PC Maintenance - Please Help Watch

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kingslaw
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Hey.

I'm getting a laptop in a few weeks and am keen on keeping it running as fast and cleanly as possible. I dont want it to go the way of previous machines that the family have owned, which have all eventually been reduced to slow, clogged up, unhealthy machines through lack of care. I was wondering what you fellow forumite do/use to keep your machines healthy:

-What anti-virus software should I use (I'm wary of Norton stuff because, from what I've read in reviews, it seems to be unstable and could be the reason why our previous machines have been unstable)
-What firewall I should use
-What utilities I should use to maintain the system (they dont have to be free)
-What good, fast, adaptable internet browsers are there (I've never ventured beyond IE before, but am feeling quite radical!)
-Any other tips/routines/software you guys may use.

Money is no object (to a logical extent) as I'm desperate for such a big investment of mine not to go down the pan like my Dads laptop has (it is horrifically slow and just freezes randomly, despite being quite fast when he first bought it).

Thankyou very much.
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AT82
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If your system starts running slow all you have to is format it and its like it was when it left the factory.

I don't use any ulities and never have any problems. The best thing to is use your common sense, avoid using P2P applications such as Kazza, use a firewall if you don't have a hardware one, zonealarm is good for free.

Also defrag your hard drive more frequently. Windows XP is much much more reliable than 98/ME so much less problems are likely to occure.

I have only ever had virus once in my 11 year history of owning a PC too.
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ThE_OnE
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(Original post by kingslaw)
-What anti-virus software should I use (I'm wary of Norton stuff because, from what I've read in reviews, it seems to be unstable and could be the reason why our previous machines have been unstable)
I have used MCAFee Internet Security Suite (50 quid) and Ive never been infected once and it does not hog your resources like some programs do caugh norton caugh...

(Original post by kingslaw)
-What firewall I should use -
it comes with security suite mentioned above! works very well! good for beginners/intermediate ppl

(Original post by kingslaw)
-What utilities I should use to maintain the system (they dont have to be free) -
as amazingtrade said above defrag is good, clean up your temp files too, disable any crap loading up at start up which you dont need - this can save resourses and your start up time will be faster.

(Original post by kingslaw)
-What good, fast, adaptable internet browsers are there (I've never ventured beyond IE before, but am feeling quite radical!)
Ive only really used IE too as its compatable with pretty much everything. Once you start delving into the other browsers like netscape you may find some pages cant be displayed. research and get some more opinions. Also theres nothing stopping you installing a new browser and still having good old IE as a backup should u find a page you cant view in your new one! have a play around and see what u can find!

(Original post by kingslaw)
-Any other tips/routines/software you guys may use.
also as amazingtrade said above - dont use programs which have spyware/adware in them as this will bring your pc to a grind and is usually quite hard to remove!

have fun!
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Sam2k
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AVG and Adaware are both musts. I use privacy programs to get rid of all the various junk that piles up. One time I used tried a program called Windows Cleaner 5.0. It had a 1 month free trial. It keeps track of how much stuff it deletes, and one month I had nearly 1 gig of deleted useless junk. You need to run Scandisk fairly often as well. Deleting programs that you aren't using helps as well.
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-mb-
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(Original post by kingslaw)
Hey.

I'm getting a laptop in a few weeks and am keen on keeping it running as fast and cleanly as possible. I dont want it to go the way of previous machines that the family have owned, which have all eventually been reduced to slow, clogged up, unhealthy machines through lack of care. I was wondering what you fellow forumite do/use to keep your machines healthy:

-What anti-virus software should I use (I'm wary of Norton stuff because, from what I've read in reviews, it seems to be unstable and could be the reason why our previous machines have been unstable)
-What firewall I should use
-What utilities I should use to maintain the system (they dont have to be free)
-What good, fast, adaptable internet browsers are there (I've never ventured beyond IE before, but am feeling quite radical!)
-Any other tips/routines/software you guys may use.

Money is no object (to a logical extent) as I'm desperate for such a big investment of mine not to go down the pan like my Dads laptop has (it is horrifically slow and just freezes randomly, despite being quite fast when he first bought it).

Thankyou very much.
- I find McAffee Viruscan to be great - easy to get up to date virus definitions, just use the wizard to configure it so you're fully protected.

- I have a hardware (built-in) firewall in my internet router, but any basic software firewall (NOT the Windows XP one, though) is fine, if properly configured (i.e. correct "ports" blocked etc.). Why not get a McAffee package that includes one.
This free and excellent alternative exists if you are feeling *really* adventurous, and have an old machine lying around: http://smoothwall.org/

- DO use the Windows update utility. Set it so that it gets all critical patches released by Microsoft automatically. Then you don't have to worry about using the most popular operating system, which is inherently the most targetted!

-Ah utilities, my speciality...
Spyware:
To be as sure as possible of remaining spyware-free, you need three free programmes, all must be used regularly and updated properly:
AdAware, for removal: http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/
Spybot S&D for removal and prevention: http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html
Spyware Blaster for prevention: http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html

NB: There are many other spyware programmes around, NONE are as good as the above, some include spyware(!); jumping on the bandwagon of the popularity of such software. Some are just useless, and some are limited.

Optimisation:
- Cacheman. This is the most comprehensive optimisation and "tweaking" utility I have come accross, it deals with all sorts of things, and is fine with all Windows versions. Although it also runs all the time, it won't clutter your system, as it has a small memory "footprint" (i.e. doesn't use much - 32KB).
Just load the "Profile" most appropriate for your machine. If you're feeling more adventurous, customise it using the wizard:
Link: http://www.outertech.com/index.php?_..._page=products
(You might like the XP version if using WindowsXP; it doesn't actually matter)

- Use the Windows "Disk Cleanup" utility every now and then...go Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup

- Type "msconfig" (without the quotes) into your "Run" box in the Start Menu, once all your stuff is installed, go to the "Startup" tab to disable any items that you do not want to start. This prevent your system becoming too clogged with junk that programs like Realplayer like to put on there!

- Do NOT use Internet Explorer; it's full of security holes, and is widely targetted because it is so popular.
Use Mozilla Firefox, and make sure that popup blocking is enabled, because it really works! This is a nice fast normal feeling browser, with many cool "skins" to change the look, and an integrated Google search box, and a great "tab" system:
Link: http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/

As for other software, I have some recommendation for decent free, alternative multifunctional applications:
- For all your image handling (not editing) needs:
Irfanview: http://www.irfanview.com/
- For all your media needs (you may want some plugins):
Winamp: http://www.winamp.com/
- For all your office needs (don't bother buy Microsoft Works or Office):
Open Office: http://www.openoffice.org/
- For all your zipping needs (Winzip is too limited):
IzArc: http://www.izsoft.dir.bg/

You see, you don't have to spend money to get better stuff than you might pay for! (though you might like a Winamp upgrade)
Of course, donate if you are so minded!

Hope all this helps.
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