1. Windows 10 — version 2004 is beginning to roll out. I hate the naming scheme on this because it makes one think that this is Windows 2004. The 20 and the 04 refer to the year and month that this version was finalized. Anyway, there is no rush to install it now on day one. It will be pushed out to your computer in due time. If you want my help with a professional install, we can look into that down the road.
2. For nearly all clients that I work with, I don’t think you have to pay for a separate anti-virus for your Windows computer. The built in Microsoft Defender is quite adequate. Only pay for anti-virus if it offers you something really special for what you are paying. I used to recommend one particular anti-virus because they offer phone support. I thought when dealing with an older client base, that would mean something. Over the years it really didn’t. Clients would still call me first if they had an issue. I don’t want to toot my horn but I haven’t had a client with a Windows security issue in a couple of years. So what I am saying is that I think the free built in Microsoft Defender is probably just fine. (If I were going to pay for an anti-virus, the only two that come to mind that I would probably pay for are PC Matic — $50 / yr for up to 5 devices for home use or Malware Bytes $40 /yr 1 device / $80 / yr 5 devices. This is NOT an endorsement, but I will support you in using either. ) If you are paying for an anti-virus as a home based consumer, I think you can stop at your renewal, but please take #3 below to heart.
3. So how do you keep yourself safe?
-Don’t install something you didn’t go looking for
-Treat links in e-mails and attachments skeptically
-Have multiple backups of your data. Carbonite and Backblaze are good online backup services. If you have a locally attached hard external hard drive, disconnect it from time to time. Macrium Reflect is my favorite Windows backup software. The built in Windows 10 File History is not terrible either.
-Use an ad-blocker in your browser – preferably uBlock Origin.
-Keep up to date with Windows Updates. I rarely shut my computer down and let the updates occur automatically. If you regularly shut your computer down / disconnect from the internet. You should be checking for Windows updates weekly or biweekly.