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I need some sage advise from our Computer Wizards

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Advanced Glock Armorer, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. Gentlemen,

    I currently have Windows XP Home Edition, Explorer 7 coupled with Earthlink and 2 Gig of memory.

    I'm going to do a complete re-install and I have a few stupid questions as I am not computer savvy at all, therefore any and all advise would be much appreciated.

    Question #1: What is the best software for completely wiping the disk clean. This can be freeware or paid, I just want to do it right the first time?

    Question #2: What is the best browser besides Explorer 7 & Earthlink? What do you highly recommend?

    Question #3: I plan on using Avira. Which one free or paid???

    Question #4: Last but not least, what software do you recommend to protect & lock down my computer.

    Thanking you all in advance, I really appreciate it.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2008
  2. The Pontificator

    The Pontificator Angry Samoan

    Sep 18, 2000
    Question no. 2: firefox 3

  3. havensal

    havensal Nozzle Jockey CLM

    Aug 14, 2003
    Western, NY
    Unless you have something to hide, a full format should clean every thing just fine.

    Another vote for Firefox.

    I have no experience with that. I use AVG free.

    What kind of protection? Viruses, theft, access?
  4. mitchshrader

    mitchshrader Deceased

    Jun 14, 2005
    best protection, a hardware router, FIRST. learn why.

    2nd, put on XP pro.

    Format on install, partition your drive, put the OS on the partition, use the remaining drive space for a data partition.

    Learn why.

    Tweak XP on install for max performance, I use XenTweak cause it's brainless, but you can do it all manually.

    Firefox soaks up a lot of ram, you can afford it (probably) but it's not a requirement.

    I *really* like Kaspersky as an AV, call me a traditionalist, but it works for me now 4 years, no virus issues.

    START with a router. Hardware answers work real well.
  5. I have IE7 but use Firefox and Safari that's installed on a U3 drive along with anonymizer browser for U3.

    To lock down the comp, my laptop uses biometric and I've got my desktop set up to biometric and user account pw.

    I use NIS2009, but I have McAfee installed on my 8gb U3 drive, in addition once a week I use an online scanner to check the other 2. I also use a hardware firewall before the router and an alpha shield after the router.

    If you want good online protection, use an anonymizer service that you log into securely then do your browsing through their gateway.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2008
  6. RaiderRodney

    RaiderRodney Just Win Baby

    May 22, 2003
    North Carolina
    ditto, excellent advice ;)
  7. DoubleWide


    Sep 3, 2008
    1. A quick format will write over the allocation table. A full format will do that plus write over the data. Either one is fine to start fresh. I usually do the full format though. If you need to make the data unrecoverable, donating or selling the computer, use DBAN Darik's Boot and Nuke.

    2. Firefox. If you need alternatives - Opera and Chrome.

    3&4. I've always had issues with firewalls and anti-virus. A decent free setup is AVG and ZoneAlarm Free. Anti-virus will not catch everything. Be smart and learn how not to get yourself into a situation where you're depending on it. I've cleaned up a couple of computers with viruses that weren't that bad and I can tell you for a fact that one antivirus will not catch all viruses. If you do get a modern virus, you'll pretty much have to wipe the drive clean. (hypervisor rootkits) I was actually running AntiHook for awhile. DON'T trust Windows firewall. A lot of the good free firewalls have gotten bought up. ZoneAlarm is still pretty good. If I had to buy a suite, I'd go with ZoneAlarm security suite. I do hate that you have to keep paying for non-free anti-virus every year.

    I'd also get a hardware router. A brand name one like Linksys or Netgear is ok, but if you're interested look at ones that can be upgraded with openwrt or ddwrt. Do a bunch of research as those are very model revision specific.
  8. srhoades


    Jul 14, 2000

    Only because I believed and told everyone the same thing for some many years before I was corrected do I correct you. Per microsoft the only difference between a quick and full format is that full format checks the disk for bad sectors. Otherwsie they are identical.
  9. IndyGunFreak


    Jan 26, 2001
    Everything he said... I personally prefer Avast over AVG, but AVG is good software also. Opera is also a good, alternative browser. I don't know if its available for Windows, but another good one is Epiphany.

    Someone suggested Google Chrome browser, I'd use caution with that browser. Do a search here in Tech Talk, and on Google, there has been some serious privacy allegations regarding Chrome, and I think I would stay far away.