I have a Dell Studio XPS 9100 built 30 June 2011. I've no business building my own (ha!) though I'd love to have the time someday. What I do instead is try to buy invest in value and then protect the heck out of it - getting my return on excessive investment with minimal ownership hassles and maximum lifespan.
I feel that I've done very well with this computer. I update everything all the time: Windows, browsers (primarily a Firefox user), Adobe, Java (crap I'd rather not have I suspect, but I'm not geeky enough to know what's best so I just stay updated and live with it) . . . .
A couple of months ago I was extremely worried about becoming the proud owner of multi-thousand-dollar brick. I was having regular OS crashes on startup or within the first few minutes of startup. Once I got a clean start, I always ran all day with nary a problem. Some discussion on that issue can be found here:
Well, I ran every diagnostic and every-everything that I could think of that might sort out what on earth was causing this. This was about 8 - 10 weeks of pure daily hell - so bad that I was often putting the computer to sleep because I was afraid to turn it off. I probably could have bought a new computer with the value of the time-suck.
And then one day the OS crashes on startup just stopped. I have not had one single glitch of any kind since. I don't know what I did. Every single diagnostic came up clean. I ran every one that I knew and every one that a qualified person suggested. They all said my machine was awsesome - except it obviously wasn't. Anyway, the problem is gone, so yay me.
My suspicion, which I am not qualified to have, is that maybe a Windows update broke something critical and that a later update fixed it.?
Now is an ideal time for me to keep what I have or to make some changes to my 'best practices' for security. Researching all of the options makes my head hurt, so I am looking for some suggestions.
My Avast Interent Suite expires in about a week. I use the paid version, and I also use the paid version of Malwarebytes. Free is nice, but I've no problem putting up the investment of paid versions for crucuial peices of software. I am protecting valuable hardware, programs, files, client data . . . .
I don't like to have and run too many security programs because I don't want to risk introducting conflicts between security programs. I'm happy to run a few, but need to know they will play nice together.
I have always been happy with the paid version of Malwarebytes and am happy to keep it. However, is that still a best choice program or should I consider switching?
(I used to keep their Premium On Call Service on retainer at $200 a year. It was a great value, and though I hardly ever used it, the service was spectacular the couple of times I did use it. Then they either outsourced it or spun it off or something and it went to s... so I dropped that. A shame. The price of having them available 24/7 was good insurance.)
A have always been 'sort of' happy with the paid Avast Internet Security, but never exactly thrilled. I went to Avast after AVG (paid) went through a period of what I considered far subpar protection and I dumped them. I think Avast has always done a decent job, but can't say that I'm in love with it in any way. I've always felt that Avast has blocked malicious email content expertly, but is generally horrible at handling spam (identifying, moving to spam folders, etc.). My Avast Internet Securtity expires in about a week, so that is the timeline that I am on to making my security upgrades and changes.
Is Avast Internet Security a wise choice, or should I be making a better investment? Suggestions?
Should I be running an email specific program? I never have before, but I do have a lot riding on protecting email (lots of folders documenting client instructions, work change orders; i.e., I have tons of emails that need to be protected).
My system backup needs an upgrade. I use the Windows 7 system image and backup files weekly to a rotating set of external hard drives. (One kept in a safe deposit box, the other kept on site in a hidden location, which is plugged in weekly, updated, and then the external drives swapped out. At no time is a backup drive left with the computer.)
Backing up sucks though. The Maxtor software is s... and I'm not thrilled with Windows backup. Maybe my expectations are unrealistic but should some medium-to-high-end backup software be considered that would make that part of my life easier?
All comments and suggestions are welcome. I'm not geeky enough to make qualified decisions, but am geeky enough to know places I can go to get some solid recommendations when I have to make these kinds of critical changes / choices.