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New PC What's first?


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Actually, you probably shouldn't even be web surfing yet.

 

And I assume Win 8.1 allows the user to create a "Repair Disc" -- you should do that now, especially if there are no OS disks with your new computer.

 

You absolutely need:

 

Windows Updates (starting with "Critical" & "Important" updates, especially security ones) -- might need to be done in batches, with reboots; save ".NET Framework" updates for last.

MS Office & other MS Updates (again, starting with critical & security updates).

 

>>> These three should be installed, activated, updated and configured before doing any web surfing or browsing (except to get MS updates):

A robust anti-virus (Free or Paid) - will also need to be updated after download & install.

A robust anti-malware, preferably one that runs in real-time, such as MBAM PRO.

A software firewall, especially if you are not behind a NAT router with full firewall implementation (could be part of a security suite with anti-virus).

 

Updates to ANYTHING Adobe (especially Air, Flash Player, Shockwave Player, Reader, Acrobat, etc).

Updates to java ("JRE") -- better yet, uninstall it completely, as it's rarely needed and huge security vulnerability.

 

A secure web browser, such as Firefox, with appropriate security extensions (AdBlock Plus, NoScript, etc).

 

JMHO as a home user, and off the top of my head.

 

Other, more expert members will have other suggestions, I'm sure.

Also, see here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/407147/answers-to-common-security-questions-best-practices/

 

HTH for starters....

 

daledoc1

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forget "scotty dog" or any other "let us check that for you" programs ... they are usually crap/junkware .

it is best to know what is good and bad ... usually , a decent AV/AM will take care of what needs to be done within itself .

 

if you decide to use an AV/AM/firewall other than the windows/MS flavors that come with 8.1 you will have to manually turn them off (and they cannot be uninstalled)

post the AV/AM stuff you are thinking about and we can help you sift out the bogus stuff ...

(no endorsements of any particular one is done here)

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How do I know if I have java "JRE" and how do I get rid of it? Note: I don't see anything that says Java in uninstall area. Thank you

 

You probably don't have it installed since you don't see it in your "uninstall" list but here's a link that you can use to check if Java is not installed on your PC:

 

http://www.java.com/en/       Click on the "Do I have Java" line on that page. If you don't see any Java information, version #, then you don't have it installed.

 

I currently have 30 trial of Norton Internet Security, Norton Anti-Theft, and Malwarebytes free version with Pro trial. After they expire I was considering getting ESet security and spybot. Thank you

 

Everyone's AV experience differs but I had ESET installed for about 2½ years with mixed results.  It didn't block all effects of malicious intrusions into my HDD.

 

I've been using Norton 360 AV simultaneously with MBAM Pro for about a year with no issues or conflicts encountered.

 

Regarding a new PC, one of 2 initial things that I'd recommend:

 

- Download a freeware cloning/imaging tool and buy a spare HDD for your PC.

 

I use "Macruim Reflect" and "Clonezilla".  I have a couple others downloaded to ISO files but haven't tested them yet.

 

I imagine that Win 8 (or 8.1) has a built-in backup utility and that might suffice for your needs.

 

- Create a full HDD image, or clone to your spare HDD and test it as a complete bootable spare recovery item in the event of a Source HDD failure, user error, or malware/virus infection.

 

I like to test any "Rescue" media, bootable CD or Flash Stick, so as to test and recover an image in a "worse-case" scenario, where your original HDD can't boot into Windows.

 

In that way I know that my spare shelf items, a cloned HDD or a stored full-disk image, is a proven bootable full-HDD spare recovery option.

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↑  defit.jpg, believe me, I'm an amateur compared to the experts here.

 

Regarding cloning & imaging, It's more an issue of me being lazy :), since I don't like to re-install the OS and spend time reloading programs, retrieving keys, customizing the OS, etc.

 

Regarding your Rescue disk, that's probably a good idea, testing it, but I was referring to Rescue media that can be created with the freeware cloning/imaging tools.

 

I recently read a post elsewhere where someone's HDD failed and he tried to boot his system with his Macrium Rescue CD but it wouldn't boot up.  He had created the CD a year earlier but hadn't tested the boot and image-recovery process with a spare HDD.

 

I'm not familiar with factory rescue media having not yet used those but I should have done that with my Laptop when I bought it a couple of years ago.  However, I clone it every once in a while so it's backed up in case of HDD issues.

 

Here's a couple more freeware's that I'd recommend for a new PC:

 

Speccy    

 

This is a great PC tool that reports many parameters, OS info, MoBo, system Temp readings, voltages, HDD status, etc.  I've had this loaded onto my Desktop and Laptop PC for a couple of years.

 

Process Explorer

 

This is an enhanced "Task Manager" that is convenient for checking one's process information, your process or "system" processes, etc,  It's got a color code that I like which highlights services, your process, packed images, a lot of info in one free utility.

 

Autoruns

 

This is a great tool for checking your WIndows system and your own username programs that launch at startup.  I've used this one occasionally when something (a download, etc) has added an object into my startup that's not desired.

 

Speedfan

 

This is a handy utility which reports a lot of the same things that Speccy does but I like it since the opening dialog box provides a nice snapshot of your system temps, fan speeds and voltages.  It's also capable of e-mailing the user when a user-defined parameter is detected outside of a defined range, ie, a fan stops working in your PC case, etc.

 

If I were in the early stages of setting up and customizing a new PC, I'd do these 2 things:

 

- Create a clone or image shortly after initially installing the OS, before downloading your programs.

 

- Create another clone or image after you have your PC set up and working in an everyday mode. 

 

There are a few freeware backup tools that provide incremental and differential imaging but I haven't set up that process as I'm ok with retaining full-disk backups for my requirements.

 

I also have "Acronis" 2011, a paid backup program that I've been using for a couple of years to run twice-daily automatic backups of specific items, like frequently-edited/modified items, such as an e-mail client data file, or excel files, etc.  That way, I have a near real-time backup for those must-have items so when I need to install my cloned HDD or perform a full-HDD image recovery, I can copy those items back onto the new HDD.

 

Screencap of "Speedfan" info box at launch ↓

 

post-146232-0-33741800-1386114303_thumb.

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forget "scotty dog" or any other "let us check that for you" programs ... they are usually crap/junkware .

it is best to know what is good and bad ... usually , a decent AV/AM will take care of what needs to be done within itself .

 

if you decide to use an AV/AM/firewall other than the windows/MS flavors that come with 8.1 you will have to manually turn them off (and they cannot be uninstalled)

post the AV/AM stuff you are thinking about and we can help you sift out the bogus stuff ...

(no endorsements of any particular one is done here)

 

Scotty the watch dog is WinPatrol and I wouldn't call it junk. It is a mild hips which alerts to system changes. Of course not needed if you use another form of hips such as one included in your firewall but I find Winpatrol a useful tool, it also allows you to stop programs from starting on boot or completely disable them. Developer has frequent updates as well, so definitely not junk, maybe all people don't need but installing will certainly not hinder and possibly help most configurations.

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i have used ESET for a couple of years , i changed over from AVG internet security 20xx (paid version) .

the reason ? l got tired of the increasing nagware and the inclusion of things such as one of those "speed up yer pc" programs .

with the free versions i would expect some nag and hustleware ... but not with a paid version .

 

at one point i used spybot ... i have not used it for about four years .

 

CCleaner (get it right from piriform ... there are a couple of hustlers in the google listings .

the cleaner side is ok , it will clear out the junk files that can slow down a pc as they accumulate .

do not touch the registry side of ccleaner ... the windows registry is about the last place a novice/inexperienced person would want to be mucking about in .

which brings me to those sundry "pc tool boxes" (i call 'em fool boxes) ... don't do it .

in short , there are very few genuine "utilities" that are needed to keep a pc running a peak performance ...

if there is no absolute need for something (such as a diagnostic tool when there is a problem) , do not install it .

think of it like a new car ... how much (or what/which) extraneous/after-market stuff actually improves the performance of the machine ?

items such as "automatic hub-cap polishers" and "pearled radio knobs/buttons" are useful only as a tool for separating a person from their money .

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I am planning to buy the acronis, I wonder if the free 5gigs cloud they give will be enough for my before software image and after.

I'm more concerned with size of clone/backup after I've installed my programs as it seems, reinstalling them and gettings the keys again is always the main headache.

Scoop, can I make a backup with Acronis on to DVDs? or an External Harddrive?

Any feedback on this?

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5GB cloud storage will not be enough to store your image. Image size can vary depending on installed software and such, but on a fresh install of windows 7 with all drivers and my needed applications, my image is roughly about 12GB and that's compressed. Of course I have a lot of software that I use, but I doubt you will get a windows 8 fresh install under 5GB...

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I am planning to buy the acronis, I wonder if the free 5gigs cloud they give will be enough for my before software image and after. I'm more concerned with size of clone/backup after I've installed my programs as it seems, reinstalling them and gettings the keys again is always the main headache. Scoop, can I make a backup with Acronis on to DVDs? or an External Harddrive? Any feedback on this?

 

I haven't tried my Acronis 2011 with DVD's as the target device but I do use a 4 Tb external HDD to store images from Acronis and have verified the full-HDD backup/restore process to my "C" HDD.

 

I read some info about Acronis 2014 and it says that it's capable of backing up to DVD's.

 

If you're planning on using a paid backup tool, in my opinion you'll like using Acronis.

 

I'm reading the reviews on different "cloning" software all of them have some bad reviews. Doesn't make choosing easier. Thanks!

 

Here's a handy link that offers some reviews for some cloning/imaging freeware and provides the download links at the same site:

 

Free Backup Software

 

I've used 2 of these, ("Macrium Reflect" and "Clonezilla") and have verified the successful results with cloning and imaging.

 

I wouldn't recommend Clonezilla for a cloning novice though. It's geared more for command-line processing but it does have a beginners setup dialog available. The setup dialog can be a little tricky if one is cloning with identical (ie, product brand/size) HDD's.  That's the reason I always pre-format my Target HDD before booting up or launching a cloning/imaging tool.  This way, when I'm setting up the Source and Target HDD's in the tool, it's easy to select them as my Target HDD will show no data present having been formatted prior to setting up the cloning process.

 

I burned an ISO for "Redo Backup and Recovery" and tested the bootup but haven't used it yet.  I plan on doing that when I clone or image next time.  This tool doesn't require installing the software onto the PC as it's just the ISO download for creating the bootable media for the tool.

 

Regarding the reviews, it's always a call one has to make when deciding on a tool such as these backup programs.  I recently read a post where they had problems creating the bootable media so they gave the tool a bad review. 

 

When I was working with "Macrium" for the first time, I ran into some difficulty in creating the bootable media but got it to work ok after a couple of attempts.

 

I have discovered that the compressed imaging process varies with different tools and my images weren't compressed as much as I'd have expected, with the completed image being approx 2/3 the size of my HDD.  However, that may be due to my HDD being non-customized.  I have the automatic 2-partition Windows HDD, a "System Reserved" and the main partition.

 

Regarding the size of a cloned HDD, it'll be the exact size of your Source HDD.  Cloning makes a bit to bit copy where imaging will make a file, usually compressed, of your entire HDD if you select the full-disk mode when setting up the imaging process.

 

Each approach has it's advantages.  I like cloning since I can basically plug-and-play a complete replacement HDD in the event of problems, infections, HDD failures, user errors.  The requirement is that you need a spare HDD to clone.

 

Full-disk Imaging will accomplish the same results but the image will need to be recovered using the same software tool that was used to create the image and it generally takes longer to perform an image recovery vs installing a cloned spare HDD, or it does for me with my setup since I have Sata hot-swap racks installed in my Desktop PC case so I can remove my Source HDD and install a cloned HDD fast.

 

The advantage of imaging is that you can store multiple snapshots of your HDD on an external HDD so you can go back in time to a specific date if required, ie, downloaded a Windows update that caused problems, or had encountered an issue with your PC and you needed to eliminate the entire HDD as the source of the problem.

 

I use both methods for backing up my Source HDD.

 

For Laptops, you'd need an "Enclosure" to clone.  I have a Sata/USB (2.0) Enclosure that I've been using for a couple of years for cloning my Laptop.

 

One example 2.5 Enclosure from Amazon

 

The general rule for cloning Laptop's is to install the Target HDD in the Laptop and the Source HDD in the Enclosure but I've done it in reverse and have not had issues with that approach.

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Thank you for the backup listing and all the advice. I'm learning and getting better at this!

I used DriveXML free version to backup my laptop. Seemed to work when I opened the file to check and it did copy over the .exe to my installed applications.

Note: i'm having issues with script blocker on firefox. Can't seem to successful see some of my favorite sites, for instance Pandora. Where should I post this to discuss?

Thanks

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I installed 'no script' to firefox and I notice it is blocking javascript. I also noticed that almost every website I visit doesn't display fully because all of them use some script.

Using 'no script' I have to use the 'allow the webpage' option to view them, or use the webpage.

I was curious what others experienced.

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  • Root Admin

Yes, that is the entire purpose of using NoScript. You don't allow all you review and make sure the site you're on is trusted by you. When in doubt choose the Temporarily allow option by clicking the NoScript icon.

You may want to hang out and read up on some of the pinned topics and posts here on their forum NoScript Forums to gain a better understanding of the tool. I highly recommend that you don't give up on the tool and do take the time to learn it as it will really pay off in the end. Way too many people give up and can't seem to be bothered with it and are then back here in no time with another infection to deal with that NoScript could have possibly prevented.

If you're trying to buy something online and you're sure the site is safe and are not familiar with NoScript or have not trained it properly yet then you may want to use Internet Explorer for that purchase and then go back to Firefox and NoScript. I also recommend Ad Block Plus along with NoScript.

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