Computer Newbies forum

General discussion

Reformatting and Internet security advise

by The Riff / July 31, 2007 11:55 AM PDT

My computer is nearly 4 yrs old and has gotten very slow and I've been advised to reformat. I have all my original discs and product keys etc and I've backed up everything onto disc with backup utility but what I'd like to know is

1). does reformatting completely clean the hard drive or will it still contain some crud on it?
2).I'm using xp 2002 home edition with the updated sp2 pack, so would it be better to buy a more up to date edition or can I just update the 2002 version again?...does this take a lot of time?

At the moment I'm using norton 2006 internet security suite which needs to have its subscription renewed soon but after reading great reviews about Avast I'm going to make the switch. Unlike Norton Avast doesn't have a firewall so do I need to download a separate firewall or is the windows firewall good enough. If not can anyone advise a good one to get.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Reformatting and Internet security advise
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Reformatting and Internet security advise
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Starting fresh...
by John.Wilkinson / July 31, 2007 2:01 PM PDT

1.) Reformatting erases all data, though it may still be recoverable using special software.

2.) Windows XP w/ SP2 is the latest version available on CD. There's no need to purchase anything, just download the latest updates after installation. The time varies based on your internet connection, but here it takes about an hour.

3.) ZoneAlarm is an excellent free firewall and a better alternative than the Windows firewall.

Hope this helps,
John

Collapse -
wait
by ctbarry / July 31, 2007 8:52 PM PDT
In reply to: Starting fresh...

If you are planning not to use norton, then get your avast ready for when you format. No point loading norton only to change soon. Saves clogging up your nice clean system with files you wont want.

Collapse -
Another Excellent Free Firewall
by crazeebob2000 / August 1, 2007 2:37 AM PDT

Is Comodo Firewall Pro. I used Zone Alarm for years with no problems, I just like Comodo better. It's a matter of personal choice.

Collapse -
You might consider
by Dango517 / August 9, 2007 5:42 PM PDT

see: Iolo system mechanic 7 professional

This software has many additional features to optimize and repair your PC and at a very good price. It also has a drive scrubber that will delete all data from your computer but this will take some time. It comes with a full security suite.

Read through the hard drive help in start>control panel>administrative tools>computer management>disk management>right click> help. "READ THIS THROUGH CAREFULLY". There are a number of options you can use to perhaps make your computer run better. Most of these items will delete your drive(s)

Reformatting does not take a long time. I have two drives an IDE and a SATA both reformat at about the same speed, about ten minutes or less. I have a dual core CPU.

Collapse -
yes
by ozos / August 9, 2007 10:39 PM PDT

John Wilkerson's post is 110% true, so I'm not contending it, merely adding:

I'd ditch Norton, in exchange for the following software:

AVG Free
http://free.grisoft.com (free updates, basic virus scanning, works great, very small memory image too)

CCleaner
http://www.ccleaner.com/ (replaces extended functionality of Norton, such as cache cleaning and registry fixing)

ZoneAlarm or similar, unless you have a router, in which case you can just disable UPnP and should be more or less fine (disable WAN-side ping while you're at it).

Also I would suggest, for keeping the system clean, some (or all) of the following software:


Opera 9.x internet browser (Firefox has become so mainstream that it has nearly the same number of exploits as IE, so its lost that security over IE, Opera only has about 7% market share, so security exploits more or less don't exist)
www.opera.com

Spybot Search & Destroy (anti-spyware/worm/trojan software, excellent, also includes protection plug-ins for Opera and IE (pretty sure it has Firefox as well), just DONT enable the Registry Watch (or w/e its called) that asks every time the registry is changed (it'll eventually A) drive you insane B) cause more problems than it solves))
http://www.safer-networking.org/
-or-

Windows Defender (which is kind of a half'n'half combo of Spybot and CCleaner, gets the job done, but I'd prefer Spybot and CCleaner to Windows Defender, all three are free as well)
http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx

and a few other clients for things:

If you use Instant Messaging (or anyone that uses the system does) ditch the vendor client (AIM, Y!, etc) and go for Pidgin IM, which removes ads (and therefore connection to marketing (read: spyware))
www.pidgin.im

If you want office software, choose from Microsoft Office, Corel Office, OpenOffice, or Sun Star Office, all are good choices, OpenOffice is free to all, Star Office is free (or highly reduced) to educational use, and Microsoft/Corel are commerically available

http://www.openoffice.org
http://www.sun.com/software/star/staroffice/index.jsp
http://office.microsoft.com
http://www.corel.com

I'd ditch any P2P client you have, as P2P opens the computer up to loads of spyware, adware, and worms, which makes it bad (and then add the whole legal grey area part on top of that...generally its a bad idea).

Service Pack 2 is available from Microsoft, although I would suggest downloading the direct package instead of using Windows Updater (so much easier to do it this way).
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=049C9DBE-3B8E-4F30-8245-9E368D3CDB5A&displaylang=en

Popular Forums
icon
Computer Help 47,885 discussions
icon
Computer Newbies 10,322 discussions
icon
iPhones, iPods, & iPads 3,188 discussions
icon
Security 30,333 discussions
icon
TVs & Home Theaters 20,177 discussions
icon
HDTV Picture Setting 1,932 discussions
icon
Phones 15,713 discussions
icon
Windows 7 6,210 discussions
icon
Networking & Wireless 14,510 discussions

Big stars on small screens

Smosh tells CNET what it took to make it big online

Internet sensations Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla discuss how YouTube has changed and why among all their goals, "real TV" isn't an ambition.