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JK47
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
 
2005-12-16, 19:03

So having returned home from college (with my powerbook), I discovered that my fairly nice Dell (3.4 Ghz, 1 GB RAM, 250 GB HD) is taking FOREVER to do even simple things like open applications. Norton detected no viruses, and Adaware cleaned up a bunch of spyware. Even after these scans and a defragment, it's not much faster. It's not worth the effort for me to find out exactly what's making it run so slowly, so I'm just going to reformat and re-install XP Pro. I was looking for some recommended applications after I reinstall XP for:

1. Antivirus - Have Norton now, contemplating changing this, but then again, it only takes 2 processes, and it does its job well. I also have access to McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 7.1 through my college for free. If there is another that you prefer, let me know.

2. Firewall - Have Norton Internet Security now, that's DEFINITELY going. As I said above, I may keep the antivirus, but that's it. I'd prefer a free firewall, but if you have another retail one you prefer, I'll consider that too.

3. AIM Client - My Dell has AOL AIM on it now, but I've fallen in love with Adium for my powerbook. I know there is no Adium for Windows, but I was wondering if any of you have some good 3rd party AIM clients.

4. Antispyware - Dell has both Lavasoft (free, so no passive scanning) on it now as well as MS Antispyware Beta. MS Antispyware scans actively, so I'm considering giving it the boot to for some performance gain. Also, do you recommend using more than one Antispyware program?

5. MISC Utility Programs - Any other utility programs you recommend installing to optimize system performance and keep it good working order.

6. Weather Program - I like to be able to check the weather regularly (thanks to Dashboard), so I'm considering installing Konfabulator for weather monitoring. However alternative suggestions are also welcome.

7. Windows Preferences - Anything special you would do to your Windows system after a fresh reformat/install.

I already use Firefox as my default browser, Thunderbird as my default email program, and iTunes as my default music program, none of which I intend to change. Good extensions for Firefox are also welcome.
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turbulentfurball
Right Honourable Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Québec
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2005-12-16, 19:10

1: AVG. It's free and it's saved my ass several times.
2: ZoneAlarm. See above.
3: Gaim. Multi protocol, and best of all, no adverts. It may not be pretty, but it's functional and fast.
4: MS Antispyware. Seems to do the job.
5: nothing. I dislike tweaking programs; they always seem to be resource hoggers and defeat the purpose of their existence.
6: I look out my window. It's real time and auto updating!
7: install the firewall before anything else. preferably before going on-line.

And FoxyTunes is a fantastic Firefox extension!
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2005-12-16, 19:16

Quote:
Originally Posted by JK47
1. Antivirus
AntiVir from Free-AV.com. Bad UI but it gets the job done.

Quote:
2. Firewall
Do you have a router? It should take care of the basic firewalling thanks to masquerading.

The one in XPSP2 should generally do the job fine.

Quote:
3. AIM Client
Gaim.

Quote:
4. Antispyware
MS AntiSpyware. If you want extra protection, run Lavasoft Ad-Aware and Spybot Search&Destroy as well.

Quote:
5. MISC Utility Programs
PageDefrag.

Quote:
6. Weather Program
Yahoo! Widget Engine (née Konfabulator)
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JK47
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
 
2005-12-16, 19:21

Yes, I have a router at my house (a Linksys, to be specific). I was just never aware that it replaced the need for a firewall.

EDIT: Also never realized that Yahoo bought Konfabulator, interesting......

Last edited by JK47 : 2005-12-16 at 19:28.
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Yonzie
Mac Mini Maniac
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
 
2005-12-16, 21:52

Quote:
Originally Posted by JK47
Yes, I have a router at my house (a Linksys, to be specific). I was just never aware that it replaced the need for a firewall.
It *is* infact a firewall, although a very simple one.
If you have a router and is otherwise sensible about installing crud and not clicking [Yes] to everything, then you don't really need AV or anything like that... At least I managed just fine for the last 5+ years with just a little spyware cleaning once in a while. Now I charge money for touching Windows (thank god).
Spybot S&D and Ad-Aware is highly recommended. MS Antispyware is made by Microsoft, so they have to be *very* sure the stuff they're blocking is actually bad. Spybot is free and Lavasoft is a small company, so they don't look as interesting to ambulance-chasing attack-lawyers.
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JK47
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
 
2005-12-16, 21:54

Good to know, would you suggest enabling or disabling XP's firewall?
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2005-12-16, 21:56

Actually, as a Windows admin, I have found to Microsoft AntiSpyware to be generally more thorough than Spybot S&D and Ad-aware *combined*.

It never hurts to have all three running, but for the average person, that may be too much.

I personally have in all my 15+ years of computer use on many systems never personally run into a virus, not just because of luck. I know people who have run into viruses -- not always from own sloppiness, but often so.

That said, a healthy amount of common sense is a much better virus pretention "program" than any anti-virus software will ever be.
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Elysium
Environmental Bloodhound
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Land of ice and snow
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2005-12-16, 22:03

In relation to anti-spyware (if you're willing to pay, no freeware):

The best I have seen is Pest Patrol...
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arnoct
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
 
2005-12-17, 00:05

This is from a windows user...

AVG is the best free antivirus. Out of all the free ones, it's the most trusted.

Firewall? XP's built in firewall should be fine. Honestly, the threat of being invaded by hackers is virtually nil, and any virus that comes in through the internet should be caught by your antivirus. Plus if you have a router you're already pretty well protected. I've never run a firewall--I have XP's turned off--and I've never had any problems.

For AIM client, GAIM. But for anything else, Trillian. GAIM is good for AIM but sucks for everything else. It doesn't support anything but chat and file transfer.

For spyware, I'd run more than one. While you'll most likely never have a problem with a spyware program finding the spyware (unless it's very well hidden, and in that case it's probably more viral than anything,) some programs have trouble deleting certain spyware. Personally, Ad-Aware and MS Antispyware have never done me wrong.

I don't use any "misc utilities" on my computer so I can't comment. There are some tweaking programs that make XP run faster but they mainly disable services and do regtweaks. You can find a guide online to do these things yourself.

Forecastfox (for firefox, duh) has never let me down. But konfabulator is good if you're coming from a mac.
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NosferaDrew
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Los Angeles
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2005-12-17, 01:25

Everyone's already covered the basics. The only thing I'd like to add is that ever since I've been building gaming machines and Folding@Home rigs, Windows invariably falls over and dies.

Reinstalling Windows and getting back to where you were is a major pain.

I'm sure there are some free or shareware solutions out there, but I bought Acronis True Image.
Once I get my system set up and completely happy, I burn a disk image that allows me to get right back to a working state much faster than reinstalling from scratch.

To me, it's well worth the money.
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Sargasm
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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2005-12-17, 04:28

get Spybot Search and Destroy for number 4.
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AJF
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA
 
2005-12-18, 12:13

I would suggest using Xp's built in firewall, since it doesn't really crunch on system performance and it's better to be safe than sorry. But like someone said, the chance of being hacked is very slim, and an antivirus will handle any malicious software that comes your way.

Definately have Microsoft's anti-spiware tool in use, from what I've heard (as mentioned above) it does a pretty decent job. I also keep Ad-Aware around, just in case.

I use Trillian Pro for my instant messaging, mostly because it's what I'm used to. Gaim is a good program, go with it.

Good luck with your Dull...er...Dell.
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DMBand0026
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Chicago
 
2005-12-18, 12:18

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sargasm
get Spybot Search and Destroy for number 4.
I'll second that recommendation. One of the best spyware apps I've used, and I've tried a ton of them all in pursuit of the best one to recommend to my friends and family with windows machines.

Come waste your time with me
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beardedmacuser
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: eastmidlandshire
 
2005-12-18, 17:48

If I'm forced to use Windows to browse the web then I use VMWare Player and their free Browser Appliance to feel safe. In fact it's what I'm using to post this reply!
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