Keep work, personal finance, and other critical tasks on a separate computer from the one used to play games or download programs.

It has been said that a computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila. Computers also make mistakes on their own, whether they're glitches, conflicts, bugs, crashes, or failures.

Avoiding glitches is considerably less frustrating than trying to fix them. Here are the most frequently mentioned preventative maintenance tips anybody can handle:

Use Security Software

Use security software. Keep the software updated regularly by turning on automatic updates. Security software typically bundles together an anti-virus program, firewall program and anti-spyware program, and it may include other tools as well.

Some ISPs such as Comcast provide free security software from well-regarded companies such as McAfee. Make sure you enable the tools (not everybody does this). You can also buy such software if it's not provided to you. The free programs that come with Microsoft Windows, and the free programs that are available over the Internet, provide more or less basic protection. But in general they're less effective and more difficult to update than the bundled packages.

Update Windows Regularly


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Reid Goldsborough  |  Contributing Writer
Reid Goldsborough is a syndicated columnist and author of Straight Talk About the Information Superhighway. He can be reached at reidgold@comcast.net or www.reidgoldsborough.com.