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Urgent Security Advice Needed


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#1 az0000000

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 10:10 AM

Here is my situation,
For some reasons i am on an old AMD Athlon 600 MHz CPU with 512 RAM junk machine (Windows XP SP2 Pro), and will have to stay on it for a while.
After the last virus attack I hardly recovered from, I feel I canít rely anymore on Windows Firewall, it just doesnít do anything to protect me.
I would really appreciate an advice for an alternative Firewall that would be protecting better than Windows Firewall, but would take just as many resources as Windows Firewall does.
Please consider seriously that I am on an old machine and working with monsters like Photoshop, every bit of RAM and CPU power matters to me, and i would kindly ask you to advice me only software you are sure about (not just for advertising purposes), and have tested it and know what you are talking about.

p.s. by the way I am really want to know:
1. How many resources take Windows Firewall and where can I check such data?
2. How exactly can I check if my Windows Firewall is really running (and doesnít just appear as ON in control panel, or Security Center) because after the last attack I am not sure anymore if my firewall is running at allÖ
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#2 Orange Blossom

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 10:31 PM

Hello az0000000 and welcome to BC :flowers:

I'm not sure how much RAM the Windows firewall takes, but I suspect that any third party firewall will use more simply because they guard against both incoming and outgoing traffic.

You can check to see what processes are running in the background and stop any unnecessary ones in order to save RAM; many programs have something run at startup that doesn't need to - those can be changed to manual, or even disabled depending on what it is.

I'm using Sunbelt (formerly Kerio) personal firewall, the paid version, and I have half the amount of RAM that you do. I also use Photoshop, but I do have to be careful not to run too many RAM intensive programs at once. If I had as much RAM as you, I'd think my machine was really humming.

Here are a few free firewalls you might consider. I would suggest trying them out one at a time until you find one that you like and that works with your system. I liked Comodo, but it didn't work well on my system.

Comodo Firewall <-- They call it Pro, but it is free. You do have to register the software.

Sunbelt Personal Firewall <-- Use the free trial download button on the left side of the page. It will operate as the full version for 30 days or so, then certain features will stop. You can see the comparison charts near the bottom of the page to see what will stop running.

Outpost Firewall Free <-- I haven't trialed this one, but many of our members are quite pleased with it.

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#3 Teenage.Zombiee

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 11:29 PM

We have the same sort of PC specs except I have a Pentium 4 processor.
I use ZoneAlarm free. I have found I can run photoshop, iTunes (while listening to music), Opera, firefox with my AV and firewall running in the back without my system being to.. whats the word.. confused (I think)
I try to stop running any programs in the background if I dont need them. Like quicktime, picasa 2, nokia PC suite and just programs that launch on start up that don't really need to.

You can get ZoneAlarm here
Its pretty easy to use and configure. I recommend this for people who just want something that does the job but its pretty user friendly.

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#4 tos226

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 12:00 AM

While I'm a ZA addict, I'd recommend against version 7 of free ZA. The paid versions are fine.
WHY?
The download is large because it includes all the features of the suite. Likewise, the footprint is not tiny any more. Even though disabled from use, those features, FOR SOME PEOPLE, have caused conflicts with other anti-everything applications. It no longer has a small footprint of versions 5 or 6.

If you go with ZA free, download the last version 6.5. It's small, stable and very nice to work with. It offers slightly less protection than, for example, ZA antispyware (which includes a firewall , port contol, if you so wish, as well the the operating system protection and costs about $20), but is not a resource hog.

Here is another link describing release versions and provides download links to the free versions.
http://download.zonelabs.com/bin/free/info...aseHistory.html

Edited by tos226, 10 February 2008 - 12:03 AM.


#5 Teenage.Zombiee

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 12:20 AM

I nearly forgot to mention I don't use version 7 I use whatever version was before (but ZA keeps bugging me to update)
Also ZA firewall can cause conflict with kaspersky Anti Virus

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#6 az0000000

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 05:45 AM

Hello all and thank you for nice advices.
I've been trying to determine which firewall is best for my old computer in terms of resource economy.
So far i understood that there are 3 choices for me and i have to pick one.
I've been told that for older computers there is Jetico, Sunbelt Personal Firewall and older version of Zone Alarm.
Now i am a bit confused trying to guess which one of these 3 is really friendly with my 600Mhz CPU?
Which one will not overload my computer?
Please help me decide.

Also i would like to use this opportunity for asking an essential question that has been bugging me for long time. Is there meaning for me to move from IE6 to IE7? Does IE7 eat more RAM and CPU power than IE6?
Is IE7 more secure anyway?
I am already using quite often Firefox, but sometimes i just need IE.

When last time my Windows Firewall and Security Center were seriously damaged it was IE that created the breach.
I even remember how i simply visited index.html of my own website and got infected in a minute and in couple moments everything was down and i spent half day trying to recover form infection.
Thanks a lot in advance for help.
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#7 Orange Blossom

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 03:08 PM

Hello az0000000,

The best way to find out which firewall is best on your system is to try them out one at a time. Everyone's computer and software configuration is different. Even if two people had the same OS and hardware, the software differences can make one firewall work better on one person's computer, and a different one work better on the other person's.

I am personally hesitant about using older firewalls that are no longer supported because malware writers may have found weaknesses in these older firewalls that they could exploit.

IE7 does seem to use more RAM than IE6, but I rarely use it. I use it primarily for Windows Updates and online security scans. How secure it is depends on how you configure the security settings.

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#8 V e g e t a

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 05:30 PM

Best off trying Zonealarm LAST, as I hear it has uninstallation problems.

#9 az0000000

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 04:38 AM

Hello az0000000,

IE7 does seem to use more RAM than IE6, but I rarely use it. I use it primarily for Windows Updates and online security scans. How secure it is depends on how you configure the security settings.

Orange Blossom :thumbsup:

Thanks,
Does IE7 code-rendering engine work any different than IE6's? I mean will pages be displayed in a different way by IE7 than by IE6? I do web page design, so it is quite a standard for me to test pages in IE6 first.
Thanks.
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#10 Orange Blossom

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 02:19 PM

Hello az0000000,

Your latest question is more appropriate to the programming forum. I'd suggest creating a new topic there concerning code-rendering and the different versions of IE and perhaps other browsers as well.

Orange Blossom :thumbsup:
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#11 az0000000

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 06:28 AM

Hello az0000000,

Your latest question is more appropriate to the programming forum. I'd suggest creating a new topic there concerning code-rendering and the different versions of IE and perhaps other browsers as well.

Orange Blossom :flowers:

Sorry and thanks. :thumbsup:

Edited by az0000000, 12 February 2008 - 06:28 AM.

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