Tips 156-157: Beat Malware

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156.

Beat Malware

Viruses and other malware can be a huge problem for Windows PCs. At the least, they hog processing power and slow down performance. At worst, they can lock up a machine to the point that everything--even the operating system--has to be reinstalled. At both extremes, productivity takes a hit.

The obvious solution is to install anti-malware software, such as the products available from McAfee and Symantec. But prevention doesn't come cheap--it'll cost you $30 to $90 per PC per year. For the smallest of small businesses, one relatively new alternative is Microsoft Security Essentials, which is free. Technically, it's available only for home use, but if you're like many entrepreneurs, you're starting out basically as a consumer, so it's worth considering as a way to balance security and your budget during that crucial first year.

151.

Pick the Right Portable PC

If you or your employees spend much of the workday out of the office, there's a bewildering array of PC choices, from netbooks to the iPad to laptops. Each choice has its own set of productivity considerations.

For example, netbooks are inexpensive because they typically have less processing power and memory than laptops, particularly business-class models. As a result, netbooks can undermine productivity if their performance is sluggish or they frequently crash.

A laptop might be a better choice if high performance is a key consideration, but the trade-offs can include price and weight. An iPad, meanwhile, can get you through airport security faster because it doesn't have to be unpacked, and its roughly 10 hours of battery life let you stay productive even on long flights. One downside for some users is the lack of a physical keyboard, which can slow down typing.

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