Questions about rootkits, spyware and more

After a few weeks of product reviews, the mail is piling up.

After a few weeks of product reviews, the mail is piling up.

Let’s get right to it and answer some questions.

Q. Your column last week mentioned AVG’s Anti-Rootkit, but the company’s website said it is not a separate product anymore. Where can I get it?

A. The company would like you to get it as part of a regular product, but you can still download it separately.

You can locate it through Google. You also can try “Rootkit Revealer,” which also is highly regarded.

The goal is to install and run a rootkit product.

Q. If I download Microsoft Security Essentials, can I uninstall all of my other anti-virus and spyware products?

A. No. You can uninstall any other anti-virus products and Windows Defender, if you have that installed. I would leave any other anti-spyware products that you run periodically because when it comes to a Windows PC, the more the merrier.

Q. Do all memory (RAM) pieces have to match?

A. It is not required for current PCs, but it is far better if you install RAM modules in matched pairs when you have a current processor.

The memory need not be from the same manufacturer but should be the same speed and size. If your motherboard has four slots, try to get two pairs of the same speed and size, in other words.

Q. Every few days, sometimes more often than that, my home wireless network loses its connections and my laptop can’t connect anymore.

It only comes back if I reset the router or the cable modem or sometimes both.

I am really getting tired of doing this every few days or even more frequently. What can you suggest?

A. Well, without laying my own hands on it, my suggestion is either a new cable modem or a new router.

I would first start with the router, since it is cheaper to replace and you also own it. (There’s a chance your cable modem may be owned by your cable provider, though that may not be true.) It may be possible to borrow one or try one from a store with a good return policy in case it is the cable modem after all.

But my hunch is that your router may have given up the ghost or is suffering a periodic power failure or reset. You also could try a firmware upgrade for the router.

Q. With all of the news stories about the problems with Internet Explorer, are you also suggesting we get rid of it from my home computer?

A. Well, you can’t really uninstall it from Windows. You can quit using it, but there are some websites that simply won’t work without it, so it is handy to keep around.

I am still using Firefox for my daily browser, but I confess I am using Google’s Chrome browser more and more each day. I find them both faster than IE and full of interesting features. However, I also find IE version 8 quite good on a fast computer. So I would try all three.

James Derk is owner of CyberDads, a computer-repair firm and a tech columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. His email address is jim@cyberdads.com

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