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Old 04-23-2007, 10:16 AM   #1
figaro
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OT-Need a little advice from all you techies...
I need some advice concerning what I should be running to protect my computer. The problem for me is I do not understand what the products I have, I am not sure what they do. I have Spybot, Lavasoft Ad-Aware and Tweaknow Reg Cleaner. I thought I also had Spy Sweeper but somehow it has been deleted. Should I run more cleaner type programs and if so, which ones and how often?

I also need to update this old thing as we have done nothing in the way of upgrades since we bought it I think in 2004. I have run the BeLarc Advisor but I am nervous to go to a computer store, I don't want to be taken advantage of and buy items that I do not need.

I know, a lot of questions but I just don't know where to go? Please help!

Thank you much!
Debbie
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Old 04-23-2007, 10:46 AM   #2
debinoz
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I didn't see you mention what firewall program you were using. If you have MS, please don't rely on their built-in firewall protection. I use Zone Alarm. It can drive you crazy with the pop-up alerts, but you can turn them off.

As for the spy-ad-malware protection, I use Avast!. You can either set it to run continuous or use it to do regular weekly sweeps. It also has settings so you can sweep your register. It updates daily, which sometimes can be annoying, but better safe than sorry.

Hope some of this helps.

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Old 04-23-2007, 01:14 PM   #3
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I didn't see an antivirus on there. There are some good free ones out there, I think Avast! has one, and there's another free one that my Dad uses, but God help me if I can't remember the name. It starts with an A, too, though.

I use McAffee and its services, so I pay for the subscription, but it also blocks spam, has a firewall, and I have it set that websites can't leave a cookie on my computer without my permission. It gets annoying sometimes, but I like being able to control who is putting cookies on my computer. (Amazon, sure. Advertiser's banner seen on Amazon? Heeellll no!)

RE Upgrading...what are your current complaints? Are you running out of room to save files? (pictures, music, video, documents, etc?) Then you need more hard-drive space. Is it really slow? You either need more RAM or a better processor.

If you go somewhere and talk to them, and then get a second opinion before you buy, you should have a good sense of what you need and what you don't need. Explain what you use the computer for, too. If you or someone in your family uses it for gaming, you'll need a good graphics card, lots of RAM, etc.

Does that make any sense?
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Old 04-23-2007, 01:27 PM   #4
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To qualify myself...I'm a computer tech in my "real" life.

You can get free anti-virus and firewall software on the internet. For anti-virus, use AVG. It's very easy to install and use. For the firewall, I recommend Zone Alarm. You can get both downloads at downloads.com, I believe (this site is blocked at work, so I couldn't verify.

I will say that I had these installed on my kids' computers and then switched them to the multi-user Norton. I've always been a Norton fan, but it is a memory hog, so if you have RAM issues, leave it alone.

As far as upgrading your computer, if it was purchased new in 2004, all you may need to do is put in more RAM. This is the stuff that makes your computer run faster (along with your processor). It handles the memory...how fast your computer runs when you're opening several programs at once. My computer was purchased at least 6 or 7 years ago, and it still runs very, very well. The only thing I've done is add a stick of RAM.

One thing I would recommend is that you download, for free, CC Cleaner. This is a WONDERFUL (did I mention free?) program that will clear temp files and correct errors in your registry. Errors can make your computer run slow too. It's a fast download, easy install, and very simple to run. Keeping the computer free of temp files is sooooo important! You might actually find that doing this will help your computer so much that you don't want to update it. I ran this last week on my computer (after my tech support guy told me about it), and it corrected over 1,000 problems on my computer.

I hope I haven't overwhelmed you too much!
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Old 04-23-2007, 02:28 PM   #5
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AVG! That's the one I couldn't remember, thanks Nathalie!

I need to check out CC Cleaner for my PC. :thinking:

Also, you should set your Internet History to clear itself out every so often, and delete temporary internet files and clear out your cookies. You might have to re-enter login information for some sites, but it's a good practice.

Also, you should defrag your computer once every 6 months, depending on how often you use it. You can run a diagnostic tool that will tell you if you should. (Defragging: When your computer saves a file, it doesn't necessarily put all the pieces in the same place--it puts them where it finds room. When you defrag, your computer takes as many of these pieces and puts them in the same place. You can wind up freeing hard-drive space up, and also, your computer can retrieve the file faster because it's no longer searching all over the hard-drive for the right information.)
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Old 04-23-2007, 02:39 PM   #6
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Oh yes...forgot the defrag thing! Very good tip!
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Old 04-23-2007, 03:06 PM   #7
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I have to agree with auburnchick with the AVG. I have it on my computer and it works very well.
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Old 04-23-2007, 03:40 PM   #8
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You should also restart your computer at least once per day. When you open and close programs, Windows doesn't always "let go" of the RAM it was using to run those programs. Getting a regular "fresh start" is a good thing, too!

:D

My mom's computer is having problems with USB printers. I tried deleting the printer and re-installing it, but it won't "recognize the USB connection". Any ideas?
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Old 04-23-2007, 03:58 PM   #9
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I knew I could count on all of you! I am off to downloads.com and see what they have there. And thanks so much for the explanations, that definatly helps out to know what I am doing and why.

The reason I am thinking about upgrading is I have Google Earth and I love it, we are using it a lot more right now to look at houses that we are thinking of buying. And when it it open, the rest of the computer is much slower than normal. I don't do a lot on here, just the normal surfing, paste/copy/print patterns instead of saving them, I have probably close to 10,000 photos on here (I seriously need to copy those onto a disk again), our games (the first 3 or so games of Sims 2, 4 or so games from DH, and a few online bought games), Microsoft Streets and Trips, Skype, and a few more. I know, I need to go through and slim these down, but it is nice to know that more Ram would probably help out here.

brownishcoat, thanks but the computer goes off every night, okay there have been about 5 nights in the past year I forgot but thats it. Its bad enough there is at least one tv on at all times here, then to add the cost for the computer, hubby would throw a fit!
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Old 04-23-2007, 04:53 PM   #10
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AVG offers really good anti-virus, but it also offers anti-spyware program as well, which I prefer now instead of Ad-Aware (although I still use that as well).

Another thing you can do to keep your computer from getting clogged up with spyware is to swtitch to using Firefox (Getfirefox.com), and what I have done is block cookies from every site unless I used the 'exception' feature to allow them. Since I have started doing this, AVG has only picked up spyware once, and that was because I had turned the 'allow all sites to set cookies' on and forgot to turn it back off


Since your problem is mostly one of RAM though, because you are using ... complex program, I would suggest you just be more stingent with the programs you have running.

If you're going to open Google Earth, close EVERYTHING else unless it is nessecary. Hit Ctrl + Alt + Delete, and click over to 'processes'. This will show you what is running, as well as how much resources it is using up. It's quite surprising sometimes. Like those widgets that so many people have can slow down your computer.

Same goes for games. Before you open them, close everything else. I would also turn off any programs that are set to load on startup. This is a pointless feature, because it takes so little effort to open programs on your own, while having them ALL load at once, at the same time the computer is booting up is a sure fire way to slow down your computer.
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