Opting out: The single most effective way to avoid viruses and spyware is to simply chuck Windows altogether and buy an Apple Macintosh. Apple's operating system, Mac OS X, is harder for the criminals to infect, and the Mac's market share is so small that hackers, virus writers and spies get little thrill, financial gain or publicity from attacking the platform. There has never been a successful virus written for Mac OS X, and there is almost no spyware that targets the Mac. Plus, the Mac is invulnerable to viruses and spyware written for Windows. Not only is it more secure, but the Mac operating system is more capable, more modern and more attractive than Windows XP, and just as stable. Macs are as good as, and often better than, Windows PCs at doing the most common computing tasks: Web browsing, e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, photos, music and video. The Mac version of Microsoft Office can handle Windows Office files with ease, and it produces files that Office for Windows handles effortlessly. Apple's computers are also gorgeous.