My parents have ordered a new computer, and I’ve told them to not even take it out of the box until I fly down for a visit at the end of the week. Their old computer, now four years old, is so corrupted with viruses and malware that it’s really no longer usable. When I set them up that time, I gave them Eudora Lite, thinking it wouldn’t convey any viruses. Unfortunately, they open their attachments and didn’t have any anti-virus software, and things have just gone downhill since then. They did install AV software but things have just never gone right.

Anyway, I’m burning a CD for them and will set everything up so that they’re relatively safe, or at least safer than they were. Here’s a list of what I’m planning to install. Any additional suggestions or replacements would be appreciated.

  • Mozilla 1.4.1 for Web browsing and email. I considered Firebird and Thunderbird, but I’m not sure they’re there yet.
  • GriSoft AVG Anti-Virus. It works well enough and it’s free.
  • Spybot, a free product that detects and removes spyware, tracking cookies, and other nasty stuff that you don’t want on your computer.
  • VNC for remote administration.

Update: some reader recommendations are listed here.