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MCS for Windows XP

The following instructions are steps you must take now to ensure that your computer will be safe from viruses and other malware.

If you have arrived with an infected computer, or if it becomes infected while you’re here, you may lose access to the Internet until you clean it up. This may require you to re-format your hard drive and re-install your operating system and all your applications from scratch. It’s up to you to take the necessary precautions to secure your computer.

Before Connecting to the Network

Step 1: Turn on Built-in Firewall

CUIT recommends that you use these firewalls to help protect your computer from viruses and worms.

  1. Click on the Start button (most often in the bottom left corner of your screen), and then choose Control Panel. If you do not see the Control Panel listed, choose Settings instead, and then choose Control Panel from that submenu.
  2. If a screen comes up that says "Pick a category," please click Switch to Classic View on the left side of the screen. Otherwise, please go to step 3.
  3. Double click on Network Connections. This should bring up a list of your available network connections.
  4. Right click on the Local Area Connection. This should bring up a small menu. Left click on Properties. This will bring up the Local Area Connection Properties window. Note: You may instead have a connection called Local Area Connection 2 (or any other number). Right click on that connection instead, and choose Properties from the menu to continue.
  5. Click on the Advanced tab at the top of the window.
  6. Click on the Settings... button in the Windows Firewall section. (If you do not see that button, you may see a box labeled "Protect my computer and network by limiting or preventing access to this computer from the Internet." Check that box, and then click OK. Skip to Step 8.)
  7. In the Windows Firewall window, choose On and then click OK. Then, click OK in the Local Area Connection Properties window as well.
  8. Now, it is necessary to repeat this for all other connections labeled as Local Area Connection or Wireless Network Connection. Right click on the connection and then left click on Properties from the menu. Then, repeat steps 5-7 for that connection. Make sure to keep repeating this until all connections labeled as Local Area Connection or Wireless Network Connection have been modified.

Step 2: Turn On Automatic Software Updates

The following instructions will explain how to turn on automatic software updates. This will make it easier to keep up with critical updates that are released to protect your machine from dangerous viruses and other malicious programs.

Every time your computer finds new updates, you will see a notification message on your screen that new updates are ready to be installed. Do not ignore this software update message! Just say yes and allow the installation to proceed. After the installation is complete, you will usually be prompted to close down and restart your computer.

  1. First find the My Computer icon. It will be either on the desktop or in the Start menu (reached by clicking on the Start button, most often found at the bottom left of your screen).).
  2. Click with the right-hand mouse button on the My Computer icon and then click with the left-hand mouse button on Properties. This should bring up a window called System Properties.
  3. In the System Properties window click on the tab labeled Automatic Updates, located near the top of the window.
  4. Choose Automatic (recommended) and then choose a time that is convenient for you. We recommend that it be done Every day at a time when the computer is sure to be on. (If you do not see the option listed above, try this: Click to place a check mark in the box labeled Keep my computer up to date. Then in the Settings section, choose Download the updates automatically and notify me when they are ready to be installed.)
  5. Click OK at the bottom of the window to finish.

Step 3: Setting up Personal Password

In order to keep your machine safe from attack, you need to protect all of its local accounts with secure passwords. A secure password is a combination of letters and numbers. It is something that would be very hard for you to forget, but virtually impossible for anyone else to figure out. If this password is forgotten, it cannot be reset. You may want to write it somewhere safe, but remember, if you write the password and keep it near your machine, anyone who finds it will be able to access all of your data and programs.

  1. Restart your computer.
  2. When the computer begins to start up, press the F8 key about once per second until the Windows Startup menu appears. If you do not see this menu and Windows starts normally, restart the machine and repeat this step.
  3. Choose Safe Mode using the arrow and enter keys.
  4. If prompted to choose an operating system, highlight the appropriate choice (there will probably only be one) and press enter.
  5. When asked to log in, choose the Administrator account.
  6. Click on the Start button (most often in the bottom left corner of your screen), and then choose Control Panel. If you do not see the Control Panel listed, choose Settings instead, and then choose Control Panel from that submenu.
  7. If a screen comes up that says "Pick a category," please click Switch to Classic View on the left side of the screen. Otherwise, please go to step 8.
  8. Double click on User Accounts. This should bring up a list of the accounts on your computer.
  9. Confirm that the Guest Account is off.
  10. Confirm that every other account is Password protected. For each account that is not protected:
    1. Click on the account.
    2. Click Create a password.
    3. Type a password in the first two boxes.
    4. If you wish, type in a password hint and click Create Password.
    5. When asked if you want to make files private, click No.

 

Immediately After Connecting to Network

Step 4: Updating the Operating System

It is critical that you update your operating system regularly. Without doing so, your machine may not be stable and will be much more vulnerable to attack. In Step 2 of these instructions, you configured automatic updating of the operating system, but after connecting to the Barnard or Columbia networks for the first time, you must update manually.

  1. Launch Internet Explorer and navigate to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com. You will not be able to use the Windows Update site with other browsers.
  2. Click Express Install. Windows Update will spend a few moments checking your operating system.
  3. You will be presented with a list of critical updates if any are available. Click Install... to begin the installation process and follow onscreen directions.
  4. After installation is finished, reboot your computer and repeat this process until there are no more critical updates listed on Windows Update.

Step 5: Installing Computer Security Software

Symantec (or Norton) AntiVirus is provided to all students in Columbia University and Barnard College for free. It will help in protecting you against viruses and other malicious programs.

For instructions and to download the software, please visit http://www.columbia.edu/cuit/software/nav/

Step 6: Scanning for Viruses

To keep your computer clean, it must start clean. Please run a full system scan using up to date virus definitions by following the instructions found at the following web page:

http://www.columbia.edu/acis/software/nav/pc-config.html

Once you have finished the scan, you may use the network. Be sure to review the document concerning copyright-related policies included in this packet. Also, please review the safety guidelines found at the following web page to ensure that your machine remains safe: http://security.columbia.edu/

For information on online resources, documentation, please visit CUIT.

Barnard College students should report problems to Student Computing.