Lowest Cost Options
As opposed to an anti virus program, computer security systems protect your files in the event of physical loss of your notebook. There are plenty of things you can do to keep the cost of a notebook computer security system under $10. If you are a privacy freak, setting passwords on all of your accounts and even setting up encrypted individual files is something you can do on all operating systems.
In Windows, to encrypt a folder or file, simply right-click the folder or file you want to encrypt, and then click ''Properties''. Click the "General" tab, and then click ''Advanced''. Select the ''Encrypt contents to secure data'' check box, and then click OK.
Cracking 64 bit encryption on a file would take even an experienced thief or hacker many hours. Unfortunately if the thief knows for a fact that you have valuable data, that is an investment of time and effort they are likely to make. A very low-cost option is a laptop lock. There are many physical locks that universally fit most notebooks. These can be found from the price range of less than $5 up to $50, Most of these locks would require a thief to do so much damage to the laptop that he would have to destroy it to get past it. The drawback is that as long as the thief does not damage the hard drive, it can be accessed and any encryption can be burned through by a hacker with the right tools.
Another free option is to use a free Linux operating system like Ubuntu that has much better encryption options. It also has the benefit that less than 1 percent of computer users are familiar with it, so most thieves wouldn't have a clue what to do even if they got into your system.