switching to the other side

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by whyrichard, Jul 1, 2005.

  1. whyrichard macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
    Hello mac nuts.

    I am a fellow mac nut, been with the fam since appleIIc... but i've got to make a switch. the wrong one! architecture and 3d modeling kinda requires the purchase of a desktop pc...

    but i'm asking this question primarily for my girlfriend... for my pc has not yet arrived.

    her dell laptop has become increasily sluggish. i've seen many pc's bite the dust in this way in the past year due, it seems, to spyware, adware, and the like.

    how should she proceed to recover her computer? and how should i avoid the same fate in my pc when it arrives? (short of not hooking it up to the internet)


  2. ksz macrumors 68000

    Oct 28, 2003
    San Jose, CA
    Alas there's no other way I know, but I'd be interested to find out if such a thing can be achieved. Install a bunch of apps on Windows and very quickly the system will get bogged down. You don't even have to run the apps; there will be so many daemon processes (er, Windows Services) that will interfere with virtually every file you open, every app you launch, every move you make. Boot time on my Inspiron 6000d with a 2GHz Pentium M and 2GB memory and 5400rpm HD is about 3 minutes. I've tried Startup Managers, removed unneeded utilities, and cleaned the Registry (Norton Utilities) to no avail. Now I just rely on Hibernate to cut down on startup time, but wait, Hibernate does not work after 2 or 3 consecutive attempts...something about "Insufficient Resources Exist to Complete the API".

    Good luck!
  3. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    Reformat and reinstall Windows. It's annoying but it's Microsoft so that's gotta be expected. It's the easiest way to get speed back into a PC IMO.
  4. NtotheIzoo macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2005
    This is definitely the best way...but if this isnt an option...download ad-aware from lavasoft...udpate it, run it. this removes a lot of spyware and its free for personal use. the best antivirus software is from CA (computer associates). etrust antivirus is what its called..i think :confused: you can find it for around $15-$20...you dont have to buy a subscription every year to keep getting updates like norton requires and it doesnt use as much system resources as norton. i have norton on my work machine (business requires it), but @ least once a week in safe mode I run defrag, ad-aware, and an antivirus software called sysclean. Not sure how i got it, but it works wonders for a full disk scan and updates are free from antivirus.com..you download a virus pattern. that should start u off in the right direction...also go and add/remove programs you dont need anymore...you will want to clean the registry too, export a copy of it before you delete anything...

    this is a great start...i've been working with PC's for around 10-15 years and working on PC's for around 8. I havent switched to Mac yet, but I plan on buying a powerbook 4 law school this fall..
  5. ksz macrumors 68000

    Oct 28, 2003
    San Jose, CA
    Sounds like good advice, NtotheIzoo.

    And no, reformatting and reinstalling Windoze is not an option. Done it already. There are a number of Apps I have to install, but once they're installed, performance degrades. I think the biggest culprit is MS Office; it's probably doing an installation or integrity check with each restart, but I'm not sure. I spent a lot of time chasing the long startup problem and just learned to live with it.
  6. tsk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2004
    I'd avoid IE and Outlook. I use Thunderbird and Firefox instead. Make sure the thing is fully updated as well. Many viruses rely on outdated security patches.
  7. kant macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2004
    You've probably got a bunch of programs like quicktime, real player, adobe, office bar, winamp helper, nero fast start, etc starting up. The startup managers don't get them all.

    " The Registry. When all else fails, you may need to edit the Registry to remove items from Windows' startup. This should be a last resort, however, unless you are experienced and comfortable working with the Registry, as removing the wrong items from the Registry can cause major problems and even make your system unbootable. If you plan to edit the Registry, it's a good idea to create a backup copy first (see "Register Here" on page 23 for more information). If you took our earlier advice and are already taking precautions to back up all your system files, it's also a good idea to have a startup diskette on hand right about now. (See "Help Is Just A Diskette Away" on page 16 to learn more.)

    To open the Registry, click Start and Run, then type regedit in the Open field and press ENTER. Click the plus sign next to the HKEY_ LOCAL_MACHINE entry in the left pane of the Registry Editor window to expand the directory. Scroll through it until you find the subdirectory SOFTWARE, then click its plus sign. From the expanded Software directory, use the same procedure to expand MICROSOFT, then WINDOWS, then CURRENT VERSION, and then RUN. To remove files from startup, click the appropriate Registry key in the right pane and press DELETE. Again, do not alter the Registry unless you have backed up your system in some way, know which files you want to delete, and feel confident doing so. If you see Registry keys that are unfamiliar, you may be able to search the Web to find information about their functions (and how critical it is to keep them). When you are done editing your Windows Registry, restart your computer."
    - from: http://www.smartcomputing.com/editorial/article.asp?article=articles/archive/l0904/08l04/08l04.asp

    (it was easier to find someone else's description than type my own. :) )

    After that:

    ms antispyware.

    Between the three of them, they'll catch all of that crap. The biggest mistake that people make is not turning off the "system restore" function. You HAVE to turn that off before you run these the first times. A lot of that crap will hide in the restore folder and simply reload itself the next boot. Once you have it all off, then you can turn 'system restore' back on. As long as you keep up with your anti-spyware scans, you shouldn't have to turn the restore off again. YMMV.

    As others said: Firefox (or Opera or Mozilla) and Thunderbird (or Pegasus). NO IE except for windows updates. and no Outlook/OE at all.

    anti-virus: avast offers a free non-commercial use license. I hate Norton. I've yet to find a system that didn't speed up after I took it off.
  8. ksz macrumors 68000

    Oct 28, 2003
    San Jose, CA
    I came to the same conclusion about Norton Systemworks and deleted it months ago. I still use Norton Ghost for backup -- it's not bug free, but it is the fastest by far of the ones I have tried. Anyway, I've been using ViRobot (from Hauri) for anti-virus duties for the past couple of years; it was able to recover (yes recover) infected files that no other tool was capable of recovering. It saved a week's worth of work and I've trusted it ever since.

    Additionally I use Microsoft's AntiSpyware and Zone Labs' ZoneAlarm firewall. That's it. The rest are, as you said, Quicktime, Roxio Media Creator (not Nero), iTunes, MS Office, Real Player, Flash, Shockwave, Acrobat, Adobe Creative Suite, Reflection and Exceed, OpenOffice, Skype, AOL, GuildFTPd, FireFox, Thunderbird, Picasa2, Visual Studio .NET, etc. etc. Mostly kosher apps from kosher firms, but install 'em all and you got problems.
  9. Agilus macrumors regular

    May 19, 2005
    Get a Router

    One of the simplest ways to protect your computers is to get a Router/Firewall. Of course, the other preventative measures listed above help too, but I've found that my Router provided a nice layer of protection without bogging down my system with a bunch of annoying software. I believe Windows now comes with a software firewall installed by default, so this might be an expense you don't want to worry about. However, if it turns out that Windows does have a passive exploit (i.e. you can be affected just by having your computer on the internet), the router will protect you from that particular exploit even if it takes you a while to update your computer with the latest patch from Microsoft. However, if you put a friend's worm-infested laptop on your local network, your router won't protect you from that computer.

    This fix also won't do much against spyware or other nasties you get actively, e.g., installing an infected program, going to a page that exploits a hole in Internet Explorer, etc.
  10. NtotheIzoo macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2005
    You can also check msconfig (go to start->run and type msconfig) click the startup tab and check to see all the programs. you can uncheck the ones you dont need...this is kinda useful...
  11. sw1tcher macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Here's what I do for those with similar problems.

    1) Make sure you have enough RAM. Like OS X, Windows XP also loves RAM. I'd recommend at least 512MB, more if you like to keep multiple programs running.

    2) Download and install AdAware, Spybot Search and Destroy, CW Shredder, and Hijack This.

    Don't forget to update AdAware and Spybot too.

    Next, download and install a good Virus scanner and firewall. There are plenty of good free scanners available. I recommend AVG (I personally use this one) and Avast!. Panda is also very good, but not free.

    As for a firewall, there's Zone Alarm (I use this one), Kerio, and Sygate -- all free for personal use.

    Don't forget to check for updates for your virus scanner.

    3) Disconnect PC from Internet/unplug from network (e.g. remove Cat5 cable).

    4) Go to Start > Run > then type Cleanmgr to clear your system of temporary files and junk. Or you could go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup.

    5) Defrag your hard drive. Start > Programs > Accesssories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.

    6) Boot PC into Safe Mode by pressing F8 key at start-up. Or you could follow these directions.

    7) Run CWShredder, then Hijack This. Next, run AdAware, Spybot, and then whatever Virus scanner you get. Remove anything they find.

    8) Reboot PC and then follow Black Viper's suggestions to disable any unnecessary services. (Instructions).

    9) If PC is running under an Administrator level account, set up a Limited User account under Start > Control Panel > User Accounts. Never run PC with Administrator level priviledges.

    10) Download and install Firefox or Opera. Avoid running Internet Explorer whenever possible.

    11) To disable programs from running at startup, you can disable them by deleting any programs under Start > Programs > Startup. You can also disable them from within the program itself, or by going to Start > Run > MSconfig and then look under the startup tab.

    I recommend disabling any program from starting up automatically when you boot up if you don't use it every day because they can slow down your system by using up your systems resources. My systems only have Firfox, Zone Alarm, and AVG running at start up (takes about 30 seconds to boot up).

    After doing all of this, you should be good.
  12. tuartboy macrumors 6502a


    May 10, 2005
    And people think we're crazy for using macs... ;)
  13. thehuncamunca macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2003
    here's what you need to keep your PC from running smoothly

    reinstall windows every 6-12 months
    buy anti virus software and scan every week
    scan for spyware once a week with adaware and spybot
    defrag HD once a month or so
    don't install crappy programs on your computer

    and despite all of this, you'll get viruses and some spyware and some weird programs on your PC
  14. JOD8FY macrumors 6502a


    Mar 22, 2004
    United States
    Seems like a re-installation of Windows is the only way to go....

    I would also recommend getting Spy Sweeper. It seems to really help keep things up to speed by eliminating many malicious applications.

    Best wishes,
  15. Wally macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2005
    first off... ive probably been working with pcs for less than half than the time the rest of you have( im only 18).. so my experience is limited.. i have tried many programs... different apps and found a good combination of them which work well together.

    i have put together a little routine for setting new pcs up... mostly because they seem to like to die at random times.

    First... hopefully you have a CDR, it is proven that the minute you hook up your computer to the internet... i think it takes a few minutes for it to be infected with some sort of spyware(due to normal internet use, correct me if im wrong)


    To reiterate what my fellow comrades have said above, each program does different things well, and lags on a few others.


    My favorite three SPYWARE programs are :

    one... MS Antispyware beta.... Overload of spyware programs... part of the spynet/ giant community... GREAT killer of spyware... searchs fast and hard, cleans registry, and monitors computer and updates are good.

    two... AdAware...one of the top programs until MS Antispyware, removes most spyware EXClUDING IBIS and a few other things, if anyone knows what this is ... its a bastard to remove.. this program is great for removing log entries made by spyware and overall will kill most, very easy to use and update

    three .... spybot seach and destroy --- what this program has which the others doesnt is the ability to imminize ur comp from malicious files...( correct me if im wrong) also it replaces the spyware with "dummy files" to keep spyware at bay... I think this is a strong tool to use and very easy to use..

    (Anyone feel free to add on to my reviews... pros and cons alike)

    Next... download zonealarm free edition, AIM, and MOZILLA, plus spyware, and keep all the installers

    Next, burn all the installers to a CDR and label starter Disk

    thats it for the first step

    Second step, Reinstall MS HOME/ PRO Full install not upgrade, repartition the full works..

    After you complety wipe out the system and reinstall, install these apps BEFORE you connect to the internet... very important because these are important safeguaurds agasint viruses and spyware

    Also install ur virus software... norton... avg... etrust... doesnt matter... they all take up precious resources... just make sure u have it

    So to give a overview.... BEFORE you connect to the internet... you should have three spyware.. mozilla... zonealram.. and ur antivirus to protect u... When you first connnect to the internet... ONLY update the programs... nothing else intil u have the most recent of each program.. once ur updated... ur rdy to go...

    my two cents..

    also patroldog is a good program for regedit and i wouldnt advise against spy sweeper for the sole fact that it is slow and takes up alot of resources...

  16. JonMaker macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2004
    Don't bother with antispyware or antivirus. They will slow you down as much as spyware or viruses would.

    Only connect to the internet when necessary. Use Firefox, and reformat/reinstall whenever you notice something fishy. Don't bother with Windows Update.

    I'd take this no-nonsense approach over following the mistaken hope that you can keep a clean install of Windows for any amount of time. Think about it: you can either have tedious maintenance that will fail anyway, or you can use brute force to solve all of your problems in ten minutes every couple of months.

    Besides, you have another machine, and the facilities to make regular backups.
  17. Crikey macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2004
    Spencer's Butte, Oregon
    I would install either Spybot Search and Destroy or Microsoft AntiSpyware in addition to Ad-Aware. Each one catches stuff the others miss. You should also check out www.silentrunners.org.

    I would also use FireFox instead of IE for day-to-day surfing.

    But it sounds like spyware isn't your issue. When you install Microsoft Office, it puts an item in your Startup folder (the item is called "Microsoft Office" on my work PC running Office 2000 on Windows 2000). The purpose of this item is to pre-load a big pile of Microsoft Office DLLs (code modules) into memory so that when you click that Word or Excel icon, the program seems to load really fast. Yeah, it's fast: you already waited for it when you logged on.

    If you don't have a lot of RAM, all that code will make you swap sooner and more often. You should beef up to at least 512MB RAM if you don't have it, and consider taking that item out of your Startup folder to make bootup/login quicker.

    I'm so glad I only have to know things like this for work since I switched! I have better things to do in my off time.


  18. sw1tcher macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Are you insane telling people not to use antivirus or anti-spyware software? I don't think you know what you're talking about. And reformatting and reinstalling Windows every couple of months? Not going to take 10 minutes.

    I take the approach I mentioned above and have no problems at all. No spyware and no viruses. And I scan about once every 2 months, and defrag about once a month. So far so good. But then again, I scan everything that gets onto my HDD before I ever open them. While I agree that having to do this is retarded, it is necessary to keep things running. This is why Macs/OS X is so much better. Everything just works. No maintenance required.

    Also, Windows updates are essential to a secure system.
  19. tuartboy macrumors 6502a


    May 10, 2005
    Agreed. By leaving your system open to attack, you allow your computer to operate as a base station to launch attacks on other systems and contribute to the overall propagation of viri. That and no install has ever taken me 10 minutes, windows or linux. Add to that all the necessary configuration and you have a long time sitting around in post-install.

    Something that has not been mentioned here is installing an already somewhat fixed version of windows. You can take your copy and through a method called slipstreaming you can combine it with all current updates to create an install disk that will leave with with a version of windows that is more internet safe than what you normally get. This way you do not have to worry about internet security before you get your updates.

    Here is a great resource explaining the process.

    Good luck.
  20. Leareth macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2004
    Panda AV is really good too...
    gets spyware, trojans, virii and all the bad stuff that PC's can get.
    physical firewall might help too
    and no Kazaa...
  21. Duff-Man macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2002
    Albuquerque, NM
    Duff-Man says...only a complete and total idiot would use a windoze pc connected to the internet without any protection (anti-virus, spyware detection etc etc)...it has been shown that an unprotected windoze box on the 'net gets compromised in approx 20 minutes. Jonmaker - remind me never to hire you as a techie. The last thing we need out there are more windoze boxes spreading virii and acting as spam zombies....oh yeah!
  22. tuartboy macrumors 6502a


    May 10, 2005
    Or 12. (slashdot)
  23. sw1tcher macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    In addition to slipstreaming, you can also Ghost your system for easy recoveries.
  24. sw1tcher macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Or pr0n.
  25. tuartboy macrumors 6502a


    May 10, 2005
    but MOMMMMM?!?

Share This Page