Anti-virus recommendations

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. I followed your suggestion and installed the Firefox browser and I really like it. Now that it’s installed, should I uninstall Internet Explorer?

A. No, I would leave it alone. It’s not going to hurt anything if it continues to reside on your system. Plus, there are some Web sites that are designed to work specifically with Internet Explorer, so it’s good to have IE available, if needed.

If Firefox is not your default browser, each time you start it you will be asked if you would like to make Firefox your default. As such, it will automatically spring to life whenever you click a link in an email or elsewhere. You can manually establish Firefox as your default browser by clicking Tools > Options > Advanced tab, then the “Check Now” button in the Default Browser area.

Q. I know I need virus-protection, but do you have any favorites? One of my neighbors is a subscriber of your newsletter and told me about you, Mr. M. I’m now a subscriber, too.

A. Thanks very much and thanks to your neighbor, as well. Using an anti-virus program is imperative for all Windows users. I have three favorite anti-virus programs that I use on various computers -- but never at the same time. Only one anti-virus program should be in use on a computer at a time.

The first is Moon Secure (Beta) at, which is free. It updates multiple times each day and runs unobtrusively in the background. Next up is Malwarebytes at It’s available in free and paid versions. I use the paid version for $24.95. Last, but not least, is SuperAntiSpyware at It’s also available in free and paid versions. I used the free version initially, but I always convert to paid versions if I decide to continue to use a program in order to help support it.

Q. Can you tell me how to check the ink levels of my printer cartridges?

A. Many printers do not provide that ability, so check your printer manual (or printer software help) as it relates to your particular make and model of printer. Some printers provide a “gas gauge” type display that monitors ink levels in the various cartridges.

Be aware, however, that printers that do provide a means for checking ink often suggest that you have less ink than you actually have. It’s in your printer manufacturer's best interests to encourage you to purchase as much ink as possible, so there is no particular incentive for any printer manufacturer to provide super-conservative ink-level reports.

I have three HP printers, only one of which will let me check ink levels, but that limitation has never been a problem. Whenever I notice printed documents getting a little lighter, insightful person that I am, I assume that it’s time to replace the cartridge.

Bonus Tip: When your ink cartridge is running low and the print is lighter than normal, remove the cartridge, shake vigorously three or four times (the ink cartridge, also), then put it back in the printer. Usually you can eke out a few additional printed pages in this manner.

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