Q Where can I get a safe, quality and free antivirus and anti-spyware program? I have three PCs, and I'm tired of spending $40 per computer per year for security software. One PC runs Windows Vista and the others run Windows 7, and all are currently protected, although I'm not sure what programs they all use.


A There are several free antivirus programs (see tinyurl.com/9fcegep.) I'm currently using Microsoft Security Essentials, which protects against several types of malicious software. In the past, I've used AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition.

However, before you start using a new antivirus program, you should uninstall the one you're using. Running two programs won't make you safer, but it will use up computing resources. Here's how to delete it:

In Windows 7, go to Start, then Control Panel. Click the Action Center icon, then, on the resulting screen, click the security pull-down menu on the right to find out what program you're running.

You can uninstall the existing antivirus software by going to Control Panel, clicking Programs and Features and, in the list, right clicking the program you want to remove. Choose uninstall.

In Windows Vista, go to Control Panel, click on the Programs icon, click on Programs and Features, then look through the list for the name of an antivirus program.

To uninstall, right click the item in the list, then click Uninstall.

Q I recently had to change computers due to a hard-drive problem. On my old Windows XP computer, I was able to use Microsoft Word to read documents whose names ended in ".wps." But when I try to read those documents on my new Windows 7 PC using Microsoft Word Starter 2010, all I get is garble.


A The .wps files were most likely created by the word processing software in Microsoft Works.

Microsoft Word can read these documents once you download the free Microsoft Works 6-9 File Converter (see tinyurl.com/d2cljkf).

Q I learned to manage my digital music collection in Windows Media Player 11. However, I find the Windows Media Player 12 that comes with Windows 7 to be confusing. Is there an instructional video than I can access?


A There's a video overview of Media Player 12 at tinyurl.com/9a6zbtm, and Microsoft offers written directions at tinyurl.com/64d6xcl (see the "how-to" section at the bottom of the page.)

E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander @gmail.com or write to Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Av., Minneapolis, MN 55488. Include name, city and telephone number.