View Full Version : Article: How to Maintain Your PC


RhapsodyInBlue
03-25-05, 07:34 AM
Keeping your PC clean and protected is a real must for safe and careful surfing. Not only do you do your friends a favor, by not passing on virii, but your PC will run faster, leaner and meaner. All programs listed here are free, and are the best of the net. You can download them at the links below.

Firstly, clean out all temporary internet files by going to "Tools->Internet options->Delete Cookies->offline as well. Click "OK"

Open windows explorer, go down to your windows folder, and expand the view until you see a folder called "prefetch". Open this file, and delete all it's contents. Do NOT delete the folder. [this is XP only]

Right Click on your C:\Drive and go to "properties". Click the "disk cleanup" and let it run.

Open your windows defragmenter, and run it. Reboot. You may experience a slower reboot after cleaning out the prefetch folder for 2-3 reboots. This IS normal.

1. Make sure you run anti spyware programs at least once a week.
Adaware-:
http://www.download.com/3000-2144-10045910.html?part=69274&subj=dlpage&tag=button (http://www.download.com/3000-2144-10045910.html?part=69274&subj=dlpage&tag=button)

Spybot Search and Destroy-:
http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,22262,00.asp (http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,22262,00.asp)

SpywareBlaster-: This program works in the background, but do update it weekly.
http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html (http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html)

Use a firewall!

Zone Alarm-:
http://www.uant.net/download.html (http://www.uant.net/download.html)

Use an Anti Viral Program! AVG is known to be the best free AV around at this time.

AVG-Free Anti Virus:-
http://free.grisoft.com/freeweb.php (http://free.grisoft.com/freeweb.php)

Keep these chores done. Keep the programs updated. I promise you will have far fewer problems visiting this site, or any other site.

It might be easier to print this out and follow it for a while, but it is well worth the effort.

Viktoria :)

Chadwick
03-25-05, 04:55 PM
May I in fact suggest NOT using a firewall! They cause the most problems, trust me. If you want to use one, use Microsoft's built-in firewall. All you need to do really is run the rest of the programs Victoria mentions, which are excellent, keep your version of Windows fully updated with all the patches Microsoft has (IE->Tools->Windows Update), and if you have XP, run Microsoft Anti-Spyware, which is also free. Get it at http://www.microsoft.com/spyware.

AVG is a great anti-virus program for being free. Highly recommended. Doesn't slow down your computer nearly as much as Norton Antivirus and McAfee's Viruscan, etc.

Periodically, also run Housecall and Free Panda Online Scan, these are free online anti-virus programs that run just while you're at their website to scan your computer for things the rest of your programs aren't catching. I do each once a month or so. Use google to find these.

Enjoy!

-Chad

Toby
03-25-05, 05:45 PM
May I in fact suggest NOT using a firewall!
You really do not want to do this. Microsoft's swiss cheese approach to security means a firewall is damn near essential.

But yes, there are some crap firewalls out there. Norton and Zonealarm are amongst the worst; although they're effective, they're near impossible to configure effectively. Kerio personal firewall is the best software firewall i've found.

http://www.kerio.com/us/kpf_download.html

Andrew
03-25-05, 06:17 PM
Microsoft's firewall (at best) only protects your computer from inbound attacks...but leaves your computer wide open for any outbound attacks (like when your computer has a trojan, or a worm, and is sending your data out to the bad guys).

Using the free Zone Alarm firewall, plus an antivirus, are the two easiest things to do, to keep your system protected. Have some patience with Zone Alarm, as it will take a little time to learn what programs on your system are ok to connect to the Internet...but a little work upfront will pay off BIG TIME later on.

Ian
03-25-05, 08:27 PM
I'm with Andrew on this. My experience is that Zone Alarm and a good spyware application like Spybot S&D or Ad-Aware are best for most comsumers running windoz.

Microsoft security is the laughing stock of the industry. I would not hold much faith in it. The main trouble with this stuff is that the folks at the helm can't even begin to work on a fix until there is a problem released into the wild.

Once out there, the lists begin to buzz around working up a fix and then hopefully an update is released quickly. In the most difficult situations though this takes a while to get that update released and remains especially problematic in proprietary software like M$ favours.

I'm a shameless fan of GNU/Linux,which I've run various distributions of now full time since January 2001. I've yet to suffer any of the ills that plague Micro$soft products like worms and virus, etc.. My office applications are more compatible with M$ documents than winduhs can provide which is a bonus.

A great little approach to firewalls is the Coyote distribution of Linux. I wonder how many flavours of Linux there are now? ( 386 now apparently. http://distrowatch.com/stats.php ) An old 486 will suffice here.
http://www.coyotelinux.com/

FreeBSD runs a pretty tight ship. Running FreeBSD on an old 486 in front of your network might be fun too. So many buttons so little time.
Cheers! The rabid penguin

RhapsodyInBlue
03-25-05, 08:43 PM
I wrote this article taking into consideration that not all people have a lot of money to buy the programs.

Chad, you are wrong. If you would like to debate me on this issue, please come to www.annoyances.org (http://www.annoyances.org/). There are some lovely guys over there who would eat you for breakfast, my friend;) . Hahahahhahaa <joking> But you are still wrong!:eek:

Andrew
03-25-05, 08:43 PM
One of these days I'll set one of those up in my house.

Chadwick
03-25-05, 08:46 PM
I've yet to see someone who keeps their OS fully updated (very helpful is Automatic Updates), has an anti-virus program, uses Ad-Aware, SpyBot, and MS Anti-Spyware, actually have any problems that would have been prevented or ameliorated with the help of a firewall. Provided that all of the conditions are met as outlined in the first sentence of this paragraph, a firewall doesn't give you much added value, and to a novice is a signifant annoyance without much benefit.

Now, if you do everything wrong, then yes you need a firewall. If you don't run updates, if you're not behind a router, if you don't use anti-malware applications, and you don't read what pops up on the screen and are a fan of agreeing to everyone just to get past it and on, then yes you are a prime candidate for a firewall! But said prime candidate probably has no idea how to run a firewall, and in fact operating their PC becomes a huge, pain in the neck chore for them. That kind of person really needs a Mac, IMO.

For what it's worth, I presently use MS's built-in XP SP2 firewall, with minor configuring. I have a great deal of liberty allowed on my subnet for file sharing, remote desktop, etc., and have allowed one specific IP (my work IP) to access my computer via remote desktop, but no other computer in the world can touch me. Does the job I need it to and doesn't freak out when I open up notepad or calculator and end up asking me some obscure questions like "iexplore.exe is trying to access the Internet, we recommend you BLOCK THIS ACTION". LOL. No wonder firewalls *causing* problems are amongst the biggest headaches to ISPs these days (I work for an ISP, btw).

-Chad

RhapsodyInBlue
03-25-05, 08:52 PM
I keep my OS fully up to date, so up to date I beta test, but if M$oft downloads SP2 onto your PC and there is spyware on board, then there is going to be huge problems for the majority.

SP2 should be slipstreamed with SP1 and loaded onto a clean drive.

You are still wrong, Chad :D Would you like to join me at annoyances?

Andrew
03-25-05, 08:52 PM
I've yet to see someone who keeps their OS fully updated (very helpful is Automatic Updates), has an anti-virus program, uses Ad-Aware, SpyBot, and MS Anti-Spyware, actually have any problems that would have been prevented or ameliorated with the help of a firewall.

Hi, nice to meet you. Now you've met someone that meets your criteria AND wouldn't turn his broadband on without at LEAST one, if not multiple layers of security (i.e. firewalls) Perhaps you should actually RUN a smart firewall for a month, just to see how many probes are being made into your system, etc.

RhapsodyInBlue
03-25-05, 08:53 PM
Hi, nice to meet you. Now you've met someone that meets your criteria AND wouldn't turn his broadband on without at LEAST one, if not multiple layers of security (i.e. firewalls)
Thank you Mr Administrator. Nice to meet another unusual one of my kind ;):D

Chadwick
03-25-05, 08:56 PM
It's more a matter of opinion than right or wrong. If I'm guiding some 80-year-old grandma with slight dementia in the use of her PC, I'd be crazy to leave software on her PC that asks her questions she won't understand. Some people trade some security for convenience, it's true. Some people who don't make that trade-off, probably would if they knew just how little in the way of security they'd be giving up.

One thing I liked about the Pre-SP2 firewall was its ease of use and simple operation. It blocked all incoming connections, and that's that. Of course it doesn't do anything against malicious software installed on their PC. But that's not a problem if you have all their software updated, set to update itself, and all security settings optimal. Add to that a good virus scanner and anti-malware software and you're pretty much set. Throw in a firewall to the mix, and you're complete, but then you double the complexity and make troubleshooting that much more difficult for what is likely to be a tiny gain in security.

This is all my opinion, and comes from my own experience, I deal with this every day, literally.

-Chad

Chadwick
03-25-05, 09:01 PM
When I set up networks, I'm vague on the utility of a firewall. I tend to recommend they do whatever they want. I inform them that when they have technical issues and they blame the network, and I find out it's their firewall, they're paying for every minute of my time, billed literally. I describe every other security procedure they should follow, and also mention that their ~router~ blocks one avenue of hacking -- incoming connections -- unless they port forward to specific internal IPs or use DMZ.

I've had people lividly upset at my ISP because of software they install, and use incorrectly, on their PCs. People just don't understand that sometimes, they can screw up their own PCs. I'm humble but direct about it. We had this one lady just screaming at us over the phone, so I agreed, to get her calmed down, to go out and fix her problem complimentarily. I printed out a 20-page report on every action she had taken in Norton Internet Security. I took a yellow high-liter to every "User has selected to BLOCK PERMANENTLY network file sharing" and "User has selected to BLOCK PERMANENTLY this" or "that." Needless to say she was humbled, and apologetic.

-Chad

RhapsodyInBlue
03-25-05, 09:03 PM
It's more a matter of opinion than right or wrong. If I'm guiding some 80-year-old grandma with slight dementia in the use of her PC, I'd be crazy to leave software on her PC that asks her questions she won't understand. Some people trade some security for convenience, it's true. Some people who don't make that trade-off, probably would if they knew just how little in the way of security they'd be giving up.

One thing I liked about the Pre-SP2 firewall was its ease of use and simple operation. It blocked all incoming connections, and that's that. Of course it doesn't do anything against malicious software installed on their PC. But that's not a problem if you have all their software updated, set to update itself, and all security settings optimal. Add to that a good virus scanner and anti-malware software and you're pretty much set. Throw in a firewall to the mix, and you're complete, but then you double the complexity and make troubleshooting that much more difficult for what is likely to be a tiny gain in security.

This is all my opinion, and comes from my own experience, I deal with this every day, literally.

-Chad
Chad, I had my adoptive father on a firewall. I do understand. I set it up for him.

It is not so much a matter of right or wrong, but a matter of educating those here that may never have known about a Firewall, and getting them to use one. Some here are on dial-up. Not everyone is on SP2, and sorry, but SP2 firewall is insufficient against a hacker.

I was attempting to make an educational post aimed at novices, and some advanced who "forget". :) I don't forget to clean the PC because I'm a little obsessive about it:eek: !

Andrew
03-25-05, 09:07 PM
There are minimum levels of security I would recommend for ANYONE connecting to the Internet.

1) Firewall (definitions updated on a regular basis)
2) Antivirus (definitions updated on a regular basis)
3) Antispyware (definitions updated on a regular basis)

Everything after that, IMHO is what we call "Defense in Depth". Layer your defenses, if you can. I run multiple firewalls (hardware and software), I NAT my network connection, regularly sweep for viruses, trojans, worms, spyware AND I test my defenses too. Does this take some time? Sure. Am I confident that I have a really secure network, and I'm a much less inviting target then Grandma, who isn't running a firewall? YOU BETCHA!!

Chadwick
03-25-05, 09:09 PM
I don't know about your Grandma, but mine doesn't exactly run Deutsche Bank. I don't think *anyone* wants to hack her recipe for Minnestrone Soup. :)

RhapsodyInBlue
03-25-05, 09:11 PM
I don't know about your Grandma, but mine doesn't exactly run Deutsche Bank. I don't think *anyone* wants to hack her recipe for Minnestrone Soup. :)
Chad, just send an email..............:eek: I BEG you:eek: !!!!!!!!!!

Ian
03-25-05, 09:12 PM
Hacking her soup recipes would be fine, but acting as a spam relay and or broadcasting malware is everyones responsibility.

Andrew
03-25-05, 09:12 PM
Chad, just send an email..............:eek: I BEG you:eek: !!!!!!!!!!


Laughing REALLY hard here...lol

Andrew
03-25-05, 09:13 PM
Hacking her soup recipes would be fine, but acting as a spam relay and or broadcasting malware is everyones responsibility.

Couldn't have said it better. Nicely put!

Chadwick
03-25-05, 09:13 PM
I was attempting to make an educational post aimed at novices, and some advanced who "forget". :) I don't forget to clean the PC because I'm a little obsessive about it:eek: !
I appreciate your goals, honestly. Now those who would learn from your post will learn also that there is a cost to operating firewalls! A learning curve. When you buy your firewall, invest your time in learning about it and about computers in general, because that knowledge will save you valuable money. Firewalls are darned hard for the average joe schmoe to operate, especially when things go wrong and you have to figure out why your game won't access the Internet. The average person suspects their firewall last . . . how can a good program on my PC be blocking my favorite game, they say.

Anyway, I can't think of anything more to add to this discussion, quite yet. :) We're all making good sense, just differing in opinion.

RhapsodyInBlue
03-25-05, 09:16 PM
I appreciate your goals, honestly. Now those who would learn from your post will learn also that there is a cost to operating firewalls! A learning curve. When you buy your firewall, invest your time in learning about it and about computers in general, because that knowledge will save you valuable money. Firewalls are darned hard for the average joe schmoe to operate, especially when things go wrong and you have to figure out why your game won't access the Internet. The average person suspects their firewall last . . . how can a good program on my PC be blocking my favorite game, they say.

Anyway, I can't think of anything more to add to this discussion, quite yet. :) We're all making good sense, just differing in opinion.
And the operational word, is "quite yet":D . Now, are you going to send me that email? :eek:

Chadwick
03-25-05, 09:18 PM
Don't force me to unleash Donald upon you . . .

RhapsodyInBlue
03-25-05, 09:20 PM
Don't force me to unleash Donald upon you . . .
Who is "Donald"????:cool:

RhapsodyInBlue
03-25-05, 09:31 PM
http://startpage.olypen.com/index.php :D

Chadwick
03-26-05, 04:30 AM
What are you up to Viktoria . . . ;)

RhapsodyInBlue
03-26-05, 07:10 AM
What are you up to Viktoria . . . ;)
Some type of mental deviance, no doubt ;)