My computer crashed recently and was not able to boot. So i tried everything but nothing made my computer to boot. However i re-installed the win07 OEM from the dvd that was given with my laptop. But i lost all my data and software. It was an annoying experience. So i would like to know from you all how you protect your computer to avoid such crashes. What antivirus program or firewall do u all use which one is better. I would prefer a free antivirus because i do not surf heavily. Can anyone give idea about free antivirus program or any system maintenance tool for windows07. Any information would be helpful because i don't have much knowledge. It would also be helpful if anyone would provide me with the information how to recover from such a situation without loosing data.
I'm not recommending a Free Antivirus, because it's protection isn't very good.
If you DO prefere to go free, then take something like Security Essentials from Microsoft and use it with Malwarebytes. Malwarebytes is a free scanner that has so far never let me down in my job (I'm doing computer repairs for a living)
Backing-up your system is also a wise thing to do from time to time. I never do a full back-up of my OS, but I backup my documents, images, music and e-mails.
Windows 7 has a fairly good backup-system integrated in where you can select what you want to backup. If you choose for your libraries, you pretty much have all your documents, images, favourites, etc....
An external harddrive is always handy. On there, you can keep your backups, just in case.
Because pre-installed laptops and computers come without software-dvd's, it's best to make a restore-cd. You can do this from the menu 'maintenance'. The restore-cd helps you to repair errors when Windows isn't booting anymore like it should. Those restore-cd's don't always help, but usually they do. If it doesn't work, then you will have to use the Recovery-DVD's that you created or that came with the computer.
The difference between Recovery and Restore, is that a recovery has an exact copy (image) of your operating system pre-installed on your computer.
A restore cd contains drivers and systemfiles to restore your computer when malfunctioning.
In case you don't have a restore-cd and can't boot, take our your harddrive, and buy a Harddrive-cabinet (harddrive Enclosure). This are like empty boxes where you put your harddrive in, and they allow you to use the harddrive external as USB/SATA/Firewire/E-SATA. (or usually just USB)
Preventing viruses just depends on your surfing habits.
A lot of 'free' software comes with toolbars for example. A toolbar is a add-on that runs with your browser. Some of them are pretty harmfull. Therefor it's a good thing that you don't allow them to install.
To come back on Malwarebytes, check out this program. It's free (just deny installing it as a trial when asked) and use it every week.
Make sure that you always do a upgrade before you make a scan. There are about 4 to 5 new defenitions every day. http://www.malwarebytes.org/products/malwarebytes_free
In my opinion, Malwarebytes is still the strongest virusscanner I ever came across.
I compared it to Norton, Mcafee, Viper, Panda, AVG, Avast, Avira, etc...
The only program approaching it is Kaspersky, but it's not free.