exploits (again, just my prediction, I could be wrong!) but we shall wait out the storm. I will be right alongside of you, using XP for a few months after Vista is released until I feel it is safe.
I also listen to a couple podcasts, and I highly recommend them if you are into technology and have a few hours each week to listen to them. There is Security Now (http://www.grc.com/securitynow/
), hosted by Leo Laporte and featuring Steve Gibson. Steve is the person who coined the term 'spyware', and Leo Laporte does many podcasts (I think something like 14 now), and a radio show in California. His radio show is The Tech Guy on KFI (http://www.twit.tv/KFI
), and it is also in podcast form, so it's the other one that I recommend. These are my two favorite podcasts, and I have listened to every single Security Now episode (proudly
). You can jump right into his KFI show at any point - download a couple of the most recent, listen to them to go ahead and get a feel for them, and then grab them when they are published on Saturday and Sunday. Security Now is every Thursday, and I actually recommend starting from episode 1 and working your way up - they are VERY educational in security and technology issues that are present today, tomorrow, and forever, and I think they are just fun to listen to. Also, some of the more recent Security Nows have referenced topics that they covered in past episodes, so you will be less informed if you skip them. These podcasts have been SOOOO informative, I'm hooked and now I keep up with about 5 podcasts, but these are the two worth mentioning.
Anyway, there you go. Yet again I made a HUGE post, rambling on and on, but I hope you read it all and at least consider the things I suggest. I have been getting positive feedback on that first reply - keep it coming. Anyone else who thinks of something I didn't cover, go ahead and say it, don't be shy! I would love suggestions - while I would like to think I know everything about Windows, I know it's not true, and I am just getting into the notebook world - I bought this E1705, my first laptop, just two months ago!