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Old 05-13-2007, 09:36 AM   #1
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I was about to renew my computer security with Norton 2007. As a preparation I decided to perform a disc clean-up and defrag...and decided at the same time to uninstall Norton 2006. Just for fun, I had a play with the computer (Laptop hp pavillion zv5000) and, lo and behold, it's like brand new again. I appreciate the value of Norton, but it sure puts the brakes on in a major fashion.

I don't enter what may be traditionally regarded as dangerous sites ie. Music, games, pornography, dating etc. and I prefer to do my banking, paying bills and such via cheque account. My email is screened for bugs and worms by the server, although I realise that is of little value for attachments, and I don't open suspicious looking mail.

Speaking to a mate (actually a matette) who has a similar pattern of usage as me, I discovered she had abandoned anti-virus, anti-spam and anti-spyware three years ago and has never been attacked. I do not want to go that far, but I may install just an anti virus of the freeware type.

I feel in some cases that security software companies:computer owners, like western governments:terrorism, ie. more hype than factual threat. What say the experts?

David
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:28 AM   #2
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I use AVG anti virus (got shot of Nortons long ago) and Sygate Firewall - disabled the Windows one (firewall is essential if you are online a lot with broadband).

I defrag pretty regularly - every two weeks or each time I load new software - essential for speed.
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Old 05-13-2007, 11:15 AM   #3
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Expert opinion and view often differs from an individual user's experience because experts have to be as near as damnit right when things actually do go wrong; for most of us, hopefully, the exception rather than the rule. In reality, of course, there are always far, far more things going right than most of us could ever imagine.

While our own perception of risk which is pretty good in a darkened city alley at night, it is fairly hopeless when faced with the masses of often conflicting statistics, data, risk assessments and simple opinions (mine included!) concerning matters with which we're not familiar or subjects with which we're not comfortable and with which now seem to be continually bombarded.

Aristotle told us that every statement was simply true or false, right or wrong but this becomes a simplistic view when applied by the vast majority of us to the vast majority of situations which we face on a daily basis. Our English Justice System, for example, seeks verdicts of guilty or not guilty, uniquely culpable or not while maritime law seems to make more sense by apportioning blame. The real trick, I suspect, is getting some perspective, taking stock and seeking objectivity. Somewhat strangely, this often identifies the real decision to be made as one that we otherwise dismiss initially as a ridiculous basis for proceeding. The decision to buy a car based on its colour is as common in men as it is in the fairer sex - we always tend to favour the instictive decisions that we make at the outset and spend hours trying to justify them with inadequate logic based on uncertain fact.

The question that you might want answered here is whether you could accept the sort of problems that you might experience if you reject common practice - remember, the clock is now ticking and sod's law applies! If you're running off-line virus scans and backing up safe files often enough, are not too concerned about your own privacy and/or can live with the (very) occassional disaster, fine. If you're a bit more risk averse or less well organised and can accept a small performance impact, proprietary protection software does a great job - especially when it's free for personal use (eg AVG from Grisoft, One Care and Windows Defender from MS).

Sorry, it's Sunday AM, it's raining and I've just burnt the bloody toast!

Pete

PS: On a more practical note, are you sure that the performance improvement experienced was not just down to the defragmentation and clean-up?
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Old 05-13-2007, 12:30 PM   #4
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Thanks Bob and Peter,

I have heard much about AVG and have just Googled the free download site. I will give it a shot. As for routine housekeeping on the computer, I find that a disk clean up every month is a great benefit to speed. I defrag about every three months. This is why I am so sure that the slowness of computing speed was due to the mire surrounding Norton.

Thanks again.

David.
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Old 05-14-2007, 05:13 AM   #5
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[QUOTE=name='Auzzee' date='May , 11:30 AM' post='7044']

------------------------------------------------------------

If when removing Norton - you find that bits hang around and won't come out ,

use this Norton removal tool :-

http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/tsgen...

---------------------------------

David , I have a similar opinion regarding these complicated expensive programmes .

I now use the following free simple programmes (not had an attack of any sort for 2 years - touch .....? where is that piece of teak??)

Alwil's Avast 4.7 home edition

WinPatrol 9.1.00

Novatix's Cyberhawk 2.0.3.18

Richard
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Old 05-14-2007, 08:49 AM   #6
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I'm in the West and I have never used Norton.

I use the free version of AVG Antivirus. It has been effective. It does slow down the computer a lot, when it does its daily scan, which takes about 6 hours to scan almost 600,000 objects and files. I just schedule it for a period when I am not normally on the computer. If I need the computer I just pause the scan, and restart it when I walk away.

I will not use a Beta version of software, especially Microsoft's. I had trouble with those. I will not be the Guinea Pig, used to find the bugs in their software.

I have been making my plane reservations on line since the early 1990's and doing online banking and bill paying since about 1996. By 1999 I went paperless, and love it. For me it is the only way.

I think most of my problems came from clicking on pop up ads. Some are rigged, even when one clicks on the "X" to make them go away, it is the same as clicking on the ad. I fixed that problem with MSN Internet Explorer's pop up blocker.

In the e-mail department, some how I got on a list, and that spread to other lists. EVERDAY I win the lottery, most days a mere $100,000,000. with all the lottery’s combined. The Spam blocker sends most of those directly to the trash bin.
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Old 05-14-2007, 10:11 AM   #7
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One way of avoiding many virus is to use a non-microsoft operating system - or so I have been told.

I wonder if any any of our "members" has used other operating systems, particularly LINUX and with what results?

Aye,

Stephen

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Old 05-15-2007, 12:18 AM   #8
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I've been out of the data processing field since we left to go cruising 21 years ago, so I do not speak with any expertise, but I have used my computer in just about every kind of environment. Some observations.

My brother's computer had a nasty virus that forced him to reformat the hard drive, too late to save most of his files. That taught him to back up his important files regularly. He and his family do not surf the internet so they figure it is most likely that the virus came in an email, from a friend. He had been told by his younger brother, and others, that in all the years they had had a computer, they had never had a virus, so I think he wasn't as vigilent as he might have been.

When I was using cybercafes in Borneo I would bring my files with me on a floppy disk to save time on line to reply to emails, and to bring downloaded magazine articles (I am addicted to New Scientist Magazine, which was not available in SE Asia, but I could get almost the entire magazine on line, which I did!). About half the computers that I used had at least one virus, which I would discover when I went back to the boat and put the floppy disk into my computer. In some of the low budget places they did not have any antivirus on their computers, or it was outdated and they wouldn't pay for the yearly update subscription.

This past few months, relying on a wireless connection and rarely opening an unfamiliar email, I have had two viruses detected on my computer. The desktop computer I have in the summer house has not had a computer virus in the past two (calendar) years, maybe 6 months worth of use. I don't visit different sites while on the boat, but it is all wireless, so maybe that has something to do with the virus problem, though I hope not.

I once bought a box of floppy disks from the electronics department of a department store, only to find out that there was a virus infecting the disks, apparently installed at the place of manufacture (this was more than 10 years ago).

According to an article I read (I think from PC Magazine), spyware is a more common threat to computers nowadays, and it can slow the computer down to snail speed. I have "Spyware Blaster", a free program. I have to check for updates manually, or pay for the program which will then update automatically. And also AdAware, again free. I would say that one "high risk" spyware program is found on my computer every week. I don't visit risky sites (i.e., pornography, dating, random blogs), but I visit lots of sites researching things I need/want to buy. A popular free weather program, "Weatherbug" installs spyware on the user's computer; I have heard bad reports about it (the problems the spyware causes) from several people. It's a shame because it is an interesting and helpful weather program.

Last year I was receiving several notices a week of viruses being found in email with my email address as the sender. Since none of the recipients were on my address list, it's probable that the infected computer had my email address in its address book, which the virus was hijacking to send itself to everybody on that person's computer. It's a common problem, I understand. I knew that the virus wasn't on my computer because I scanned for it several times, and my computer was clean, and all the recipients were in Germany, not a country I communicate with regularly.

They're out there.

I also was told by several software support people, and have also read this warning in PC Magazine, that one should not have two anti-virus programs running on the computer - it causes confusion and conflicts. It's one area where more is not better. I've read good reports about AVG, but since I depend on a wireless connection, a firewall is am important component of my computer's protection.

Edited to add:

I know this is very long, but one more comment/thought. I don't use Internet Explorer because every smart-a** malicious hacker out there is trying to "bring down Microsoft" by targeting its programs, and IE is so popular. I use Mozilla Firefox instead, but I will probably switch browsers very soon since Mozilla is now getting popular enough to appeal to malicious hackers, and there have been some problems lately that have required some major updates.

Linux, right now, is quite safe from these problems, but (first) there's not enough software that I want that is supported on Linux, and second, its time will come if it gets more popular, I think. Apple products also don't have the virus problems that Windows does, but that, too, might change as its market share grows.
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Old 05-15-2007, 06:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanneP View Post
A popular free weather program, "Weatherbug" installs spyware on the user's computer; I have heard bad reports about it (the problems the spyware causes) from several people. It's a shame because it is an interesting and helpful weather program.
Quote:
I use Mozilla Firefox instead,.......
Weather Bug = Big Problems. CONFIRMED! About three years ago I down loaded and installed Weather Bug. I liked what it offered, but than BIG problems started. Lucky I had a friend who was a computer science major. He worked at it for days to fix the problems it caused.

About two years ago, when I had new and different problems, I was using Netscape as my browser. Upon the suggestion of my internet provider (IP), I downloaded Mozilla Firefox, and their companion e-mail program Thunderbird. I did not care for the e-mail program at the time; it was restrictive and lacked features. Maybe it was just my preferences, and what I was used to, but I didn't care much for Firefox either. I just accepted it, and used it until eventually problems reappeared. The result was I was using a browser I did not like, and did not prevent problems, so I decided to un-install it. While I was using Firefox, I learned that it has a fair following. It is a semi-popular browser, with active user-groups.

Another issue can be the internet provider. In the past 7 years I have lived in 4 states, and have had 6 different IP's. Because of that I have discovered big differences in services, support, quality, value, and SECURITY. In my experience, some IP's are Right On Top of problems, and potential problems. Some are proactive, and one never even knows there may have been a potential problem. Some are reactive, and assist with fixing and debugging. I noted a difference amongst them, but sometimes one has limited choices in selecting an IP.

What I dislike about so many of the popular browsers, media players, e-mail programs etc., is they are programmed to take over your system and default settings. It is annoying.
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Old 05-17-2007, 03:06 AM   #10
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Okay. Here's the poop!

Having considered the excellent advice and comments posted by members of Cruiser Log, I decided Norton was definitely finished for me. Because I am a bit naive when it comes to computer speak, I went to see a mate with a computer tech shop. He has increased my computer's memory by another 512mgb, and advised me to install CA Internet Security Suite 2007. The increased memory and speed has compensated for the new programme and I am fully protected against spam, spyware, virus attack etc.

The interesting exercise he performed was to run a check using Ad-Aware SE (free download apparently) to see if there were any nasty-liddle-buggers on my system. The prog. found 265 bits of

non approved do-dads, whose sole purpose is to contact master programmes to tell them what I have been looking at.

He told me NORTON DOES NOT NECESSARILY ELIMINATE THESE....and that in some cases, these tiny spy programmes can be deposited by Norton in the first place. THAT'S JUST PLAIN NAUGHTY!!

So the bottom line is, I am practicing safe internet computing once again, at speed, without silly superfluous programmes of the N kind.

Thanks again to all the people out there whose knowledge on computing is vastly superior to mine.

David
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Old 05-17-2007, 03:12 PM   #11
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Here's a suggestion to those who would like good information about computers and programs but don't have a friend working in the field to help you.

Use the Internet to find reviews and evaluations of a product you are interested in buying. Nowadays this takes very little time, and can go a long way to pointing you in the right direction, or at least pointing you away from the wrong direction.

PC Magazine (www.pcmag.com), for example, has become a bit glossier since the early days, but it is still a useful resource. Most everything is available on line, and its reviews and top choices ("Editor's choice") are very helpful when you are planning to buy an expensive piece of gear. That doesn't mean that you should follow their advice to the letter, because often what you need isn't what they need or like about what they're reviewing. However, it does serve to steer you clear of a few bad choices.

Cynic that my brother is, he insists that their reviews are influenced by their advertisers. I think that a better comment might be that their advertising in any single issue of the magazine is influenced by their reviews. Most people don't notice that when there is a major accident or disaster (commercial plane crash, for example) that whatever is involved in the accident is usually not advertised for several days. This is especially true of airlines, I've been told, and exactly the opposite in the case of some consumer products such as Tylenol(tm).

In most reviews they also include reader's reviews, which is another guildeline that can offer some help.

Not all their reviews are of gear and software to buy; you can also find "the year's best FREE software," "the best FREE anti-virus," etc. Ironic that the advertisers are paying for the editors to steer you to a free product on occasion.

Magazines such as PC Magazine serve to educate the consumer about the electronics that they are using, which is a good thing. The best advice I've recently received from them was to not buy a computer with VISTA(tm) installed until Microsoft came out with "Service Pack 1"

There are other resources, and if you are planning a major expenditure I think that it is worth your while to investigate them.

I try not to advocate a specific product, and so it is here. PC Magazine is a favorite of mine, but that doesn't mean it's the best, and I would welcome other suggestions from the forum's members.
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Old 05-17-2007, 06:51 PM   #12
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PC Magazine

I used to subscribe to the paper version of PC Magazine in the late '80's and early 1990's. At first I found it useful. Eventually I became very disenchanted with it. It was apparent that either the ads influenced the reviews, or the reviews influenced the ads. The ads became overwhelming, with a single issue being 400-800 pages, it was difficult to read, follow and find an article continuation scattered amongst the ad filled pages. The magazine choked itself. At that time there were hundreds, even thousands of computer manufacturers and software companies that no longer exist. There was a power struggle between DOS and Apple based platforms, not only Microsoft DOS, other DOS systems, and even multi-other operating systems. In an attempt to establish a foot hold, capture a market share or even dominate the market, there was a move towards What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG), or Windows and MAC interfaces as we know it today. It was difficult to keep up with the latest, much less the future direction of computing. It seemed one never had the right stuff, and spent a lot of money on the obsolete. Compatibility was a major issue and a big problem for everybody. At some point PC Magazine became so cumbersome it was of no use and I dropped the subscription. It was much like a betrayal of trust, I disliked it so badly. Since, I have not given it a second look. In all fairness that is history, my experience with it, and my very biased opinion because of it. To each his own, use whatever works best for you. Today PC Magazine perhaps is a great magazine and web-site, and likely a cash machine for Ziff-Davis Publishing, with many pleased subscribers, and site visitors. I just happen to not be one of them.

About the mid-90's I had to get educated, and stay abreast of a variety of topics, computers and software being only of a few of them. Information on the World Wide Web was not as accessible, complete or useful as it is today. As a solution I turned to paid subscription newsletters on dedicated topics. Outright that cost a lot of money. Based on my need, and the returns provided, it was worth it, being clear, concise, unbiased, and free of advertising.

Today I use other sources. Following are some of my current favorites. These cover computer hardware, software, and numerous other unrelated popular topics.

ABOUT – Very extensive topics covered

Scroll Down – look for < Browse by Topic > in the left panel or enter a search in the box on the top right.

As the site is so large, one can get lost in it. Look for the Feature at the Top: < You Are Here >

http://www.about.com/

CNET – Tech product reviews, news, videos, downloads and more http://www.cnet.com/

I have taken several of their free online classes. Some are good, helpful, and informative and with some you get what you pay for.

http://www.cnet.com/

EPINIONS – Shopping Comparisons; Unbiased Reviews by real People

http://www.epinions.com/

HOW STUFF WORKS

http://home.howstuffworks.com/
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