New Windows user needs help with security software


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Hello,

I'm a fifteen-year Macintosh user and have never owned a Windows-based computer. I have a 13.3" MacBook laptop. Windows-based computers are completely new to me.
Within the next couple of days I will be buying an HP laptop for use with an electronic sign-making machine, the Summa D75, which comes with a program called WinPlot.

I guess I'll have to start worrying about viruses, malware, spyware, and possibly other things.

Viruses are not an issue with Macs so I need to know which antivirus software package(s) is best going to protect my HP and at the same time not have any incompatibilities with either the sign cutter or with WinPlot. I don't care so much about the price of the anti-virus software as I do about its capability.

If you had a new HP laptop what would you install software-wise to make it as bulletproof as possible?

And which HP would you get? I'll need to have a big monitor, say, 15.5". It'll need to have 4GB RAM, about a 2GHz processor, at least a 500GB HD, good size video card.

What other things should I be considering?

Thanks,
Walldog
 
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catilley1092

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Walldog, welcome to the forum! AV's are a matter of opinion, I can't positively say who is best. The one that you are most comfortable with and will USE properly will go a long way, along with safe computing practices. As far as your laptop goes, the most expensive, business class HP will be best for you, considering that you've been a 15 year Mac user. Price is what you should be considering. What you are expecting won't be less than $2,500, perhaps as high as $3,000 or more. I honestly wonder if you will be satisfied, no matter the price. You will find that Windows requires a lot of maintenance, to keep malware and viruses away. It is a daily threat to us, even though Microsoft issues security patches and fixes. The bad guys don't give up easily. But if you have a quality AV and a separate malware scanner, and use them both on a daily basis, not weekly or monthly, you can stay fairly safe. Scan every download or attachment coming to you, and don't dare to open spam links in your email box(es). These are just the basics to get you started, not an entire list of everything you must do to keep your system virus, malware and spyware free.
 

davehc

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15.5 is fairly standard. I would be looking at at least 17. (Mine, an Acer, is 21 inch) I have little experience of HP's, bu one of my family has a 17 inch dv9000z, which performs beautifully and has all the Windows 7 drivers installed.
Microsoft Security Essentials is creeping up the benchmarks. It is extremelylight on resopurces and is scheduled for daily definition updates.Microsoft also now have a Malware protection progam which never shows itself and runs in the background. Firewalls should also be considered. IMO they all pretty much provide the same facilities. I use only my router firewall, which, apparently, seems to do the trick.
 

catilley1092

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MSE is my main AV, and it's dependable, although some don't like it because it's free. There's a small group that considers free software is no good. This is false, I have plenty of "free" software that outperforms some of what I've paid for. Regardless of price, you must be careful about what you install on your computer. I get flooded with emails on a weekly basis from software sellers, most of which I ignore. And please, don't fall for the "registry cleaner" scams. There are many of them around, and I stay away from them.
 

Nibiru2012

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Let's discuss a few things here:

1. MACs are vulnerable to viruses also. It just that the people who write them usually don't mess with MAC because why waste all that effort for about 5% of the total computer user base. So that is an old wive's tale. Why does Norton and McAfee sell MAC AV software?

See this from CNET dated from Dec 1,2008:
Apple is recommending that Mac users install antivirus software.
But don't read this as an admission that the Mac operating system is suddenly insecure. It's more a recognition that Mac users are vulnerable to Web application exploits, which have replaced operating system vulnerabilities as the bigger threat to computer users.
On November 21 Apple updated a technical note on its Support Web site that says: "Apple encourages the widespread use of multiple antivirus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one application to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult."
The item offers three software suggestions: Intego VirusBarrier X5 and Symantec Norton Anti-Virus 11 for Macintosh, both available from the Apple Online Store, and McAfee VirusScan for Mac.
2. The best rated laptops are Toshiba, Acer and Lenovo. Choose from amongst those three and you won't have any issues. HP are not rated that well, they have about a 29-30% repair record after a couple of years. You don't have to have an HP to get the job done. Toshiba and Acer make the best rated laptops available.

3. You won't have to spend tons of money to get a great laptop with the features you want. Certainly not $2500-3000 that's for sure! If you were going to spend that much you might as well get a MAC notebook.

You'll probably spend around $1000-1500 for a top-notch notebook with a large LCD widescreen. I saw a Toshiba at Newegg for $1499 with a 18.4" widescreen. You can get ones with smaller screens for around $1100 or even less.

These laptops all come loaded with Windows 7 Home Premium which should fit your needs, unless you actually need the features of Windows 7 Professional

4. Windows 7 is NOT HIGH MAINTENANCE by any means, so don't pay attention to that piece of mis-information It only becomes high maintenance if ONE CHOOSES to make it that way. (But then again, we can make anything be high maintenance if we choose to, right?) :rolleyes:

ALL anti-virus and security programs can be enabled to run their scans silently in the background while you do your other tasks, or you can have them run scans at night while you're asleep. My AV and security run scans on a weekly basis and I have NO ISSUES at all. (I surf a lot of places, "pushing the envelope" so to speak and have no problems at all.

A good AV or internet security program will catch the nasties before they ever have a chance to do their work. The user can set the scans settings to run on a daily or weekly basis or choose their own custom settings.

Read the attached RAR file from AV Comparatives.org. It will give you a good idea about different AV solutions. I would recommend either ESET Smart Security or G Data. G Data is VERY competitively priced too! About $29 for a one year 3 PC license! But then it's your choice. Even Microsoft Security Essentials gets a good rating and it's free.


I hope you make all the rights choices that are good for you. Remember, you won't need to break the wallet to get a great laptop with the features you require. Don't let the "high maintenance" stuff scare you away either, because it's just not true. There are several good anti-virus and internet security programs out there. Just find the one that suits your needs and such.

BTW, welcome to the Windows 7 forum website! :ciao:
 

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catilley1092

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Let's discuss a few things here:

1. MACs are vulnerable to viruses also. It just that the people who write them usually don't mess with MAC because why waste all that effort for about 5% of the total computer user base. So that is an old wive's tale. Why does Norton and McAfee sell MAC AV software?

See this from CNET dated from Dec 1,2008:
2. The best rated laptops are Toshiba, Acer and Lenovo. Choose from amongst those three and you won't have any issues. HP are not rated that well, they have about a 29-30% repair record after a couple of years. You don't have to have an HP to get the job done. Toshiba and Acer make the best rated laptops available.

3. You won't have to spend tons of money to get a great laptop with the features you want. Certainly not $2500-3000 that's for sure! If you were going to spend that much you might as well get a MAC notebook.

You'll probably spend around $1000-1500 for a top-notch notebook with a large LCD widescreen. I saw a Toshiba at Newegg for $1499 with a 18.4" widescreen. You can get ones with smaller screens for around $1100 or even less.

These laptops all come loaded with Windows 7 Home Premium which should fit your needs, unless you actually need the features of Windows 7 Professional

4. Windows 7 is NOT HIGH MAINTENANCE by any means, so don't pay attention to that piece of mis-information It only becomes high maintenance if ONE CHOOSES to make it that way. (But then again, we can make anything be high maintenance if we choose to, right?) :rolleyes:

ALL anti-virus and security programs can be enabled to run their scans silently in the background while you do your other tasks, or you can have them run scans at night while you're asleep. My AV and security run scans on a weekly basis and I have NO ISSUES at all. (I surf a lot of places, "pushing the envelope" so to speak and have no problems at all.

A good AV or internet security program will catch the nasties before they ever have a chance to do their work. The user can set the scans settings to run on a daily or weekly basis or choose their own custom settings.

Read the attached RAR file from AV Comparatives.org. It will give you a good idea about different AV solutions. I would recommend either ESET Smart Security or G Data. G Data is VERY competitively priced too! About $29 for a one year 3 PC license! But then it's your choice. Even Microsoft Security Essentials gets a good rating and it's free.


I hope you make all the rights choices that are good for you. Remember, you won't need to break the wallet to get a great laptop with the features you require. Don't let the "high maintenance" stuff scare you away either, because it's just not true. There are several good anti-virus and internet security programs out there. Just find the one that suits your needs and such.

BTW, welcome to the Windows 7 forum website! :ciao:
Evidently the OP, being a 15 year Mac user, needs an app that won't run on a Mac, otherwise, most Mac users sticks with them. At one time I wanted one, but their bargain basement laptop costs $999 + tax + shipping = $1,100 + a warranty. Or there is the possibility that the OP is tired of messing with Macs and decided to switch. Perhaps as the thread goes on, that will be revealed. At the very least, Pro is in order for the member. And it IS a lot of work in maintaining Windows. It's not backbreaking work, but everything isn't completely automated. Defragging can be setup to be, and your AV can be, too. But I want to manually see these scans take place. And the option to delete your browsing history and temporary internet files, your system's temporary files, downloads, and so on is best done daily by an app such as CCleaner. You can choose to overwrite these files as many as 35 times (the Guttman method). Many users think that the delete option to the Recycle Bin is the end of things. This is false, the OP mentioned security here, that's an important part of security, is overwriting the files as they are being deleted. I make a lot of internet purchases, and I don't want any leftover data here for the bad guys to obtain. You can actually still pull up the data, but being that is has been overwritten so many times, it's just a scrambled bunch of code. My point is that while I may take things to the extreme with my daily regimen of scanning, scanning, and more scanning; it is a incorrect assumption that you can automate everything, and trust that all will be taken care of by doing so. Windows 7 is a great OS, the best that Microsoft has produced, but you must maintain it to keep it that way. The theory of a one-click maintenance solution has been bounced around, but it will never become reality.
 
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Nibiru2012

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At the very least, Pro is in order for the member.
Not necessarily, Home Premium will work for what he is doing. As I said in the previous post, he can order Pro installed on the laptop from the manufacturer.

And it IS a lot of work in maintaining Windows. It's not backbreaking work, but everything isn't completely automated.
It is NOT a lot of work to maintain Windows. No not everything is automated, but using CCleaner once a day will do the trick to rid one of browsing history and temp files. downloads, etc. And CCleaner gives the Guttman option too. The DOD option is perfectly able to do the part of eliminating any traces. The Gutmann is used if you're really paranoid and are afraid someone will take apart your hard drive and examine it's platters with an electron microscope.

The theory of a one-click maintenance solution has been bounced around, but it will never become reality.
It seems to work for the vast majority of uber geeks I know. These are programmers, IT people, members of TechNet, etc.
 

catilley1092

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Not necessarily, Home Premium will work for what he is doing. As I said in the previous post, he can order Pro installed on the laptop from the manufacturer.



It is NOT a lot of work to maintain Windows. No not everything is automated, but using CCleaner once a day will do the trick to rid one of browsing history and temp files. downloads, etc. And CCleaner gives the Guttman option too. The DOD option is perfectly able to do the part of eliminating any traces. The Gutmann is used if you're really paranoid and are afraid someone will take apart your hard drive and examine it's platters with an electron microscope.



It seems to work for the vast majority of uber geeks I know. These are programmers, IT people, members of TechNet, etc.
Ordering Pro from the OEM would be expensive, around $300 extra. You can do the Anytime Upgrade for less than $100, it takes less than 10 minutes, and your satisfaction is guaranteed.
 

Nibiru2012

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Toshiba charges $75 to upgrade to Win 7 Pro on their laptops.

$300 is what one would pay for the Full Retail 2-disc set.
Satellite P500-ST6844

includes: 18.4" Widescreen LCD

  • Intel® Core™ i3-330M Processor
  • Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium
  • 4GB DDR3 memory
  • 320GB hard drive
  • Intel® Integrated Graphics
  • DVD SuperMulti drive
  • 802.11n wireless
  • Integrated webcam
  • Premium Fusion® Finish
$1099 plus Free Shipping! Sounds like a great deal to me!
 

Kalario

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Not necessarily, Home Premium will work for what he is doing. As I said in the previous post, he can order Pro installed on the laptop from the manufacturer.



It is NOT a lot of work to maintain Windows. No not everything is automated, but using CCleaner once a day will do the trick to rid one of browsing history and temp files. downloads, etc. And CCleaner gives the Guttman option too. The DOD option is perfectly able to do the part of eliminating any traces. The Gutmann is used if you're really paranoid and are afraid someone will take apart your hard drive and examine it's platters with an electron microscope.



It seems to work for the vast majority of uber geeks I know. These are programmers, IT people, members of TechNet, etc.
Hey Nibiru...

Can you vouch for CCleaner? I looked at it and don't like where it says it comes with 'Registry cleaner'. I really don't like anything messing with my registry.

Kalario
 

catilley1092

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:):)Kalario, you don't have to use the registry cleaner function if you don't want to. I don't use it myself. The main thing I use it for is securely deleting temporary files, system temporary files, clearing the Recycle Bin, clearing downloads, etc. You can overwrite the data up to 35 times for total privacy. You can also use it to uninstall programs, stop startup items, keep up with restore points. The good outweighs the bad. I use the file cleaner on a daily basis. Speaking of file cleaners, it will show you places where massive amounts of useless data is that you can safely delete. You cannot delete a critical file that your computer or OS depends on. Hope this helps, Kalario!:)
 
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I will vouch for CCleaner.

I have used the registry cleaner and the regular maintenance cleaning. I have used the startup program remover as well as the System Restore Points remover. Over the last 6 months running CCleaner every week or so and have had no issues. One last note, I have not made any changes to the settings of CCleaner that would make it operate differently from a default install.
 
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Thanks catilley1092 and Nibiru2010.

There is one of these Toshibas you listed at a big box store near me and I'm going to go look at it tomorrow. The only difference is that it says it has an i7 processor and the price is $899.99.

The reason I need to get a Windows-based computer is because I'm going to be running a couple of Windows signmaking software packages on it. I could use my Mac—there are Mac signmaking apps but not many people use them, and I've been informed that electronic signmaking is pretty much a "Windows environment" and that if I expect much support it's going to be much better if I set it all up in Windows.

That's ok. I'm going to be taking some web design courses at a local community college and the computers in the web design labs are PCs. Also, I want to learn CorelDRAW (PC only) and I want to have MS Office 2007 with Access (MS Office 2008 for Macintosh does not have Access).

I've been doing some more investigating on the AV/Internet Security apps today and PC magazine rates Norton Internet Security 2010 4.5 out of 5 and so I may go with that. There is a local rebate that brings the price down to $29.99.

I don't know if it is important to mention that my Internet connection is a Verizon USB727 air card.

I couldn't open up that AV/Security review file you sent to me, Nibiru2010.
 

catilley1092

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Sounds good, Walldog! The only problem I see is not with your choice of laptop, but with Verizon Wireless. They have a 5GB cap, but most of the ISP's for laptops are like this. You need to take advantage of any decent hotspots that you can. Starbucks, Panera Bread and McDonalds are good ones, as well as your local library. Take full advantage of these connections, so that you won't exceed your cap. Best of luck to you, and I hope that you enjoy Windows 7. It is the best OS that Microsoft has produced, and it's easy to learn.
 

Nibiru2012

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I resent the file as a ZIP file this time to see if it will work for ya now! :cool:
 

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Got new Toshiba

Well, I got my new Toshiba laptop. I didn't see any kind of install disk(s) with it. I got two Mac OS 10 install disks with my MacBook. Should there have been one or two included with the Toshiba?

The Verizon technical support guy walked me through updating my USB727 aircard and getting the software downloaded onto my Toshiba. I downloaded Firefox, and also Safari, which I'll use as my default browser.

When I was setting it up I had to enter a user name and a password. I'm required now to enter the password to use the computer. Is there a way to disable that requirement? There also are some chimes every so often—how do you disable that other than turning the volume down?

As is turned out I bought Kaspersky Internet Security 2010. It says in the Quick Start Guide that I must uninstall "any firewall and other anti-virus products" that are now installed on my computer before installing Kaspersky. I went to Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features and looked at what was on the computer now. The only thing that could recognize was Norton. Are there any other kinds of anti-virus software that are probably installed that I might not recognize the name of since I'm a new Windows user? If not, I'll just uninstall Norton's and then install Kaspersky. Is it likely that I'll have to go to the Kaspersky website and download any recent upgrades or patches?

Are there any preinstalled programs that are better to uninstall? I see Microsoft Works and a few other things that I know I won't be using and I'm thinking that I'd like to have the computer as uncluttered as possible.

I know a lot of this stuff is elementary and I'm planning to buy some kind of Windows 7 book like Windows 7 for Dummies. Is something like that ok or do you know of a better book?

Thanks,
Walldog
 

Nibiru2012

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You can go to the User Accounts in the Control Panel and enter your existing password and then enter no password in the "New Password" field and it will be disabled.

Download PC Decrapifier and run it, it will show the programs that are loaded and give you the options to uninstall them.
 

catilley1092

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Well, I got my new Toshiba laptop. I didn't see any kind of install disk(s) with it. I got two Mac OS 10 install disks with my MacBook. Should there have been one or two included with the Toshiba?

The Verizon technical support guy walked me through updating my USB727 aircard and getting the software downloaded onto my Toshiba. I downloaded Firefox, and also Safari, which I'll use as my default browser.

When I was setting it up I had to enter a user name and a password. I'm required now to enter the password to use the computer. Is there a way to disable that requirement? There also are some chimes every so often—how do you disable that other than turning the volume down?

As is turned out I bought Kaspersky Internet Security 2010. It says in the Quick Start Guide that I must uninstall "any firewall and other anti-virus products" that are now installed on my computer before installing Kaspersky. I went to Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features and looked at what was on the computer now. The only thing that could recognize was Norton. Are there any other kinds of anti-virus software that are probably installed that I might not recognize the name of since I'm a new Windows user? If not, I'll just uninstall Norton's and then install Kaspersky. Is it likely that I'll have to go to the Kaspersky website and download any recent upgrades or patches?

Are there any preinstalled programs that are better to uninstall? I see Microsoft Works and a few other things that I know I won't be using and I'm thinking that I'd like to have the computer as uncluttered as possible.

I know a lot of this stuff is elementary and I'm planning to buy some kind of Windows 7 book like Windows 7 for Dummies. Is something like that ok or do you know of a better book?

Thanks,
Walldog
In the Start Menu on a lot of newer Windows based computers, there's an option to create a set of recovery discs (one time only). If you find the option, it will be best to use the non-rewritable discs, as the program usually won't accept the RW-DVD's. The program may be hidden in whatever DVD suite that came with the laptop, it was in mine. You may even be given a "reminder" to create these. Plus, at startup, you may notice that there is a "F" button to go to recovery, this leads you to the recovery partition. But look through that DVD suite throughly, there should be an option. If you can't find it, consult your manual, or call customer service at Toshiba, they will assist you.
 
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