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Some useful info for PC users/newbies

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Old 11-08-2002, 12:15 PM   #1
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If you find this boring, skip it

Originally posted by Shenan:

AntiVirus Software:

Antivirus software is essential now. You can get viruses from emails(even
from friends and family), web pages, instant messengers(AOL, MSN, ICQ) and
many other places/ways. Therefore, the installation and proper use of an antivirus software is a necessity. Everyone will have their own individual experiences with the different packages available. All I can do is suggest a few based on my experience.
Norton AntiVirus, if kept up to date, is one of the better AntiVirus systems in my opinion. Stick with it, keep it updated. There are other AntiVirus programs out there, some are even free, like AVG found at http://www.grisoft.com/ for download. Some have online scanners you can use such as http://housecall.antivirus.com. At least run one. You will prevent future headaches. McAfee is Okay - but I personally cannot recommend it - I am sure other people have greatly differeing opinions.

Ad-Ware and Spy-Ware:

First off, I guess I should explain what these are. There are several definitions out there, but in its simplest form, adware/spyware is a hidden software program that transmits your user information via the Internet to advertisers. There is a good web page with some links and such at http://www.adware.info/ that you might want to look at for more
information. So what can you do? Download and install and keep up to date and run frequently some spyware/adware detection/elimination software. I suggest "Ad-Aware" from http://www.lavasoftusa.com/ as one of the best. There are others out there, but from all accounts, this one is the best. However, another product, Spybot - Search & Destroy, has really come a long way as of late and has been kept (at least recently) more upt to date than Ad-Aware. You can get this product from http://beam.to/spybotsd as it is also
free. I think you might be surprised by how much spyware/adware there is out there
and possibly attached to software you would not have thought would do such things.

All of those COOL toys and utilities for FREE!

Don't download and install everything you see. Things like "make your internet faster" and "remember you passwords" and "protect your system from privacy invasion" softwares are usually crap, to put it succintly. File sharing apps are dangerous for novice installers(Kazaa, Grokster, Morpheus) In general, if it sounds like a ploy - it is. That does not mean you should not download and try new things, that is part of the fun of having a
computer with access to the Internet - but do it wisely. Do searches on Google and other places for people having used the product you are thinking about trying.

Email and SPAM(If only it stayed a luncheon meat):

I am POSITIVE others may have had different experiences than I have on this subject, but this is my ramblings, so here it goes. Ignore the email spam protection software and just don't sign up for everything you see and learn to use email filters. Also, go ahead and unsubscribe to the emails you get you don't want. I have actually found that the old
advice of "don't unsubscribe, they just send you more because now they know the
address is valid" to be false a high enough percentage of the time to make it worthwhile.

Hackers breaking into your computer:

Does this REALLY happen? YES! Don't think of it as "What do I have that a hacker could POSSIBLY want?" That is a bad assumption. What they "want" is to use your machine as a practice ground for hacking elsewhere later, or they want to break into your computer then use it to break into other computers so they cannot be tracked as easily.
Don't worry about too much more of a firewall than the built in XP one, especially if you are dial-up, but even if you are Cable Modem or DSL, you should be fine. Basically, the Internet Connection Firewall can also protect a single computer that is connected to the Internet. If you have a single computer that is connected to the Internet with a cable modem, a DSL modem, or a dial-up modem, Internet Connection Firewall protects your
Internet connection. It is "one way" only - not blocking outgoing connections, but only attempts to get INTO your machine. For more information, go to http://support.microsoft.com/default...;en-us;Q320855 If you feel this is not enough for your needs, I suggest Zone Alarm from http://www.zonealarm.com/ as an alternative. You could also get a hardware firewall, which has several other advantages. One of the easier to setup would be the Linksys routers ( http://www.linksys.com/ ), and if you share a cable modem or DSL connection, it can help there as well.

Keep it all "Up-To-Date":

Keep your operating system and applications patched and up to date. You may ask, "Why?" - simple - it may fix problems you have yet to experience, have been experiencing or they may patch some vulnerability that would allow someone to really ruin your whole experience. I suggest visiting http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/ often and checking for critical and other updates. Also, http://www.updates.com/ and install the updater, I consider this one of the best "all applications" updater out there.
If you have Microsoft Office, you may want to also go to http://office.microsoft.com/ and download/install updates for that as well.

Other tools to help you "tweak" your computer:

If you are using Windows XP, you could download and install some of the XP PowerToys from http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/p.../powertoys.asp
and try some of those. You may find them useful. If you are using other Windows Operating systems, you can still get TweakUI from Microsoft at:
TweakUI.asp as well as other powertoys from places like
y/de fault.asp (some of them worked through Win2000 -- watch for URL wrapping.)
There are TONS of great utilities and power-user toys out there to help you manage your computer and keep it running at peak efficiency. Most of them are free. My advice is to find something you are interested in, then research it to find the free alternatives - there is almost ALWAYS a free alternative.

Still have Questions? There are tools out there to help you:

Some other things you should learn to do is search the Internet for answers. The Google website at http://www.google.com/ is a great resource. I particularly like an application like WebFerret (http://www.ferretsoft.com/ ) that searches a dozen plus search engines
at once. You will be pleasantly surprised at the amount of information out there.. Answers to your problems are often a few clicks away. Also, learn what components you have in your system. For example, you may have a Creative Labs sound card, a 3COM network card, an NVidia video card, etc. You need to know the name-brand of the components in your computer so that you can keep the drivers(software that lets the hardware communicate with Windows) up-to-date and working for you instead of against you. You should easily be able to find the manufacturer of each component on the web.
It's especially easy if you bought a brand name system(Dell, IBM, HP, etc.) They will have all of the hardware drivers you need to keep your computer running smoothly on their web page. Otherwise you could do a web search and find the support pages for a particular manufacturer.

Some other places that have some GREAT Windows tips and some of the people contribute to the newsgroups often are:


If you keep your computer patched/updated and cleaned up, you should enjoy the whole experience associated with your computer and the Internet.
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Old 11-08-2002, 12:46 PM   #2
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Why not ask the mod make it a sticky?
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Old 11-08-2002, 07:17 PM   #3
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Very good and useful piece of info there.

hope people would check into here if they have any qns instead of starting up a new thread..

I Never thought i would die ALONE...
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Old 11-08-2002, 07:27 PM   #4
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Good work.
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Old 12-08-2002, 11:28 AM   #5
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Wow! Wow! Wow!
HWZ's 2nd Honorary Member on Jan 28 2009
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Old 14-08-2002, 12:45 PM   #6
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Old 14-08-2002, 01:09 PM   #7
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to hacktic, nice pic under yr name....

not a bad thread
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Old 17-08-2002, 10:33 AM   #8
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enlightening indeed.. good work.
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Old 21-08-2002, 07:55 PM   #9
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Keep up the good work. A lot of interesting website and advice.
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Old 04-09-2002, 08:44 PM   #10
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Old 05-09-2002, 11:44 AM   #11
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very useful info for newbies like me. thanks alot.

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Old 06-09-2002, 11:27 AM   #12
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thanx a million for the info
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Old 15-09-2002, 10:51 PM   #13
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Here's showing my appreciation!
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Old 27-09-2002, 11:05 PM   #14
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Well Done!!!
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Old 02-10-2002, 12:11 PM   #15
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Email and SPAM(If only it stayed a luncheon meat):

I have actually found that the old
advice of "don't unsubscribe, they just send you more because now they know the
address is valid" to be false a high enough percentage of the time to make it worthwhile
yes, they can verify if your email is valid through some request using SMTP, before sending the actual email body;
or the mail server will tell u if it accepts the mail or not after some definite duration.
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