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New laptop - Need essential upkeep tools

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#1 clanderson


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:57 AM

Well hey.

I just got a new laptop and was planning on getting AVG Free and Malwarebytes (Licensed) as base cleanup tools.
Are there any suggestions on some essential clean-up software? Like maybe a good registry cleaner? I dono!

Edited by hamluis, 06 April 2012 - 03:43 PM.
Merged topics, moved from Win 7 to AV, Firewall.

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#2 rotor123


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:32 AM

Some thoughts. Nothing is going to protect you 100%, see below.

I just ran some antivirus scans on a infected computer for a friend.
1. Malwarebytes = nothing found
2. Eset online scan = cleaned a bunch of junk
3. Malwarebytes again = Found 2 things now
4. Super Antispyware = more nasties
5. Trend Micro housecall = more nasties
6. Microsoft Security essentials = found one more trojan (fake AV)
7. At this point I suggested a backup of data and a full reload.

I only list the above to show why being cautious is needed.

I would add Web of Trust to your list
It isn't always accurate but in conjunction with common sense while searching it can help.
I stay away from yellow, red and unrated sites.

I run Norton Antivirus with Antispyware, WOT, Firefox with the NoScript Add On http://noscript.net/

The NoScript Firefox extension provides extra protection for Firefox, Seamonkey and other mozilla-based browsers: this free, open source add-on allows JavaScript, Java, Flash and other plugins to be executed only by trusted web sites of your choice (e.g. your online bank).

Other things you can do include a host file that will block known malicious websites.
Use the challenge / response system for email attachments.

Only install things you need.
Do not click anywhere on a popup. A malicious popup offering a free security scan for example can take a click anywhere as OK including a cancel button or the red X in the corner. If that happens just close the browser and reboot.

Good Luck and enjoy the computer

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#3 Akthalian


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:18 AM

The important thing to remember is that no assortment of tools will provide you a 100% solution; there is no "cookie-cutter" way to prevent and remove malicious infection.

The best recommendation I would have would be to remove AVG free and replace it with a "retail" security product (which essentially means one that you pay for). To illustrate the difference, look at what you get with MBAM Pro compared to free: a whole lot for a very small fee. Most retail security products can be purchased for less than 40 dollars per year, and the feature sets from quality vendors (Norton, Eset, Kaspersky, AVG Internet Security, etc) will often be more than worth their cost.

Ccleaner is a great suggestion as far as for making sure that browser data that may be malicious (including flash cookies/cache, etc) is removed easily from your system. Ccleaner also supports command line syntax so you can set it up to run automatically at a certain time using Task Scheduler.

I would highly caution AGAINST using a large sweet of "removal tools" since IT professionals (such as myself) rarely if ever will use upwards of 5 different tools to do the same job. The only variance occurs when you need tools for a specialized infection (TDSSKIller for instance) or for rootkits (GMER). Focus on finding something that protects your system and then follow safe practices and you will avoid the need to burden your system with a ton of tools you won't use and in the case of many users, don't fully understand.

As far as general upkeep goes, you can again use a retail security product (such as Norton 360) that contains PC tune up features which will perform routine maintenance when your PC is not in use. This is a boon for most of us who don't like to manually perform these steps or don't want to go through a long process to automate them in Windows.

A small investment and safe prices will be your best method for keeping your new PC in tip top shape.

PS. Have you optimized your Windows Services yet? If not, that would be a prime step I would take in making your PC perform better and be more secure. Just like you don't want to leave unused ports open on your firewall, you do not need to run certain Windows services which can serve as vulnerability points or cause performance degradation.
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#4 Akthalian


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:21 AM

I run Norton Antivirus with Antispyware, WOT, Firefox with the NoScript Add On http://noscript.net/

The NoScript Firefox extension provides extra protection for Firefox, Seamonkey and other mozilla-based browsers: this free, open source add-on allows JavaScript, Java, Flash and other plugins to be executed only by trusted web sites of your choice (e.g. your online bank).

This is also a fantastic suggestion. If you don't like firefox, chrome would be the next best choice, as it implements a technology called "browser sandboxing" in a superior manner to internet explorer and I would argue better than firefox. However, if you are a firefox person, NoScript is a must have for the discerning internet user.

Sandboxing in Chrome: http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/more/security.html
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#5 hamluis



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Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:42 PM

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.
For ideas on how best to protect your system...I will move this topic to AV, Firewall, etc.


#6 Pizza and Pepsi

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:10 PM

As hamluis said, registry cleaners are dangerous and should not be used.

Another clean-up tool you may want is Ccleaner, but do not use the registry cleaner part of it.

You should also try out Super-Antispyware.
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#7 quietman7


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Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:47 AM

Supplementing your Anti-Virus Program with Anti-Malware Tools

I just got a new laptop and was planning on getting AVG Free

I have been disappointed with AVG ever since they made a decision in April 2010 to partner with LimeWire and promote the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, a security risk which can make your system susceptible to a smörgåsbord of malware infections, remote attacks, and exposure of personal information.

With the release of AVG 2011/2012, there have been numerous complaints about issues and conflicts with other security tools like Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware. Unlike previous versions, AVG 2011 cannot be easily disabled to prevent it from interfering with other security tools. Read these related discussions:Even MajorGeeks, a popular download hosting site, had issued a Statement on AVG Free 2011 and removed its Editor's Pick listing at that time.

There have been reports of issues with the computer starting properly on 64-bit Windows sytems for which AVG has had to release these fix instructions.

There have also been reported problems with computers after using new features like PC Analyzer and PC Tuneup which purport to fix registry errors in order to make the system more stable and various optimizing tools which can make changes to system settings.

For these reasons, I no longer recommend AVG as a free alternative.
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