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Windows Defender Offline Beta


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#1 JohnO-2011

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 09:59 PM

I've been using both versions of this on a few machines in the shop the last couple weeks and it seems to be working well enough. I like the idea of a simple live-CD scanner. And bonus: it will even update itself before a scan. Documentation says to make a new one every couple weeks, seems like a good idea.

However, it doesn't seem to catch a lot. For example, on Saturday I had a kid's Vista laptop that had been hammered. Win Defender Offline CD found about eight threats. Boot to safe mode, run rkill and MBAM finds....get this....920 threats. Reboot and SuperASW finds 200 more. CCleaner clears over 200 registry problems. Applied SP1 and SP2 and current browsers and it seems to run just fine. Amazing.

I'll keep using the CDs and see what happens.

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 03:15 PM

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 and it takes time for them to be reported, samples collected, analyzed, and tested by anti-vendors. Security vendors use different scanning engines and different detection methods such as heuristic analysis or behavioral analysis which can account for discrepancies in scanning outcomes. Depending on how often the anti-virus database is updated can also account for differences in threat detections.

Further, 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 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.

SuperASW finds 200 more

The detections most likely included a lot of tracking cookies which are not a threat.


CCleaner clears over 200 registry problems

While CCleaner is safe and useful for removing temporary and junk files, I do not recommend using the built-in registry cleaner unless you have a good understanding of the registry. In fact, I don't recommend using 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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#3 Didier Stevens

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 04:34 PM

2 remarks:

CCleaner clears over 200 registry problems.

This Windows Defender Live CD does not load the registry hives, so it does not scan the registry. It only scans files.

Applied SP1 and SP2

Windows Service Packs are cumulative. SP2 includes SP1, so you just need to install the latest SP (SP2 in this case), and not all the released SPs.

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#4 JohnO-2011

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 05:09 PM

Thanks for the SP tip, Didier.

I'm aware that the AVs are looking for different things, that's why I'm using several. WDOB is apparently looking for big stuff. I think it's a good piece of my arsenal, and will continue using it.

As for CCleaner, I've used it on about 50 systems without a single problem. It can make a backup of the registry changes and I always stash those in a good place on the hdd.

I'd like to find a place where people doing this stuff for a living can discuss the tools without the newbie warnings.

Update: Upon further review, that didn't come out right. I appreciate the concerns about registry cleaners in general, and just read all the links. I'll take it into consideration and explore the subject further. I think I can make some before/after tests to confirm my early experience with CCleaner in old XP machines, where it made a big difference in apparent system speed. I get to play with six and eight year old XP systems every day, where I like to think I can rebut the nay-sayers. LOL, we'll see, I'm willing to be wrong.

I also meant the "place to discuss" thing separately. My apologies.

Edited by JohnO-2011, 09 February 2012 - 07:24 PM.


#5 quietman7

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:05 PM

I'd like to find a place where people doing this stuff for a living can discuss the tools without the newbie warnings.

JohnO-2011

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#6 JohnO-2011

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:30 PM

Gotcha. I misunderstood the tech level, no worries on my end.




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