I've got McAfee antiVirus courtesy of Comcast internet....what do you think...?? It's constantly updating and it's alerted me and removed several Trojan attempts...plus it's free...is it worth it?
Yes, if it's removing Trojan's it's worth it. I would recommend anti-virus to anyone who's not sure whether or not they need an anti-virus!
The reason I don't use one is because 1) I am careful -- a big part of Internet security for me is about common sense and knowing what not to click on, and 2) I can wipe out my current operating system installation, reinstall XP and be back to normal within an hour, should I ever get an infection. This includes reinstalling all my programs and making all the tweaks and changes I need. I write my own batch files to perform literally hundreds of tweaks in a single click.
Here' my method:
My main hard drive is 500GB, but there is no need wipe out the entire 500GB every time I want to install XP. The length of time it takes to format a 500GB drive, plus the length of time it would take to back up important data... it starts to get a little bit ridiculous. The way around it is to partition the drive.
My 500GB is split up into 3 parts. The first partition is 7GB. This is more than enough for XP and all the software I need to use. The rest of the drive is split into 2 more partitions: one partition is 128GB which I use for games, and the other partition is used to store my music and video files. On an older drive (160GB split into 3) I store all my important documents, photo's, etc.
When it comes to reinstalling XP, I only need to wipe out and format the first (7GB) partition. The rest of the drive is untouched and the data (games & music) is stored permanently. No need to back anything up because it can be drag/dropped to another partition. Windows sees each partition as a separate hard drive.
I have 2 physical hard drives. With each drive split intio 3 partitions, Windows sees them as 6 drives.
Also, instead of using a stock XP install (IE: bloated with software I don't need), I use a program called nLite. What I do is copy the contents of my Windows CD to the hard drive and put it in a folder. Run nLite and point it towards the XP folder. nLite allows me to do many things including integrate service packs, remove almost any component (for example, if you don't use Windows Media Player you can remove it so it never even gets installed), make many tweaks, configure services, and so on.
When I've done all that, I let nLite create a bootable ISO (an image file). This is then burnt to a CD using a program called ImgBurn (a great free CD/DVD burner). During the nLite building process, I filled in all my details such as username, password, system language, Windows CD key, and any other details I need, therefore XP can be installed without having to do any of this (it's called a fully unattended installation).
When all is done, I end up with an XP disc which is around 140MB. Compare this to a standard XP with service pack 2 -- it's something like 576MB. Since I removed a ton of stuff I never use, my installation disc is tiny. Now, because of the 7GB partition, you can probably imagine how much faster the installation process is. I can install XP in 4 minutes flat. Had I used a standard Windows installation disc and had to wipe a 500GB drive, it would take hours and I'd also end up tweaking and removing a ton of stuff anyway... what a drag!
RyanVM is a guy who makes Windows Update Packs -- they include all the latest Windows updates all rolled into one. This can be integrated while building the nLite'd XP disc, so there's no need to use Windows Update website at all.
Of course, you have to own your operating system on CD, but let me tell you it's well worth doing this stuff. If you want a truly slimmed down XP it can take some time to learn about what to remove and what to leave alone, but nLite is super easy to use anyway. If you're unsure about removing a component it won't hurt to leave it alone.