In order to maintain your computers and home network for optimum performance, we recommend that you use the following products and procedures:

Operating System

Always maintain the most current updates.
Windows OS: Go to
Macintosh OS: Go to


Install and maintain an up-to-date version. There are free software programs available to download from the Internet or you may purchase it as a package with your antivirus. If you have Windows XP it is included in the operation system, but must be selected to be operational. This firewall may not protect your computer to the extent that other products can. The following products are recommended and are free.
Zone Alarm Firewall: Go to and click “Download Latest Version”. After downloading to your desktop, click on the new icon on your desktop to install. After the program is installed and you have restarted your computer, you will need to “allow” your Internet connection, your email and virus protection program to transfer information in and out of your computer. A message window will popup for each item. “Allow” and “Remember” for known, trusted programs only. If you need to change something with your firewall you can open Zone Alarm at Start, Programs, Zone Labs.


Install and maintain an up-to-date version and virus signatures. Norton Antivirus and McAfee are purchased on a yearly basis. We recommend the following free software for home users.
AVG Antivirus Free: Go to and click “Download Latest Version”. Install, open the program and update your machine to the latest signatures. Set the virus information to update daily and to scan your computer weekly. This program will also scan incoming and outgoing emails. Once in awhile, the email scanner updates get to “tight” and don’t allow you email to come to your computer. Then, in a day or so the next update will correct this. You can disable the email scanner part of the program temporarily in the Control Center by selecting “Email Scanner”, click on Properties in the lower right corner and then “Disable Plugin” on the General tab. To turn it back on, click on “Activate” next to the Properties button on the main Control Center page.

Spyware Control

You should also install software to detect spyware that reports your browsing habits back to web sites, sends you popup ads and other intrusive programs that will slow down your connection speed. We recommend Ad-Aware.
Ad-Aware Standard Edition: Go to and click “Download Latest Version”. Then click on the file on your machine to install it. Open the program and run a scan.
Spybot – Search & Destroy: Go to and click “Download Latest Version”.

Updates, New Versions and Definitions

Software programs all have new changes and corrections more often than a teenager’s wardrobe. These new changes can be called versions, updates, definitions or patches. They are nearly always free. Check monthly or even weekly for new versions to all programs. Be sure to check for updates for your operating system, your browser, antivirus, firewall, spy detection programs and even your word processor such as Office. These updates are important to the functioning of the program and often to the security and safety of your computer.

Filtering Web Sites

If you have children under the age of 18, we recommend that you use a filter to block unacceptable web sites. It may only take a misspelled word, when typing a web site to mistakenly go to an unacceptable site. Following are some programs that will allow you to control the content of the web pages that are viewed. All of them range in price from $39.95-49.95.
Net Nanny, CYBERsitter, Cyber Snoop, or CyberPatrol are available to purchase online or in stores.

Other useful free software

Acrobat Reader:
Quick Time:
Windows Media Player:
Real Player:
Flash Player:

Other useful Tips

If you are having problems, the first thing to do is RESTART your computer, before calling Tech support. Also, restart your antenna power and your router, if you have one. Give your Cloudburst9 email address only to trusted people and on trusted web sites. If you need to give an email address on a web site that is questionable, create an account with Excite, Yahoo, or Hotmail and use it for those subscriptions. It can always be abandoned.

Use a surge protector on your computer and monitor. During a thunderstorm, shutdown and unplug your computer for best protection from lightning.

When on the Internet, and a popup box opens on top of your page, don’t click on it, even if it flashes and says you are a WINNER, particularly, if it says you have spyware and they can stop it! Just close the box by clicking on the X. Free downloads for “smiley” faces and screen savers may also be disguising malicious programs.

Be very selective about where you and the users in your home go on the Internet. Even opening some web pages can corrupt your machine, change your home page or download programs without your knowledge.

Consider using a non-Microsoft browser. Most viruses target Windows operating systems and spread through the Internet, either through email or a web site. By using a browser and email program that is not made by Microsoft, you reduce the chances of the virus being able to move to your machine. Mozilla Firefox ( and Thunderbird ( are free downloads and are excellent alternatives to Internet Explorer/Outlook Express.