Keeping your PC
safe from viruses
A: Let’s face it—it’s not always fun to be on the Internet
today. Computer viruses can really put a damper on Q: I’ve taken a bunch of photos with my new
surfing through cyberspace and reading e-mail. digital camera. How do I get them out of the
Three lines of defense can help you protect camera? Marc Saltzman, a lead-
against deadly viruses that could infect and damage ing high-tech reporter,
your PC. Of course, nothing is foolproof, but these A: You have a few choices on how to get those pho- contributes to more than
three are “must-have” software solutions in this day tos off the camera and onto your computer—or three dozen prominent
and age. Take these steps right after assembling your onto good old-fashioned paper! publications, appears on
new computer and before opening an e-mail. In the box of most new digital cameras is a USB radio and TV, and is the
First, you absolutely must have an antivirus soft- (universal serial bus) cord that connects your cam- author of
ware package on your PC, such as the market-lead- era to your computer. Before you do this, however,
ing Norton Anti Virus from Symantec or you must first install your camera software, which is
VirusScan from McAfee (about $40 apiece). After on a CD.
you install (or activate) this program, it is critical to After connecting the camera to your computer,
download new “virus definitions” every couple of a program should launch that prompts you to trans-weeks or so, which means you’ll be protected from fer the photos off the camera’s memory card and
the latest threats. You’ll see where to click within the onto the PC’s hard drive. Once the photos are
program to initiate the download, but most pro- copied over, you may want to edit them, fixing red-grams today will do this automatically for you. eye, cropping or lightening dark images. Third-
Q: How do I make sure right away that my your e-mail from people you don’t know, and be
new computer doesn’t get viruses? cautious about submitting your personal information on any site.
Questions about electronics
or computers you purchased
at Costco? Send them to:
The Costco Connection
P.O. Box 34088
Seattle, WA 98124-1088
Or fax to (425) 313-6718,
or e-mail to
in the subject line.
Marc will answer
selected questions in this
column. We regret that
cannot be answered
After a year, you likely won’t be able to down- party programs, such as Microsoft Digital Image
load new updates, so you can buy the latest version Suite or Adobe PhotoShop Elements, should also
of the software at retail or pay (usually a smaller recognize your camera when connected.
amount) to download a software update from the Some cameras contain a “PictBridge” feature,
company’s Web site. which means you can connect the camera to a
Second, arm yourself with a firewall program. PictBridge-compatible printer via the USB cord in
This is another layer of protection that helps keep the box—and avoid a computer altogether.
out unwanted viruses and anyone or anything try- Some cameras also come with a docking station
ing to meddle with your PC. Firewalls can be pur- that connects to your PC’s USB port; simply plop the
chased at retail, or you can activate the free one camera on top and it will transfer the photos over.
included with Windows XP. Another preferred way to get photos off your
You can also find a firewall bundled with camera is to take out the memory card (don’t worry,
antivirus software in “Internet security” suites. you won’t damage the pictures inside) and pop it
These software packages include anti-spyware tools, into an available memory-card slot on your com-
which are very important today. Hidden spyware puter or your printer. Not all PCs and printers have
programs on your PC—downloaded without your these, but it is becoming a popular trend. You will
consent—spy on your Internet surfing behavior, see which slot fits your camera’s memory card.
may cause many pop-up ads and will likely slow Once the photos are on your computer, you
down the performance of your computer. can then view, copy or print them. If you insert the
Third, because many viruses can exploit vulner- memory card into your printer, you may be able to
abilities in the Windows operating system, be sure to view the photos on a small LCD screen before
set up your computer to automatically download printing them.
and update security fixes and other software Costco offers two more options. One is to bring The Costco
“patches” whenever they’re available. You can do this the memory card to the photo kiosks in the 1-Hour by clicking the “Start” button, then “All Programs,” Photo Center in most warehouses for review and Connection
then “Windows Update”; on the right-hand side of printing. The other is to upload your photos to the Costco offers antivirus and
this Web site you will see the option to turn on auto- online Costco Photo Center, then have the photos firewall software from
matic updates. printed at your nearest warehouse 1-Hour Photo Norton and McAfee in the
Once you’re up and running, be sure to follow Center. For details on the online service, go to warehouses and online at
the standard precautions: Be wary of attachments in costco.com, then select “Photo Center.” C