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Improving the PC


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#1 Seda

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 04:58 PM

Right then, on to business. I've come on here to recieve a personal opinion from all of you for some things. The reason as to why is that trying to find a "reliable" source for information has become an impossibility on collecting information. So far, I'm very concerned if this labtop o' mine is even secure in the first place, with the random stuff that's been happening. So, I'll cut to the chase and list everything nice and bulleted for you folks.

-Number One - The Bastion of Security
So far, I've been using McAfee Antivirus Plus as my means to combat viruses. In the beginning it worked so far, but after the 2010 update that changed the entire inteface and features that it provides, I've seen evidence that McAfee no longer suits my needs for security. Reasons are as follows:

1. The new interface is rather clunky and navigation is supposed to be clear, but I find it bothersome to find the page where it even shows what virus infected me in the first place. I did eventually, but the time I had could have been invested elsewhere.

2. Starting my labtop now takes a bit, and when my Action Center pops up (usually 10 minutes after the initial startup) it says that I do not have any virus protection, citing McAfee is off. I check in with McAfee while this message displays and indicates that this is indeed on. I guessed that this must be because my computer was unable to find McAfee in the first place and then tell me it is on, but everytime I turn my labtop on, the message always displays.
-Investigation into this problem was plausible. Some said the computer didn't find McAfee scanners, so they pointed to slow start up. So I fixed Start Up programs turning off many that didn't need to be on (found one that could have been a virus -QuickSet- as pointed out to BleepingComputer's blacklisted startup programs) and found things to run rather faster. But still, McAfee still does not appear to be on my computer's radar until another minute has gone by.

This has led me to believe that McAfee isn't doing its job on Startup, leaving me vulnerable to attack. I poked around on McAfee's internet forums and indeed found the same question. However, the answer given clearly and the reason did not make sense. So I'm asking around if someone else has had the problems.

3. McAfee's virus protection seems low key to me. It keeps picking up false Java Variables now and then, and scan time are slightly longer than with Malwarebyte's full scan, Malwarebyte's ranging from 1 hour and 30 minutes : McAfee taking 1 hour and 55 minutes. What makes me question McAfee's effectiveness even more is due to the fact that SiteAdvisor does not work right from the get go. Meaning as I open a website the SiteAdvisor Bar within the Internet Frame is grayed out, but then usually turns Green. May seem harmless, but I'm gathering all the information I can.

4. Updates
There's some trouble getting Updates for McAfee maunally. I click the Update button, choose to update now and wait. The screen shows the searching for updates, but then cancels out requiring me to click the update button again and search for updates. Sometimes it does go through, but when downloading updates it will cancel out as well. Sometimes it just works and I don't need to do anything. It's rather bothersome and I find it suspicious sometimes.

5. General Appeal to People
I've read the reviews. I've read all of them. Mostly 3.5 starts out of 5, some just plain saying it's terrible. I've talked to my online friends about it, and they too agree that McAfee is ineffective and "clunky" compared to other anti-virus systems. I'm starting to agree too as I continue to experience more than my fair share of problems.

And that's why I'm asking for a personal opinion on a possible new Anti-Virus product. So far I've heard...

1. Bit Defender - Has gotten high results, good reviews, and is said to be a very all around product.
2. Kaspersky - I was recommended by this to a friend of mine, and was impressed what it had to offer, was going to a trial but realized it had to remove McAfee because of compatibility.
3. Avast! - This too recommended to me by a friend. Says it's free and does the job.
4. Malwarebytes Full Version - Very impressed by simplicity, great results and information it provides along with general good reputation.
5. AVG AntiVirus - Heard about this from a friend, little input rather than it's possibly better than McAfee.

I'd like to hear what people have to say along with the tech-people here, knowing experience in the field of AntiVirus Software helps them to make a decision.

McAfee came with this computer, and the same with our family computer, although more buggy. Our family computer used to work great with McAfee, but then an attack rendered it useless and to this day I question its effectiveness, seeing as we can't update it without getting definitions manually. To counter this, we got Stopzilla which got rid of the problem, but then we questioned Stopzilla's effectivess as it slowed everything down along with scans that showed little success in catching what we had. So then I got Malwarebytes on there, scanned, found the viruses, and hopefully got rid of them. Still suffers from blue screens when trying to scan, but I guess it's nearly time to reformat it, seeing as it is bogged down with sooo much junk. This may be an issue for another time.

-Hardware-
Everything passed accorinding to the new Dell Action Center's performance Scan. I'm reasonable with the results that everything is fine.

-Startup Programs-
Disabled what I could, and researched things I didn't. QuickSet was one of these, seeing if a SafeMode scan will catch something later. Will post results at a later time.

-Registry Keys-
According to UniBlue Registry Booster, I have over 200 registry errors. And looking at them I see many with word McAfee in it. Does anyone else use this program and can I judge its relibleness before I consider it a rational purchase? It seems this may be the biggest problem with my computer so far.

Generally, I'm happy with my current labtop, but I'm starting to realize that there's stuff better than what I have and it seems what I have just doesn't cut it anymore. After much fustration, I find relief knowing this site is dedicated to finding out what's wrong and what's best for the computer user of today. My apologies for such a long read, but I hope someone else could make good use of this information to help themselves.

If you need any additional information, just let me know. I'm not savvy with computers, but I'm doing the best I can with the resources I have.

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#2 Seda

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 05:00 PM

If this post isn't in the right forums, I'm terribly sorry.


EDIT: moved to more appropriate forum,AntiVirus, Firewall and Privacy Products and Protection Methods ~~boopme

Edited by boopme, 26 November 2010 - 05:06 PM.


#3 Zuhl3156

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 05:23 PM

Here is a list of trial versions of Windows approved anti-virus/anti-spyware programs.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/antivirus-partners/windows-7.aspx
Try one and if you like it use it. If you don't like it, try another. I chose AVG because I like the fact that it removes 'Tracking Cookies'. When everyone was having CAPI2 errors from an outdated certificate, AVG removed the bad certs from my Google Chrome cache and my errors were gone. Everyone else had problems for weeks. I also like the fact that when I have a problem or question, their support answers by email within 24 hrs. I purchased a two year AVG AV/AS license and install CD from Walmart for under $50 before the Free version was available so I will continue to like it until next Aug 11. The only thing the free version lacks is the support, I think. Try to choose from the MSFT approved list because there are many bogus security programs that actually install viruses.

#4 quietman7

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 11:43 PM

Choosing an anti-virus is a matter of personal preference, your technical ability and experience, features offered, user friendliness, ease of updating, ease of installation/removal, available technical support from the vendor and price. Other factors to consider include detection rates, effectiveness, the amount of resources it utilizes, how it may affect system performance and what will work best for your system. A particular anti-virus that works well for one person may not work as well for another. There is no universal "one size fits all" solution that works for everyone. You may need to experiment and find the one most suitable for your needs. For more specific information to consider, please read Choosing Your Anti-virus Software.

No single product is 100% foolproof and can prevent, detect and remove all threats at any given time. Just because one anti-virus detected threats that another missed, does not mean its more effective. The security community is in a constant state of change as new infections appear. Each vendor has its own definition of what constitutes malware and scanning your computer using different criteria will yield different results. The fact that each program has its own definition files means that some malware may be picked up by one that could be missed by another. Thus, a multi-layered defense using several anti-spyware products (including an effective firewall) to supplement your anti-virus combined with common sense, safe computing and safe surfing habits provides the most complete protection.


My personal choice is NOD32 Anti-Virus if choosing a paid for program as it leaves a small foortprint or one of the following if choosing a free alternative.Kaspersky is a very good choice too but the new version of AVG has a lot of issues and is receiving numerous complaints.

I recommend taking advantage of the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Protection Module in the full version which uses advanced heuristic scanning technology to monitor your system and provide real-time protection to prevent the installation of most new malware. This technology runs at startup where it monitors every process and helps stop malicious processes before they can infect your computer. The database that defines the heuristics is updated as often as there is something to add to it. Keep in mind that Malwarebytes does not act as a real-time protection scanner for every file like an anti-virus program so it is intended to be a supplement, not a substitute. Enabling the Protection Module feature requires registration and purchase of a license key that includes free lifetime upgrades and support. After activation, Malwarebytes can be set to update itself and schedule scans automatically on a daily basis. The Protection Module is not intrusive as it utilizes few system resources and should not conflict with other scanners or anti-virus programs. If you choose the free version, you can just use it as a stand-alone scanner, however, Malwarebytes' service (mbamservice.exe) will still show in Task Manager which is normal.
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#5 Zuhl3156

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 08:30 AM

I forgot that you mentioned UniBlue Registry booster claimed to have found 200 Registry errors. Contrary to their website claim, Microsoft does not approve the use of any Registry boosters nor do they endorse UniBlue. IMO you should remove UniBlue before it causes any real damage to your OS forcing you to do a fresh total re-install. If you actually had that many Registry errors, your system probably wouldn't even boot.

Edited by Zuhl3156, 27 November 2010 - 08:33 AM.


#6 quietman7

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 09:10 AM

Bleeping Computer DOES NOT recommend the use of registry cleaners/optimizers for several reasons:

• Registry cleaners are extremely powerful applications that can damage the registry by using aggressive cleaning routines and cause your computer to become unbootable.

The Windows registry is a central repository (database) for storing configuration data, user settings and machine-dependent settings, and options for the operating system. It contains information and settings for all hardware, software, users, and preferences. Whenever a user makes changes to settings, file associations, system policies, or installed software, the changes are reflected and stored in this repository. The registry is a crucial component because it is where Windows "remembers" all this information, how it works together, how Windows boots the system and what files it uses when it does. The registry is also a vulnerable subsystem, in that relatively small changes done incorrectly can render the system inoperable. For a more detailed explanation, read Understanding The Registry.

• Not all registry cleaners are created equal. There are a number of them available but they do not all work entirely the same way. Each vendor uses different criteria as to what constitutes a "bad entry". One cleaner may find entries on your system that will not cause problems when removed, another may not find the same entries, and still another may want to remove entries required for a program to work.

• Not all registry cleaners create a backup of the registry before making changes. If the changes prevent the system from booting up, then there is no backup available to restore it in order to regain functionality. A backup of the registry is essential BEFORE making any changes to the registry.

• Improperly removing registry entries can hamper malware disinfection and make the removal process more difficult if your computer becomes infected. For example, removing malware related registry entries before the infection is properly identified can contribute to system instability and even make the malware undetectable to removal tools.

• The usefulness of cleaning the registry is highly overrated and can be dangerous. In most cases, using a cleaner to remove obsolete, invalid, and erroneous entries does not affect system performance but it can result in "unpredictable results".

Unless you have a particular problem that requires a registry edit to correct it, I would suggest you leave the registry alone. Using registry cleaning tools unnecessarily or incorrectly could lead to disastrous effects on your operating system such as preventing it from ever starting again. For routine use, the benefits to your computer are negligible while the potential risks are great.
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#7 Seda

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 01:20 PM

To check for that QuickSet potential backdoor, your site said trying using a registry scan. Clicking it lead me to UniBlue, but I'll ttake your word for it. Uninstalled it.

Thanks for the info thus far. Still trying to tweak everything the best I can. Still unable to figure out why my Action Center keeps saying McAfee is off when the computer starts up, unless everyone agrees its just due to a slow startup and the computer doesn't detect it.

#8 Seda

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 02:01 PM

I got the Full Version of Malewarebytes. Thanks for the recommendation. Everything seems stable for now, just the slow start up. I'm still looking into that, but you've convinced me to give McAfee some more time on the defense before I try anything else.

Thank you.

#9 quietman7

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 03:46 PM

You can always check with Mcafee Free Technical Support or ask at McAfee Communities.
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#10 Seda

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 11:50 PM

That's funny. I ran the McAfee Virtual Scan, and Results state that I don't even have a McAfee product installed. But it did list that there was a problem downloading updates from the Server.

"McAfee Virtual Technician did not find any products that it can scan. Do you need to install one of the following prodcuts or suites?"

It then gives a list of McAfee products, with a yes or no option.

That seems a bit off.

Edited by Seda, 27 November 2010 - 11:53 PM.


#11 quietman7

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 09:30 AM

The server may be busy but again those are issues you should be able to confirm with McAfee tech support.
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#12 Seda

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 02:29 PM

Thank you so much for the information and links to the Technical Support Quietman7. I got some help from a McAfee Technician and he was able to resolve the issues I had.

The other problems I've been having are just little things that don't need to be worried over.

Thanks. :D

#13 quietman7

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 03:37 PM

You're welcome. Safe surfing and have a malware free day. :thumbup2:
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