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  Care & Maintenance   

Your "to do" list:
~  Keep Antivirus and Antispyware updated
~  Keep Windows Operating System updated
~  Firewall security
~  Regularly back up computer files
~  Create Restore points
~  Clean Up - Regularly clean out temporary files, temporary internet files, cookies, (optional:
    history and recent docs), clear recycle bin.
~  Scandisk/Checkdisk for hard drive problems and corrupted files.
~  Defrag hard drive.

Unless you're one of those "livin on the edge" types, you should have an antivirus program on your computer.  There are many of them out there and choosing which to use isn't always easy.  Ask a few people which they prefer to use and you'll likely get different answers (and different reasons why).
Personally, I've tried a few.  Don't really care for McAfee.  I've been on repair calls, including two businesses, where the program was up to date but the computers where infected with viruses.  I used Norton for many years but got tired of paying the same full amount for renewal every year.  No incentive and a lack of funds led to a change in software.  I tried a few others but was eventually referred to AVG a few years ago by a friend.  AVG has a FREE version of their antivirus and, so far, I've had no problems.  Whatever your choice, keep the program UPDATED. 
Related AVG AntiVirus FREE

Spyware is programming that is put in someone's computer to secretly gather information about the user and relay it to advertisers or other interested parties.  Seems like passive programming but in fact, spyware can cause as many issues as a virus and if you surf the internet you're vulnerable.
As with antivirus software, there are many antispyware programs to choose from.  I've used Spybot for quite some time and, although it's not completely automated, I like it and have been able to clear other computer's issues when their antispyware programs have not.  Whatever your choice, keep the program updated, inoculated, and run it periodically.
Related:  Spybot Search & Destroy

Windows frequently puts out updates to the operating system.  Some are program updates and some are security updates.  You should set your updates so they automatically download.  You can set them to automatically install as well or you can set them to notify you once they download and then choose when to install.   However you decide to set it up, make sure you keep up with the updates.

Typically, Windows Firewall is recommended and usually enabled on your system.  The average user will likely have no reason to turn it off.  If you end up with issues you believe are related to you firewall and decide to turn it off, just make sure you have other security settings in place.  (ie.. secure modem or router)

It's good practice to back up your files on a regular basis.  If you have a computer full of documents, pictures, music, etc. and the hard drive crashes, it's ALL GONE.  However, If you have a CD or DVD burner in your computer you can burn everything you'd like to save onto a disk (or disks).  If you have too many files to burn to a disk, you may want to invest in a larger capacity flash drive or an external hard drive. (I use both.  The external hard drive is then stored in my safe and I carry the flash drive with me in case the unthinkable happens while I'm away from the house.)  Whichever you choose, you should make a copy of the files on your computer regularly (especially after you've made any significant changes or added new files).
Related:  Burning a CD,  Flash Drives

Windows comes with a system Restore program where you can choose to restore the system to a previous point.  It will automatically create Restore Points periodically but I suggest you create some restore points of your own when the system is working properly.  (Especially if you are about to make some changes or additions.)  Create a restore point before you make changes in case there's a problem afterward.  If the system becomes unstable or doesn't start up at all, you can restore the system back to that point.

*Quick Note:  In the event your computer becomes infected with a virus, turn OFF system restore.  Yes, it will remove your restore points but the virus could also be hiding in those files waiting to infect your computer again.  Turn off the restore, run your antivirus, clean up your computer, and when everything looks good to go THEN turn restore back on and create your initial restore point.
Related:  System Restore