Anyone who connects to the net without any protection is asking for trouble. Viruses (virii?), malware and nasties that grab your bank details and empty your account are all out there waiting for the signs of a weakness in your computer. Ok, before the smug brigade gets it in, if you use Ubuntu or Apple the chances of you being targeted are slim, but can you really be that sure that you are safe?

Over the years there have been a few software applications and online services that I have come to trust implicitly and would not be without – Avast Antivirus, Acronis True Image, Zone Alarm and Mozy. Here’s my explanation of why this Fabulous Four are the first things I loaded onto my new PV when it arrived last week.

Avast Antivirus: I have had Avast on my system for so long I cannot remember what I used before. Many years ago I did try Norton AV but the damn thing delved so deeply into the inner workings of the system and caused so many problems I had to reformat the disk!

Apart from the obvious fact that I have never had a virus infection while using Avast they factor to my keeping it on my system is that it automatically updates itself. Some years back I was going through a bout of insomnia and rather than disturb my wife I worked on the PC and during then night the database updated itself three times! The fact that Avast is free is an added bonus.

Acronis True Image: I confess to treating my PCs hard. I am forever loading new software on to them to try everything out and even with Revo Uninstaller the registry is littered with years of assorted software detritus. As ever the inevitable happened was when the PC just died so I became a bit of a dab hand at reformatting hard drives and reinstalling Windows but the PITA was reinstalling application software and reconfiguring email etc.

Acronis True Image solves all of that my taking a snapshot of your entire PC system and keeping it safe on an external drive. Like other forms of backup you need to keep it up to date or else if your system fails and you restore it from the Acronis file system you could end up with a restore that is months old. That is not a problem with the latest version of True Image which has a “nonstop backup” facility so you can be sure that your backup file is literally up to the minute up to date. I have so much faith in True Image that it is only one of three services that I have bothered to turn into an affiliate link which is the box on the far right hand column.

Zone Alarm: I think I must have tried all the firewall products out there and keep coming back to Zone Alarm. Load it up and it just runs in the background faultlessly. If you have an always on connection to the net you should turn off the alert function as it will be going off every few seconds as Zone Alarm bans access to your PC from assorted malcontents.

Mozy: Unlike Dropbox and Sugarsync, Mozy is a pure backup system and doesn’t allow you to share or sync files with others. Download the Mozy software, choose what files you want backed up and off you go. You can backup manually or schedule a time and that’s about as complicated as it gets. You get 2gb free with the basic account but the unlimited backup costs $4.95 a month so keeping your PC life safe isn’t going to break the bank.

If malodorous solids hit rotating blades then you go click on the restore option online or on your desktop software, choose the files you want to bring back to life and Mozy collates them and sends you an email with the location of the zipped files for you to download.