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View Full Version : Dude, I'm getting a Dell. Help!


HOM
2005-02-28, 15:14
It's finally happened. I've used Macs for 20 years and have always been a Mac person. I've never owned a PC although I've used them at times. However, the time has finally come where I need to get a PC. It's for my new job and I don't really have much choice.

I've settled on the Inspiron 700m (http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/inspn_700m?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs) because it seems to be the best sub 5 lbs notebook out there.

Here is the real issues I'm having:

Are there any free antivirus software tools available or am I stuck paying Symantic every year?

What are the required pieces of software that I need to know about?

What web resources should I be going to? (Never went to a PC site unless it was talking about Macs)

How bad is Windows really? I've used it for basic stuff, but I've never had to administer the computer before.

I'm sure I'll have more questions so any other suggestions people have I would love to hear.

Now, lemme get this out of the way. No, there is no Mac software equivalent. I'm going to be running very specialized software and it only runs on Windows. That also rules Linux out. Not like I'd ever use it anyway, but it's not an option.

_Ω_
2005-02-28, 15:26
Other than the obvious - patch your OS immediately, download firefox, and also grab adaware and spybot, can not be too much help.

Brad
2005-02-28, 15:28
Are there any free antivirus software tools available or am I stuck paying Symantic every year?
ClamWin (http://www.clamwin.com) port of the ClamAV open source project

What are the required pieces of software that I need to know about?
Mozilla Firefox (http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/) for web browsing
Mozilla Thunderbird (http://www.mozilla.org/products/thunderbird/) for e-mailing
Mozilla Sunbird (http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/sunbird.html) for calendaring (still a relatively young project)
Ad-aware (http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/) and Spybot (http://www.spybot.info/) to keep malware at bay

What web resources should I be going to? (Never went to a PC site unless it was talking about Macs)
Windows Update (http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/) ;) (Only accessible via Internet Explorer.)

How bad is Windows really?
So long as you practice smart computing habits (ie. never open e-mail attachments when using Outlook Express, don't surf with IE, scan for viruses and malware routinely), Windows is a usable operating system. Its software may tend to lack some of the polish you're used to on Mac OS X and may not interact as well, but the sheer volume of available options makes up for that for most people.

I'm going to be running very specialized software and it only runs on Windows.
VirtualPC? ;)

curiousuburb
2005-02-28, 15:30
And presumably it runs like a sloth under Virtual PC? So you'll be running XP Pro SP2?

I guess the question is... will it be a machine you use many places, or really just at the office (if, for example your day to day computing, surfing, etc is on a Mac at home).

This might impact whether you need the full monty of protection tools, or whether you could, say, rely on the office firewall and not need to set up your own for the laptop at home...

There are some good consumer level security tests and tools for PC recommended and reviewed by Shield's Up and LeakTest at GRC (http://www.grc.com/default.htm) (about 2/3rds of the way down the page).

Versiontracker works for peecee stuff too... click the appropriate tab.

As for how bad windows is... oh geez... where's the Pity smiley...
*in Johnny Carson voice*
Windows is so bad...

Gargoyle
2005-02-28, 15:35
Download firefox, run auto update regularly and stay behind a firewall.

From my experience full internet security programs (Like symantec internet security) are too over the top and more hassle than they are worth. As for firewalls, i hear ZoneAlarm is a bit shit. If you have a router that assigns you a private IP (192.168.x.x etc) then its using NAT and is gonna stop anyone poking around.

The biggest problem is gonna be YOU!

Do not download any "unknown" apps no matter how useful they sound. There is a LOT of spyware and adware out there! Windows by itself is not as bad as people make out. To put things in perspective, I have a wintel box that I use to play games. I don't have a separate firewall or antivirus proggy installed at the mo. But I never download anything which I haven't checked the origin of - not even new maps for couterstrike.

As an example; Quicktime, WinRAR and WinAMP all make it into my good list. They have been around for years. Download accelerators/managers make it into my bad list. There is very little an extra bit of software can do to increase the speed of your connection no matter what these programs claim!

MCQ
2005-02-28, 15:50
AVG (http://free.grisoft.com/doc/1) is another antivirus option that some rate highly. It does the job, AFAIK, but OMG the interface. :no: :p

http://www.softpedia.com/progScreenshots/AVG-Free-Edition--Build-Screenshot-6858.html

Egress
2005-02-28, 16:12
AVG (http://free.grisoft.com/doc/1) is another antivirus option that some rate highly. It does the job, AFAIK, but OMG the interface. :no: :p

http://www.softpedia.com/progScreenshots/AVG-Free-Edition--Build-Screenshot-6858.html


Exactly.

Software:
Office 2003
Adaware
ABC Bit Torrent Client
Ahead Nero (Burning CD's)


Other Helpful advice:
1. Defrag often
2. Delete Internet Cache
3. Run Adaware often
4. Defrag often
5. Defrag often
6. and uh defrag often

.Hack
2005-02-28, 17:03
Dude... Windows isn't awful, but I promise that it'll make you wanna pull your hair out or set your laptop aflame, but really it ain't so bad. You'll get used to it after a while, good luck! (I'm definitely not saying it will even compare to your mac, but needless to say, it'll work... sometimes lol)

Franz Josef
2005-03-04, 16:28
It's finally happened. I've used Macs for 20 years and have always been a Mac person. I've never owned a PC although I've used them at times. However, the time has finally come where I need to get a PC. It's for my new job and I don't really have much choice.

I've settled on the Inspiron 700m (http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/inspn_700m?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs) because it seems to be the best sub 5 lbs notebook out there.

Here is the real issues I'm having:

Are there any free antivirus software tools available or am I stuck paying Symantic every year?

What are the required pieces of software that I need to know about?

What web resources should I be going to? (Never went to a PC site unless it was talking about Macs)

How bad is Windows really? I've used it for basic stuff, but I've never had to administer the computer before.

I'm sure I'll have more questions so any other suggestions people have I would love to hear.

Now, lemme get this out of the way. No, there is no Mac software equivalent. I'm going to be running very specialized software and it only runs on Windows. That also rules Linux out.
Not like I'd ever use it anyway, but it's not an option.

I feel sorry for you. But what must be must be.

BenRoethig
2005-03-04, 17:06
I've gone down that road myself. I hope you have a lot of patience and even more time for upkeep.

HOM
2005-03-04, 18:43
Ha! Time for upkeep? When my new job starts in May I won't be around until November. Just like the last job and the next few years are going to be like.

Thanks for all the advice guys. The links and tips in this thread have assuaged some of my fears of moving to Windows full time.

Is VersionTracker a decent place to get Windows software? Should I be looking elsewhere?

Ashka
2005-03-04, 18:49
AVG7 is good and there's a free version, no marks for the interface though.
Spybot, Adaware, and Sygate fire wall Freeware versions available for all.
I've not tried MS own antivirus, some say it's OK.
MS built in Firewall is a waste of drive space. Defrag often :-)
You cannot remove IE but please use anything else in preference, it's swiss cheese.
XP isn't too bad it's just that OSX 3.8 is so much better,
Take Care out there.
Just my $0.2

Egress
2005-03-05, 07:25
I think alot of you guys are painting a very bleek picture, to say the least.


XP is not all that bad, in fact, it is very useful.

Factually speaking OSX is a more substantial OS, ie, security, visually pleasing, unix backbone, and user friendly.

But XP is no sloutch. It just requires a bit more common sense to protect you and your data.

Like I said earlier, defrag often. Besides that, be sure to regularly run Windows Update.

When web surfing, please do not get in the habit of clicking "OK" to anything. Make sure you read it, and if it seems suspicious, kill the box (don't even click cancel).


I promise you, it's is nowhere near as bad as most are making it out to be. I have been using a Windows based OS since 3.1 and I tend to believe I do not waste my time with inferior products.


Hope that helps.

Wickers
2005-03-05, 09:58
HOM, clearly if Windows is you only choice... then just do me one thing, never theme it to look like OSX. Because that would be annoying.

Egress
2005-03-07, 14:28
HOM, clearly if Windows is you only choice... then just do me one thing, never theme it to look like OSX. Because that would be annoying.


BWHAHAHAHAH!!!

psgamer0921
2005-03-07, 21:30
PC's aren't really THAT bad, but I'm sure Mac's are just better to deal with.

-It's not free, but the McAffe security Suite seems really good.
-Just download as you need them
-If you wanna keep it basic, just use WindowsUpdate. But for more advanced stuff, try www.neowin.net.
(About the immediate patching, I'm running SP1 [firefox, Mcaffe] and I'm fine. WindowsUpdate's even turned off so it doesn't bitch about needing SP2 [the reaston i formatted in the first place])

sildani
2005-03-10, 09:46
Have you considered getting a 12" PowerBook with a extra RAM, Virtual PC and Windows XP? I think this is better than getting a DELL. I use a DELL Latitude D800 at work for dual-booting into Windows and Linux, and I don't like it that much. I would prefer to use the set up I've just mentioned. If the Dell laptop you are considering will work for you, then the above set up should, too. The others can chime in and disagree with me, I could be wrong. VIrtualPC is a heck a level of indirection.

HOM
2005-03-10, 12:47
Have you considered getting a 12" PowerBook with a extra RAM, Virtual PC and Windows XP? I think this is better than getting a DELL. I use a DELL Latitude D800 at work for dual-booting into Windows and Linux, and I don't like it that much. I would prefer to use the set up I've just mentioned. If the Dell laptop you are considering will work for you, then the above set up should, too. The others can chime in and disagree with me, I could be wrong. VIrtualPC is a heck a level of indirection.

I would like to use VPC, but it's slower than molasses in January on my 12" PowerBook and I've never really been able to get it to work right since Connectix went kaput. I doubt the MHz increase from mine to the newer ones would make that much of a difference.

Nope, it's a PC for me.



:(