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What should I do to a new computer from day one?

by merk850 / February 27, 2005 12:31 PM PST

Well kind of day one. I have a machine that is a year and a half old, but is getting a new motherboard and hard drive under warranty. I asssume this macine will be totally wiped out, and "good as new"?

I have read many of the posts here for "tips", but was wondering if anyone had any links for things I could follow that I may not know about. Yes I know virus protection and spyware, and addware, but I was thinking about any sytem stuff or precautions. What would a person with decent computer knowledge to "freshly started machine"? Kind f like a what to do guide for beginners.


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Intrusion detection
by sewfine / February 27, 2005 4:24 PM PST

I've been using an intrusion detector that is free, from -- it's much like a firewall, but is useful to stop trojans and malware before they can infect. On one of 2 systems I run daily, MS Antispy finds no infections and Spyware Doctor finds no infections. The other system does not have prevx, and just found 108 infections through Spyware Doctor!

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by merk850 / March 1, 2005 8:44 AM PST
In reply to: Intrusion detection

Would I still need prevx if I am running antivirus and firewall?

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Yes I agree.
by Mendieta / March 4, 2005 5:17 PM PST
In reply to: Intrusion detection

Yes, no matter what brand o products you use, but you must have a "good" antivirus, a "good" firewall, a "good" spyware-addware scanner (or better, several) & a "good" intrusion detector, Prevex is a good product but it's not totally free, you can download a 15 days evaluation version, I suggest the following:

PC-Cillin antivirus
Zonealarm Free or Pro
Ad-aware SE personal
Spybot Search & Destroy
Spyware Doctor
Pest Patrol

I thinkk this ones are the best, and most of them Free.

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Prevex Home vs Prevex Pro
by TONI H / March 4, 2005 8:00 PM PST
In reply to: Yes I agree.

I got the impression from their site that the Home version is free (if you get to the second page of the site describing the versions, you will see what I mean better than the home page shows)....only the Pro version is a 15-day evaluation version.


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Prevx more info desired.
by StoneRyno / March 6, 2005 2:22 AM PST
In reply to: Intrusion detection

I am running panda platinum internet security 2005 and disabled its firewall for now inpreference to sygates firewall until i can sort out an issue with tech support on pandas firewall.

Are there technical reviews outlining the benefits offered by the free version vs and/or used along with other virus et al protection software.

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Prevx Doesn't Let Spyware Doctor run...
by DUKESofHAZZARD / March 3, 2006 10:00 AM PST
In reply to: Intrusion detection

how did you configure them to work together instead of conflicting?

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Don't download a lot of
by glb613 / February 27, 2005 6:33 PM PST

not so free stuff. The computers I see in the worse shape are ones used by teenagers. They must download and click on everything.

The other recommendation, get on a regular maintenance schedule.

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Merk, These Tips Should Help
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / February 28, 2005 2:34 AM PST

On a new Windows XP machine, I would first make sure that Service Pack 2 had been installed. If it's not installed, I suggest doing so immediately. It eliminates many vulnerabilities such as those for the Blaster and Sasser worms...

Next, I would follow all of the steps in the links below:

BEFORE Internet: Windows 2000 & XP Need Protection

How To Stop Sharing Files With The World

Windows XP Logon, Welcome Screen, and Hidden Administrator

Next, download, install, update, then run the free spyware removal tools in the links below:


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Learn how to keep it clean
by larry63nova / February 28, 2005 5:35 AM PST

Here is a link to an artical I like to use for tune ups. Not to techy to understand.
Gee a clean hard drive for free must be nice. Good luck to you!

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Invaluable help!
by merk850 / March 1, 2005 8:47 AM PST

Thanks to all who resopnded. I will print the guide and hold on to them.

I am running EZ Amor virus and firewall protection by Computer Associates, which my ISP gives for free. Would I still need the recommendation of for trojans and such. I do currently notice that my 5 year old son's game pages do not load correctly on the internet since I installed EZ Amor. When I turn if off page load fully. I have tried all the setting I can find in EZ Amor to allow the page to load but can not find it. I am currently dealing with tech support? Does anyone know how to adjudt this in EZAmor?

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Merk, It's a Personal Decision...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / March 1, 2005 9:04 AM PST
In reply to: Invaluable help!

Personally, with a good firewall, antivirus and spyware removal programs, I'm not sure that a program like Prevx is needed. Still, I respect the opinion of those that like the program..You might want to read some of the various reviews on the internet about Prevx using the links below. Most reviews are good.:

In regards to your son's games...If the games don't require internet access, it's OK to disable background programs such as your antivirus program. Games use a lot of resources/RAM and disabling resource intensive programs can help them run better.

Hope this helps.


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by Thorobred / March 3, 2005 8:20 PM PST

Hi, Do not let programs you install insert themselves in the start-up menu. Usually, when installing programs, they will ask you something like "Do you want this program to autostart with Windows". The answer is NO. Having programs Autostart is the quickest way to bog down a new PC. Near your clock in the Taskbar there should be an Anti-virus, Printer, and speaker icon; maybe a firewall icon. If you have Realplayer, Quicktime and a lot of other icons down there it slows your PC down a lot. When you insert or download media that uses one of these programs it will automatically start the program anyway. Which brings me to the next topic; Redundancy. I own a Computer shop and can't believe how many programs people will install. If you use a Digital Camera, only keep the program you use it with. No one needs six media players that all do the same thing. No one needs ten photo editors when they only use Windows to capture and print their pictures. Try to obtain the latest drivers for all your hardware. Hardware vendors are constantly revising their drivers to address compatability issues and improve performence so, using the latest drivers is beneficial. Sometimes when installing drivers, the program will ask you if you want to install additional software. If you check and see what the extras are, you will probably find that many of them are not needed or will not be used by you. Often times when loading a PC after a reformat we will ask customers if they want certain programs installed and the answer will be "I never used it but, put it in anyway because it came with it". That is a quick way to put a fresh hard drive back into the same condition it was in. After installing and uninstalling programs run a Defrag. Nothing fragments your hard drive as much as installing and uninstalling programs. Many PC's come in and have never been defragged. If your PC came with a Burner (more than likely) keep back-ups of your data. You never know when something can go wrong and trying to create a disc on an infected or corrupt PC can be next to impossible. If you have a lot of songs or pictures put them on a CD or DVD instead of using up hard drive space. Try to run your anti-virus, spyware detector and defrag utilities on a schedule so you don't forget to do it. Try to get a good Registry cleaning program. JV16 Powertools is a very good example. It can go in and scan for useless Registry entries that will accumulate over time especially when installing and uninstalling programs. These entries will slow down your machine. This is most important on a fresh hard drive where everything you install leaves useless installation entries in the Registry. Good luck and be careful with the autostart programs.

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Very few programs
by glb613 / March 3, 2005 8:50 PM PST
In reply to: Maintenance

ask if you want them in the startup group. Most of the time they put themselves there during the installation without your knowledge. I suggest people check msconfig after installing new programs and remove any unwanted entries.

Having lots of programs installed doesn't bog down a computer. I have several photo editing programs, media players, games, etc., and my computer runs just fine. No single program does everything and having a variety enhances your use. Computers are made to be used. Having adequate memory, hard drive space and performing regular maintenance will keep things running smoothly.

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by Donata / March 3, 2005 11:07 PM PST
In reply to: Maintenance

Less is better! I've gotten myself in more trouble downloading software off the net. My last one was a free trail of a registry cleaner. I didn't like it & it had an install with the program. I used their uninstall but I constantly had messages popping up that I have errors in my registry & I would have to purchase it to use the program to rid of these errors. I tried everything & I finally had to buy an uninstall program to get rid of the program I installed. The less you put on your computer the healthier it will stay.

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some free trials even some shareware/freeware = bad
by StoneRyno / March 6, 2005 2:37 AM PST
In reply to: Maintenance

There are some out there that can damage your pc. Some will even install spyware or even contain viruses or malicious code. The key to preventing this is to search for reviews and information or ask about the softare in forums such as these about them before installing to make sure that they will not be harmful to your pc.

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new computer
by naples06 / March 3, 2005 9:39 PM PST

just install the most necessary software e.a. OS and drivers for modem, printer, scanner
create an image of these settings using Acronis true imaage ore some other image software and store it in a second HD or in a separate partition.Next you can install all your software.
When everything goes wrong, restore the image at is original location and you can go again


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Coming late to this party, but
by TONI H / March 3, 2005 9:42 PM PST

I'm going to assume that you have a vendor built system rather than a custom built to your personal specifications. If I'm correct, please take a look at this thread here in another CNET forum about the pitfalls you have to protect yourself from with vendor built systems....and things you can do to get things done 'your' way instead of theirs.


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Try Ghost
by jpmcguire1 / March 3, 2005 11:26 PM PST

For the cost of Norton Utilities/Ghost (about $50) and the cost of a second hard drive (about $50), you could save an image of your original hard drive to your new hard drive. If your original HD dies, or if you get clobbered by a virus, you can restore the image from the new hard drive to your original hard drive. You can be back up and running in about 15 minutes. You then just have to restore any data from after your Ghost image was created.

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Keeping PC in check
by law_john / March 4, 2005 9:47 AM PST
In reply to: Try Ghost

I also recently built a PC and it is just over 3 months old. Everything was going well until just the other day when it started up. Only Symantec Antivirus & my network icon showed up in the system tray, however my symantec firewall was/is set to start on boot. My audio controls do not appear either and on top of that the entire toolbar has started to "lock-up" for the first 3-5 minutes after startup.

Does anyone have any ideas whats going on? The pc has been running hot lately...?
I am running an intel based system with windows XP Pro SP2.

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by StoneRyno / March 6, 2005 3:03 AM PST
In reply to: Keeping PC in check

This can be better diagnosed with more information. What protection programs are you running (spyware removers/preventers firewall etc)? What programs are set to load at start up? Before the booting issue did you notice anything unusual or not so ordinary thing occur?

PC temperature will fluctuate with cpu load, ambient temperatures, and if cooling fans, cpu heatsink, and/or case have dust buildup.

Dust is the easiest to take care of. I recommend about once a month checking for dust and blowing it out using some sort of canned air duster like maxell blast away (found at many pc/office supply stores).

Ambient temperatures can be limited by keeping the pc in a cool room around 70F/21C and not confining the pc to an area that allows heat to build up around the case.

CPU load really all depends on what you do with your pc. Games, mp3/video encoding, distributed computing (folding@home, united devices) with increase cpu load.

You really don't have to worry about the temperature unless the cpu is over 140F/60C (my AMD athlon xp 1800+ is rated at 90C max). Case temperature should be quite lower mine is at least 30F/10C lower.

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Programs & Temp.
by law_john / March 7, 2005 7:30 AM PST
In reply to: Temperatures

The only programs set to start on startup are Symantec Corporate Edition Anitvirus, Symantec Client Security Firewall and my LAN connection. I just installed a new fan and that is keeping the CPU temperature down to 40C-46C. Most programs run okay except for Mozilla Firefox & Thunderbird which will not even start. I am begining to wonder if this could be a registry problem as I do have Registry Mechanic 4 and CCleaner running on my machine...???
I am interested to know what you have on/in your PC to keep it cool because my CPU is an Intel 3Ghz HT and it is supposed to run at 30C and below.

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Put it on a good Battery back-up
by marlajune / March 4, 2005 2:05 AM PST

Taking care of the software is great but if it the computer is hooked straight into the wall you're just looking for trouble. 87% of the problems that happen to computers are due to power outages, shortages not spikes and surges. The first thing we tell our customers is "get it on a battery back-up or UPS first".

Marla Riedling
Aries Computers

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From Day One?
by JTHunter / March 4, 2005 12:13 PM PST

Hi Merk.
There is a lot of good advice that I've read in these posts. A couple of points: the XP firewall does NOT block out-going connections. Thus, if you do get a trojan or virus and it "calls home", the XP firewall will not stop it. ZoneAlarm does. Definately get a "Uninteruptible Power Supply" aka UPS or battery pack. They have saved my bacon more than once. Read their suggestions based on computer type and monitor size - then go one size larger. This will allow for upgrades AND additional equipment. I have a good surge arrest (25,000 joules) plugged into my UPS and the transformers for my scanner (not used much), my speakers, and my printer, as well as the power cords for the tower and monitor are ALL plugged into the surge arrest. My system is a 6 yr old 400 mHz P2 w/ a 17" CRT, and I run Norton A/V and ZoneAlarm. In that 6 years, I have never gotten had a problem attributable to worms, viruses, or trojans. Be pro-active! Get ZoneAlarm BEFORE going online from a friend's computer (get them to download it and burn a CD) and install it on yours. Same for AdAware and Spybot Search & Destroy.
If you install these before going online, your chances of having problems is almost nonexistant (unless you have teens using this computer!!). Also, if you are using broadband (DSL/cable) and not dial-up, get a decent router EVEN IF you only have one computer. Its hardware firewall is a good second layer of defence. If you can, get one that also has Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) and/or Network Address Translation (NAT) for the best security. Good luck!

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Day one.
by RGmail / March 6, 2005 6:55 AM PST
In reply to: From Day One?

I would also recommend some sort of tracking application which you may get a free copy of sites such as such as spybot or AdAware from Lavasoft. You'd be surprised how many cookie trackers you'd find if you ran these applications at least once per week.

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by JTHunter / March 6, 2005 1:59 PM PST
In reply to: Day one.

As I'm still using Windows 98, I'm not sure how to do it in XP, but I delete all my cookies in one of 2 ways. The easiest way is to use the Windows key and the letter "F" to open the Find box. Then have it look in your hard drive for "temporary". This will pull up the Temporary Internet folder. Open it, highlight the top item, hold SHIFT key, click on last item, and delete. This clears not only all the cookies but all the CSS, JavaScript (JS), GIF's, JPEG's, and even Shockwave Flash files. The second method is to use IE and go to Tools>Internet Options and on the General tab, in the middle is the Temporary Internet files. Click on the Delete button. While you're at it, click on the Settings button and make sure the file size is at the smallest size (1 mb in W/98). This will unfortunately, also delete any cookies you may be using to automatically login to certain sites.

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