New computer, security?

So I just made a huge investment on my computer and obviously I want to keep it secure from hackers, popups, blah blah... SO Im wondering what the first step should be to get my computer safe and secure?

I would much prefer not to pay for any type of anti virus software as I usually use free downloads as I remember, possibly Norton? Its been so long.

This computer is something I want to protect so please give me any advice needed. Thanks
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More about computer security
  1. download microsoft security essentials and malwarebytes
  2. Avast is great as well, and free. Good call on Malware bytes, also add spybot search and destroy and super anti spyware to the list, all free.
  3. I used to have Avast but I remember it eating away a lot of my system useage...what exactly is malwarebytes?

    @ohiou_grad_06 .. Im from columbus go bucks! OU travels here sept. 18th
  4. http://www.malwarebytes.org/

    is the best free spyware app available to mankind!
  5. Yeah, I'm a bucks fan too, though it would be kinda funny to see OU knock OSU off, if they wouldn't ruin their championship chances. But seems they choke each year they choke in the big game. Hopefully that trend changes.
  6. Avast 5.0 is far from a resource hog. It's a very good free antivirus software. Microsoft Security Essentials, and Avira are also good options.

    As suggested, Malwarebytes is a good on-demand scanner. It's very useful if you want to scan for an infection.

    Winpatrol is also a good piece of free software. It has many useful tools, but one nice feature, is it'll notify you if something is trying to alter your system, and ask you to allow or deny access. It's a nice fail safe in case something does slip by the AV.
    http://www.winpatrol.com/
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