ONE of the first jobs on the to-do list when arriving in your French home is to get the computer fired up so that you can access the internet.
For many it is likely the amount of time spent online will increase dramatically as people look to keep in touch with family and friends around the world, as well as access bank accounts, investments or look to receive messages from potential holiday home clients.
So it is vital that that little grey box sat in the corner of the room is kept fit and well because if it no longer works correctly you can be sure you will be worried.
One of the biggest threats to any computer is a virus or other malicious files transferred over the internet.
They come in many disguises as attachments to emails, often with a simple line of text and if you were not expecting it then just delete it.
But make sure it is not just sat in your deleted items folder go in there and clean it off you machine completely.
You may also have received scam messages about missed emails or problems with various accounts you may have with banks or online shops.
Again be very wary of these, often they will be spelt incorrectly or have bad grammar but some fraudsters are obviously beginning to get wise and improving this aspect.
A way of telling where the link in an email is going to take you is to hover your cursor over the website address.
In the bottom corner of your email software will be displayed the actual website address you would arrive at if you clicked.
Often they are long, random websites, which look nothing like the one that appears in the email. Again just delete it completely off your machine.
Make sure you run an anti-virus package on your computer, they are not expensive when you consider the cost of either repairing your computer or losing all your data.
With this in mind I would also suggest backing up your PC on a regular basis, portable hard drives can again be picked up for a lot less than it would cost for a computer specialist to help retrieve your damaged data.
If you want to be informed of security updates from many software manufacturers and learn more about staying secure online drop in on the UK government's IT safe website.
Taking a little care and attention when using your computer, and informing yourself of some of the pitfalls out there, will keep your PC merrily humming along and let you stay in touch with the rest of the world.