Spyware, Viruses, & Security forum

General discussion

To bundle or not? How to choose new products.

by lappelba / November 13, 2007 12:17 AM PST

My Inspiron E1405 laptop is 1 year old and my subscriptions purchsed from Dell are now expired. I run Windows XP. I was a pro but now consider myself a bit of a novice-able to understand but not current in knowledge.

Dell recommends to bundle and get firewall, antivirus, antispy, etc. all from one package. They recommend McAfee 2008 VirusScan Plus. I like the idea of purchasing only one package but want good tech support too-and ability to phone free if possible.

I want to know if it makes sense to buy a bundle or if it's better to purchase or get freeware for each product separately. I am online a lot and want to limit problems. But I am a hobbyist, not a pro and would like low cost if possible.

I was considering a suite by Webroot or McAfee but reviews look poor. Also a few friends rec. CNET for reviews, Spybot (free), Norton's Avast.

My subscriptions running out are: Webroot Spy Sweeper, PC-cillan Internet Security 14, Norton Ghost, and PC-cillan or Windows Firewall. My DSL provider Qwest has a free bundle of Live1Care but I may not be a Qwest customer for long (fingers crossed).

thank you for any support and info

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That is a personal choice that you must
by roddy32 / November 13, 2007 1:12 AM PST

make on your own. Either way works.

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by Bugbatter / November 13, 2007 3:30 AM PST
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thankyou and recommendations still requested
by lappelba / November 13, 2007 11:07 PM PST
In reply to: Dell

thank you. I see that it depends on who you talk to. I got the advice to bundle from the tech support / sales team and not the Dell forum. However I still think there are a few good reasons to bundle. I'd appreciate any add'l recommendations as I don't know much about any of the products out there - and when I see the CNET recs the products and companies are names I've never heard of before.

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by Bugbatter / November 14, 2007 12:12 AM PST

No company is the best at everything. If you choose not to install "suites" you can select the best of what works well for your system and situation.

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by lappelba / November 14, 2007 2:24 AM PST
In reply to: Suites

I saw a post on Cnet for free antivirus from ZoneAlarm. But when I went to the site I found a 1 yr free subscription for the entire suite. There are good reviews for the suite on Cnet so I am probably going to go with their suite. I do like the idea of simplicity and just 1 icon. The sales guy said it is not slower to run the suite than multiple single products. I can install add'l Spywear programs and if necessary I will do so. Any recommendations for what other Spywear to have along with the ZoneAlarm Spywear - if any? Again for an XP system running on a Dell Inspiron Laptop.

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Zone Alarm and AVG
by michelcharlebois / November 19, 2007 4:14 AM PST
In reply to: ZoneAlarm

Zone Alarm provides the free Firewall - AVG Free Edition is a free antivirus program and it works very well. By using those two alone, I have never had an infection. I also run Ad-Aware SE by Lavasoft occasionally, just in case, just to make sure. It is also free. In my opinion, based on my experience, you shouldn't need anything else.

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I would like and answer to that question myself!
by apatee99 / November 19, 2007 1:35 AM PST

I'm having a lot of problems lately especially with high risk viruses that I got on my Dell Windows XP pc even though I had McAfee Total Protection! My computer started running really slow like something was taking over in the background and my mouse. I ended up uninstalling the McAee and have been trying to install the firewall and antivirus protection (free) from At&T and it doesn't install! So I feel like I have no protection now?
My question too is what are the "BEST" products to get or buy? I don't see that anyone has really given an answer to lappela!

I'm not an expert by far on computers, but I could really use some help here too! It's been really upsetting and stressful!!!!


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mee too! but try the dellcommunity forum as well as cnet
by lappelba / November 19, 2007 4:08 AM PST


Yes, I too was hoping for some answers from the CNET forum and the best info I received was to go to the dellcommunity forum. Apparently my choice of ZoneAlarm was poor. You will see if you go to the thread listed below. I haven't yet found a working solution. I did an OS re-install and my computer is still slow. I installed the AVG suite and was, well sort of lambasted by the dellforum and will uninstall next. It's feeling like a saga. Maybe someone on this forum will also have suggestions.


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"The Magic Shield"
by Bugbatter / November 19, 2007 7:44 AM PST
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I would like and answer to that question myself
by bill5w5w / November 22, 2007 2:48 AM PST

I have been using the Zonealarm free for over 4 years now.I have had my system checked to see if this provides a secure firewall. The answer is yes it does. I also have used Norton anti virus without any problem or attack. While a friend of mine used McAfee and had a lot of problems. I am very satisfied with the two products I am using. I have two computers running XP on a home network and a laptop running Vista I use on the road, which I have the same protection on. I do use the laptop on the network at times with no problem also. I hope this helps you, good luck Biii5w@yahoo.com

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Both- or nothing
by sysopdr / November 19, 2007 4:09 AM PST

OK that title sounds bad but this is the way i think. First you want an all in one suite that covers you from top to bottom. Everything from one vendor and it all works well together. BUT remember these are human made tools. As with anything human made it's not perfect so you want some CYA. I alsways use 2 AV programs, 2 dedicated malware scanners and a software firewall on all computers plus a hardware firewall at the perimeter (and this is for home use.)
If your ISP supplied email has a good spam filter make sure you use it and the report spam feature if they have one. If doing your own email take the time to set up a good spam filter.
If you have the time/energy also set up a honey pot and IDS but only if you have time/energy at home. AT work no matter how big or small a business IDS is a requirement.
Now if you have a wireless at home/work put it in a DMZ or firewalled subnet. Makesure you are using at least wifi g and turn the encryption on and use a good network key (I tend to use hex keys.)

So to sum up, a good suite but also backups on all security packages because they cover each others holes. Firewalls and encryption are always a good thing and don't feed the bears.


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pls define your terms
by lappelba / November 19, 2007 4:32 AM PST
In reply to: Both- or nothing

i am a novice. please define:
honey pot and IDS
wifi g

btw-the guys at the dell site are totally against using more than one AV package (but rec use of more than one spywear program) and also totally against using all-in-one suites. Today i uninstalled PCcillin as I was running the AVG suite. Next I am going to pack up and return the McAfee suite to Dell. (My DSL provides it for free but I see it has awful reviews on both sites.) I got ZoneAlarm as it had good reviews on CNET but found it had terrible reviews elsewhere.

perhaps security really is an area open to interperatation; the Dell tech advisors said these products change in their value from year to year--like Spybot was terrific last year and now a poor choice. or SpySweeper was good last year and now also not a good choice.

my head is spinning. it feels like this security issue demands way too much time and attention. Any input greatly valued.

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pls define your terms
by apatee99 / November 19, 2007 4:49 AM PST
In reply to: pls define your terms

Hello lappelba

I can totally relate to what your saying. You get all kinds of different reviews on ALL of these products and I really do like CNET. Being somewhat of a novice too, I just don't know what to do or where to go anymore! I bought Spyware Doctor and ran the scan and found 8 Trojans and 18 High Risk viruses!! I was frantic!! I uninstalled McAfee and as I said, tried installing "the all in one" from at&t and the firewall and antirvirus would not install! so all I have now is Windows safeguarding me!!! I installed AVG the other day and it found nothing! But my system is still running awfully slow and is drivng me crazy! I have a Dell Dimension 3000.
Can someone please help us!!
Thank you,

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Sorry this so late.
by sysopdr / April 27, 2008 1:11 PM PDT
In reply to: pls define your terms

OK I missed replying to this and so many people seem to need more info. I tend to think everyone knows what i do and so I use jargon way to much in places where I shouldn't. Hazard of the business I guess.
I also agree that people don't want to know all of this stuff and would rather just use their computers. We in the industry tend to forget this.
Honey pot is just what it sounds like but a computer version. If you put out a pot of honey things get stuck in it. Wel lit's a computer setup to catch viruses and worms and malware spo that they can be studied. Most people don't need one.
IDS, intrusion detection system. A way to detect if you have an intruder (Not a virus checker, for cracks and stuff. Again for people who have a bunch of computers to keep secure not for most people.
DMZ Demilkiterized zone. A [place to put your servers so they can be seen from the internet bit still has a firewall around it but is not inside your cororate lan. If you have have your own web server you should have a DMZ. My wireless lan at home allows for this in a router that a lot of people own for home use.
wifi g ((and now n) is fast wireless networking.

By the way these are all in wikipedia, you can look them up.
Now for the use of more then 1 AV product. I always use 2 but only one for on-access scanning. I thoiught that was a given, sorry I didn't say it directly. Why two because I don't trust any of them to catch everything. Use your favorite for on acccess scanning and for scheduled scanning but run the other once a week or so to cover just in case. If you don't want to install two use one installed and then usae say Housecall from the web. (Housecall is an AV that is run from a web page at TrendMicro I believe.)
Yes security is complicated and with developments in virus tools (as opposed to anivirus tool) to the point where viruses are likely to start having the ability to not be caught by AVs that use signatures you really have to keep up with things.
Most people want to just use their computers. They don't want to worry about security.
I think we have proven that OS developers also don't want to worry about securty.
People in the industry seem to want to blame either the OS developers and the OS developers want to blame the users.
Both are wrong. The people to blame are the malware and virus writers and the people who support them either by selling them the tools or paying them to use those tools for attacks. (Think SPAM.)
We in the industry and our users seem to have decided that the only thing we can do is apply technology (AV) to stop the problem. We blame Microsoft for making buggy software and users for not patching their systems when I am starting to think we are not doing enough to actually stop people from making it or vigously tracking them down and stopping them.
Why should we force users to continually do things they don't want to do in order for them to send email (or whatever)
I know lots of people not running Windows that do not use anivirus apps. But most people use Windows and whay can we not let Windows users not worry about virii? We have tried making AV products and while they work people don't want to worry about them. And we have had numerous Windows versions that even though MS has tried to make them secure against virii well virus writers get to then pick it apart and they always will, if we let them. Yes MS puts out a lot of patches but they cost money and if MS didn't have to produce them it would probably be cheaper.
So what is the one thing we have not done? Stopped the virus writers from writing them. I am afraid that is a task that we habe not figured out yet but stay tuned.
For now, patch your systems, use the best AV you can get and use a second one in a while to be sure you are OK. Use spyware detectors, watch for phishing schemes. And keep your eyes on this space and others to keep up to date because for now there are still people out there who want to steal from you.

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To bundle or not
by apatee99 / November 19, 2007 4:36 AM PST
In reply to: Both- or nothing

OK I can tell that you're a computer expert with all these buz words, but frankly I don't know what your saying? I do have a wireless network on my PC and I do worry about having the right protection for it. Can you tell me what you recommend for a "all in one suite"? What is a DMZ and firewalled subnet? Also what is "honey pot and IDS"?
This is my home computer, and I have installed AVG, Ad-Aware, Spydot and destoy (ended up uninstalling this one), Win Patrol and paid for Spyware Doctor. We would love to have some input from you in regard to all of this and know that we would really appreciate any help that you can give.

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Two AV's not good advice without more info
by cobrajet431 / November 19, 2007 9:04 AM PST
In reply to: Both- or nothing

Sysopdr, you're obviously highly learned, but your advice is useless when you're talking over everyone's head. You walked into the middle of a thread started by and contributed to by newbs, but you're talking about honey pots and DMZ's and firewalled subnets(?) Why not throw in some string theory in your next post and maybe some Ph.D level macroeconomics?

But that's OK because people aren't likely to try any of that if they don't understand it; However they *do* understand your statement about using two AV's and that could very well get them in trouble if they follow your example. What I'm saying is that's bad advice to give to novices without differentiating between real-time and on-demand scanning.

So for anyone who read sysopdr's comment about using two AV's, you can do that if only one of them is set for real-time system monitoring and the other(s) is configured for on-demand scanning only. Two AV's trying to run real-time protection are quite likely to conflict with each other and slow your system down significantly.

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by Stillam / November 19, 2007 10:14 AM PST

I have not seen any suite that has marketing independent reviews which say it is any good.

Eset NOD32 is, I believe, the best AV package available. I have seen 208 viruses on PCs protected by McAfee and over 10 using Norton (I help folks with their PCs). Go to the Eset site and look at the links for a non marketing driven evaluation.

Comodo firewall is probably the best around. Eset just came out with one but I have not formed an opinion on it yet.

Spyware Doctor crashes my Vista PC so I took it off (it is OK on XP). Spysweeper runs clean and appears to do a good job very quickly. Spybot, Adaware, and the rest just don't cut it for me.

So I use Nod32 and Spysweeper, and I am waiting on the Vista Comodo (it is in beta now). In the meantime, I use the new Eset firewall on Vista. I use the Comodo firewall on XP. Of course I also use a router which adds to the firewall protection. For wireless, I use WPA security (WEP is too easy to break).

I have never had a security breach (7 years).

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Thanks Stillam
by apatee99 / November 19, 2007 11:11 AM PST
In reply to: Suites

Thank you Stillman for answering our questions instead of going on and on about having or not having 2 AVGs! So you advise not having a suite of protection, but installing one good one for each? Is Comodo, Spysweeper and WPA security free? Where do you find Comodo (never heard of this one?)and also WPA (what exactly is it?) I had to use wireless since I don't have a phone jack in my room, so I have never felt secure not knowing if my computer was protected? Can you help me with figuring out why my computer/internet is so slow? Tell me what to do please!!! Hope to hear from you.

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Hope Stillman doesn't mind
by JonathanCase / November 19, 2007 12:32 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks Stillam

if I add a little something here.
WPA is WiFi protected access. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi_Protected_Access
Basically, it means at one level, encrypting your WiFi so no-one else can use it. And maybe browse your computer in the process! If a number of other users are "hitch hiking" on your connection, that'll slow your internet down, for sure.
Comodo (or Comodo Firewall Pro) is a free firewall offering good in/out (or two way ) protection. Windows XP SP2 firewall is one way. A two way will block anything that tries to access the internet from your computer, unless you approve it. Pretty good idea. See here: http://www.personalfirewall.comodo.com/
Spysweeper is a resident (scans in realtime, like an AV) antispyware. User opinions/experience vary. I've never tried it, but heard it can slow things down a bit.
In your situation I'd (1) Install a two way firewall, if you don't have one already, (2) Download a good malware scanner like AVG Antispyware, and Dr Web Cureit, the first requires installation, the second runs from the download location. Update AVG. Run a full scan, with each, in turn. If malware is found, quarantine rather than delete is rule no.1. These things can have false positives; google the exact file name of anything found, to give you an idea of whether it is malware, or a system/application file. (3) Once the computer is clean (or partly clean) find a malware cleanup procedure to run...Castlecops have a good one..involving online scanners etc. (4) Once it's thoroughly clean install the AV of your choice. Update it. (1 AV, 1 Firewall, 1 resident AS. You can have more than 1 demand scanner.)
Good luck.

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Excuuuse Me!
by cobrajet431 / November 19, 2007 12:40 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks Stillam

So go ahead and run two full-time antivirus at the same time. Sorry I brought it up. Run two firewalls too.

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(NT) Excuuuse Me!
by apatee99 / November 19, 2007 1:54 PM PST
In reply to: Excuuuse Me!

Sorry cobrajet431, I didn't mean to offend you...that wasn't my intention. I'm glad that you cleared things up with what was said from the other guy. It was just that you didn't answer any of our questions? I do know that you shouldn't have two firewalls nor I would think do you need two full-time antivirus?

Hope you accept my apology?

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I O U 1 - 2
by cobrajet431 / November 19, 2007 10:14 PM PST
In reply to: (NT) Excuuuse Me!

Apatee99 I accept your apology and offer one back to you. I just thought it was strange that people didn't know what sysopdr was talking about, but no one called him on the two AV's which, although *you* know better, some may not. Wink

This is my free security buffet by the way:

I use Comodo's Firewall Pro v2.4, Avast 4.7 antivirus, Comodo BOClean antimalware (for real-time shield), Spyware Blaster and Spybot S&D (for immunization).
My primary Browser is Firefox, I use McAfee's Site Advisor to keep an eye on the safety of the sites I visit, and I do any 'strange' surfing using Sandboxie.
Not to mention that my Micro$oft patches are always up to date.

I keep Superantispyware and A-Squared Free on board just to run the occasional on-demand scan.

I would *not* recommend (free version) Ad-Aware 2007 at this time because it is a resource hog for an on-demand; its aawservice.exe used 24,000K *just to sit there*, and if you turn the service off, it won't update.
* If you want to use Ad-Aware, the older free version, Ad-Aware SE still updates and is still available at snapfiles(dot)com.

And even though I use Spybot, I would *not* recommend it at the moment because this version is buggy. There is a beta patch (SpyBot-Search & Destroy Beta 2; available at majorgeeks.com) which fixes that long start-up and the immunization issues, but I wouldn't advise a new-comer to use a beta anything(*). When you see a Spybot version higher than v and is a final release, not a beta, then it is ready.

Likewise,if you are considering the Comodo firewall, I suggest that you hold off for a few days, because the new version 3.0 is literally just hours away and it promises to be an improvement over the already excellent Comodo Firewall Pro v2.4; but why subject yourself to the (rather steep) Comodo learning curve twice? Wink

(*) Notice the disclaimer.

And again, I apologize for my smart-*** previous post.

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Suites more...
by Stillam / November 19, 2007 1:19 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks Stillam

Yes, I believe in selecting the best individual security tools.

WPA security comes with most, but not all, routers. To use it, you must configure the router to use a WPA encryption key and then use the key in your wireless device to be able to connect to the router. So it is probably 'free' if you have a router. Read the router installation instructions to find out how to use it (or go to the router manufacturers web site and look under support, downloads to find the instructions).

I have seen Spysweeper sell for anywhere from 10.00 to 30.00 depending on rebates. A two year subscription sells for 40.00 on the webroot website. While there used to be a performance hit from spysweeper, they seem to have fixed that in their latest releases. I see no performance impact on my PC and I have a terabyte drive.

The comodo firewall is free. Check it out at comodo.com.

Your PC may be slow because of virus/spyware/adware infections.

If you install nod32 and run a full scan, I am confident viruses, if present, will be found. Nod32 will either get rid of them or tell you about them when it can't. In the latter case, tools can be most likely be found on the nod32 web site to remove them. (Nod32 can not, for example, delete or quarantine an infected file if it is part of windows as that would break windows. So you use a special tool to remove the virus. All AV programs work this way.)

If you install spysweeper and run a full scan, spyware and adware will also be taken care of. The bad guys are quarantined so if you have a problem later, you can restore a bad guy. Note that many downloaded programs (especially if free) come with imbedded spyware and adware so the downloaded program may not work after the spyware/adware is removed. My view on this is simple. I don't want to use infected programs so I then delete the program that doesn't work.

I don't buy into all the other scanners suggested in other responses. Nod32 and Spysweeper wil do the job and have free support which is located in the US.

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Which of the
by JonathanCase / November 19, 2007 1:29 PM PST
In reply to: Suites more...

"many downloaded programs (especially if free)"
Do actually come with spyware/adware?
Sounds like you're talking about rogue cleaners (see here) http://www.spywarewarrior.com/rogue_anti-spyware.htm, not respectable offerings.
There are plenty of good freeware security applications, that have no spyware/adware. And do a good job. Not knocking Nod or Spysweeper at all; they usually get very good reviews, just that there are alternatives. It's up to each user to determine what runs best on their system.

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tarq--On Firewalls and XP version
by lappelba / November 21, 2007 10:13 PM PST
In reply to: Which of the

I received a msg on your last CNET post saying that this thread was too deep and to respond higher up. This is why I am responding here.

RE: firewalls. When I go control panel/security/firewalls on Wind XP all I see is that "at least one of the firewalls you have installed is currently on". Also a note telling me not to have more than 1 firewall on.

But I do not see how to get more info--how to determine which one or ones are operating. I guess I don't know windows well enough to figure out this simple thing.

BTW- I am running Windows XP Progessional - version 5.1.2600
Other posts talked about vers 6 or 7 I think. Should I run a diff version of XP and if so do I get it fr Dell or MS?

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Firewall, version,dell/ms etc
by JonathanCase / November 22, 2007 5:23 AM PST

I'll answer the last part of the q first. The XP version you run is currently the latest. I think in referring to version 6 or 7 it was regarding the Internet Explorer version, which is the browser built into windows. So Windows XP Pro 5.1.260 is your OS. (It will also say, I hope, "SP2", for service pack 2.) The OS runs all your programs; browser, email, photo, sound, office, security, etc. The browser is one of the means of using the internet. Firefox, for example, is a third party browser that can be installed, and works with windows. So no, you don't need to upgrade to another version of Windows. The next upgrade available is currently a different OS; Vista. ($$). SP3 for XP is in the works, for release next year, I think. (Should be free or token $.)
There are two basic ways to find your firewall: Click on "start" mouse over "all programs" and a fairly large list should open. Locate an entry for "Comodo", mouse over it, and a sub-list (or two) will open. Find the one that says "Comodo firewall pro" and click (or double click) on it. The firewall GUI (graphic user interface) will open. It will inform you that the protection is "on" or set to "custom" or something like that, and allow a huge number of options, which I suggest you leave alone. Default settings are fine. One option I do suggest you take, though, is to find (probably in the miscellaneous section) and tick the box that says "show icon in system tray" (or similar). The system tray is the area to the bottom right of your screen, if you have a lower taskbar, and it shows running applications you've elected to display, such as AV, clock, internet connection, etc. The Comodo icon is a blue and yellow shield, assuming it's version 2.4. (all software has a confusing sounding version number.)If it's version 3, the shield is white. If there is an icon there, right click on it, click on "open"; that is the second way. (And the reason I like to have stuff displayed there.It's quicker, and you see what the status is at a glance.) Hope that helps.

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Firewall, version,dell/ms etc
by apatee99 / November 23, 2007 3:52 AM PST

Thank you Tarq57,
You've been so helpful and I wanted to say "Thank You"! I wanted to let labella know in layman's terms (in case you didn't know) that "browser" is your mouse. XP automatically has it's own firewall, but since I installed COMODO firewall and just today upgraded to the newer version, PROV3.0, Windows firewall has acknowledged Comodo as the main firewall. Tarq57, I tried finding a "miscellaneous" section and could not find one. Do you know how I can get rid of some of the icons running in my System Tray? There's too many. The new COMODO says that I also have "44 applications are active and running in the memory!" What does that mean?
Thank you again,

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Comodo V3
by JonathanCase / November 23, 2007 8:58 AM PST

is also the one I am now using. Some users have reported bugs; I have none, and I love it!

The "miscellaneous" section is got to by right clicking on the tray icon, select open, and in the GUI near the top right, clicking on the obvious box. The help file is available from here (and from many other areas within the firewall, specific help available for whatever firewall component you are "in" at the time. They are excellent.

44 applications active and running is a few more than I have (35) but not at all unusual. The ways to reduce this include disabling services at startup, or setting them to manual. Some of the services active by default in Windows are not necessary for a lot of users. And some of them are absolutely vital, not to be touched. There is an excellent tutorial/guide here:http://www.blackviper.com/WinXP/supertweaks.htm
There is a huge amount of easy to follow info in this entire site. I suggest reading everything pertinent before you start actually doing stuff.

How many icons is "too many"? Are they all in the system tray, or do you include the "quick launch" applications that are sometimes present? (beside the start button) How you configure any of these to display is down to user preference. If you have icons representing programs you would rather not be running, then depending on the application, they can be disabled from starting.
Can you list all the names of these icons, please.

Browser=mouse. Good one. But if you aren't joking, a browser is a program like IE7/Firefox/Opera/(not Oprah)/IE6 etc.

You're welcome for the help, it's no problem, I like things to run properly.
BTW what time zone do you live in/are you posting from?

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Comodo V3
by apatee99 / November 23, 2007 11:01 AM PST
In reply to: Comodo V3

Hi Tarq57,
Thanks for responding. I'm in sunny Southern Calif where we had those horrific fires!! Where are you? OK, what tray icon and which one for "miscellaneous"? You've gotten me confused about this one?
I have 10 in the task bar tray (is this what you call the "system tray"?
I have COMODO firewall, AVG Free Edition, Kodak EasyShare, AT&T Music Box, Quick Time, Printer, Wireless Network 2WIRE132, Volume, PC Tools Spy Doctor, Safely Remove Hardware and Time.
I don't know how to get rid of the nuisense ones. Does this bog down the system? I don't have anything next to "Start" except for when I open an application. I've decided not to stress out over the computer and am using Firefox for now, though my computer in itself is very slow in opening and closing appls. I do like the new Firefox V3.
OK so call me stupid...browser Happy
Thanks and Happy Holidays!!

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Which tray icon?
by JonathanCase / November 23, 2007 12:07 PM PST
In reply to: Comodo V3

The one with the cream shield that represents Comodo firewall. Once you right click on it and select open, all will become clear.
To hide inactive icons, right click the task bar, select properties, and at the bottom of the window that opens, put a tick in the box marked "hide inactive icons".
Unless you want them to run, I would configure the Kodak, the Quicktime, and the AT&T one not to run at start up.Maybe the printer, too. Options should be available to do that in each of the respective programs. If not they can be disabled via msconfig. (Click start, click run, type msconfig press enter, select the startup tab at the right, select the programs concerned, remove the tick from the boxes (if you have adobe reader or anything adobe that's a good one to disable, too) and restart when commanded. At reboot, a msconfig splash screen will appear. If you want, tick the box at the bottom left of it (Do not run or show this...) and close it. Voila.
This action won't disable the programs, just prevent them running at start. They should open when/if required.
Really about time CA got a squadron of heavy water bombers for that sort of thing. They just keep getting more destructive, and not only in your neck of the woods. I'm in Wellington, NZ. Not many forest fires here. Bit breezy sometimes, though.

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