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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just finished building myself a new (cheap) computer, and every time after installing an OS on a brand new disk, I go through the same ritual of installing a bunch of free tools and utilities to keep the computer clean, running fast, and secure.

Before getting onto the web, I remove all shortcuts to IE, and install Firefox, along with the very useful extensions Adblock and NoScript.

Very important, added by LGHT:
...do windows updates the second you go online even after you have SP2 already installed. I takes about 45 seconds for a worm to get on a pc that isn't patched.
To keep others out of my computer, and secure some privacy, the first thing I usually add is the software firewall ZoneAlarm. I know that my router has a hardware firewall, but ZA also controls outgoing connections, like apps dialing home, plus it prevents my IT guys from watching what I am doing. :redface:

Next, I install the virus scanner AVG. It's relatively small, and unobtrusive. Its automatic updating is great.

To clean out spyware, I use Ad-Aware. I update and run it about once a week. Pair it with HijackThis! which does a great job finding adjustments made by "crapware" to your browser and registry. Some of them are legit... use with caution.

msconfig (part of XP, get it for 2000) is great to look at your startup entries without having to open the registry. I try to keep this list a short as possible to have my computer boot up quickly and not waste memory with things I rarely use.

Another cool tool to reduce crap building up on your machine is CCleaner (CrapCleaner). Nice thing is that it runs very fast, and takes care of a lot of things if you set it up right. For ex, I protect a few selected cookies, like from the Planted Tank Forum, and everything else is cleaned out. Amazing how many temp files CCleaner finds in less than a second.

To tweak your PC, M$ provides a nice tool called TweakUI. Huge array of options to control how your computer does things. There are several versions depending on the OS.

As you install things and then regret it and try to get rid of them more or less successfully, your registry builds up with useless entries. I use RegCleaner, as well as a free copy of RegistryMechanic to remove old entries, orphans, etc. Note that using this kind of tools can unintentionally prevent programs from running, and even totally screw up your OS. Use wisely...

I am a curious person and want to know what's going on... therefore I look at What's Running once in a while, even if I can't interpret every single entry I keep learning. If you are overclocking, a temp monitor like SpeedFan is necessary to monitor CPU temps. CPU-Z will tell you all the details of your CPU and memory before and after overclocking, and just before a blue screen. Everest Home is another neat bundle of information, unfortunately not updated anymore.

To see which folders and filetypes eat up most of the space on your disks, DiskPie is indispensable.

As files pile up on your computer, defragging your disk helps to keep things loading quickly. The build in defrag utility works okay, but I also use Sysinternals Power Defragmenter GUI, which works with their contig.exe defrag engine. To defrag your pagefile, registry files, and others that common defraggers can't touch, use PageDefrag, also by Sysinternals.

That's about it, lol. What do you use?
 

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I only use 3 maintenance programs and it has worked for me. AdAware is GREAT. I've tried a ton of spyware programs in the past, both free and paid for, and AdAware beats them all BY FAR (and it's free). I also have the full version (paid for) of Registry Mechanic. IMO it's indispensible. Great Program. I've tried just about all the major anti-virus programs. Currently using Trend-Micro's PC-cillin. I'm not entirely happy with it and will be moving on when the subscription expires.

I tried Zone Alarm two seperate times. I REALLY wanted it towork because some people rave about it but both times it screwed up my computer or became extremely annoying. I think it didn't mesh well with my router. Made my computer act like it was on dial-up.
 

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I use Firefox and No script combined, works wonders.

Also AVG, SpyBot, AdAware, and common sense work well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I agree w/Burks, common sense works especially well. :smile:

ATM working on a friends laptop that has a huge array of paid-for software, from AOL to Norton to "spysweeper" and a whole bunch of others. That computer is so messed up, it takes about 15 minutes to completely boot up, and it doesn't shut down anymore, only via power button.

I told him it's time to whip out the restore CD...
 

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plus it prevents my IT guys from watching what I am doing. :redface:
First off, what are your "IT" guys doing with your home PC.
Me, being one of those "IT" guys as a small part of what I do for a living, knows how to get around this very easily, but, I wouldn't let people here install things in the first place.
So what kind of "IT" guys let you install all this and then let you block their access???
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
the best thing you can do is get a mac =]
If you are a graphical designer... maybe.

If you just want to get stuff done... well pick what you think works :proud:

(Disclaimer for those who need it: This thread does not apply to Macs or Linux)
 

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The only thing I would add is do windows updates the second you go online even after you have SP2 already installed. I takes about 45 seconds for a worm to get on a pc that isn't patched.

Also get the full version of ADAWARE and setup the adwatch. Once your PC is cleaned it prompts you if ANYTHING tries to make a change to the registry and puts it back to normal after every reboot making all other reg tools not required.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What kind of IT people let you block them?
The kind that NEVER get a call from you <<My computer is broken, can you fix it?>>. The kind that call you all the time asking to reboot a server, wiggle some cables, and kick a non-responsive printer. The kind that don't have to dumb down their IT jargon to make you understand what they want you to check. :angel: :icon_mrgr
 

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there will come a day when unix based viruses will roam as freely as windows based viruses do. UNtil then, i will be enjoying my linux thank you very much. No need for antivirus yet on the home box.
 

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Now being an "IT" guy here the best thing you can do is unplug. Just have no internet services at all and everything will run perfect. :proud:
I've heard that this works well, but you get a withdrawal from TPT.net and places like APC, Shrimpnow, Killies.com, etc etc and you can go crazy!:icon_mrgr

To keep my computer clean, I rely on windex and a soft towel. your milage may vary... ;)
Ahh, My 20 inch Dell LCD screen is allergic...

I don't keep much on it, actually just bought norton isn't being too retarded yet... I'll give it some time untill it restricts me from going on the internet, then
I'll have to get my dad IT guy, and he can decide what to do. He is a little bit crazy as far as added on programs go. So I personally only install a few

AIM- Loaded with crap:icon_mad: always have to clean the comp after installing this...
Firefox- Do I need to explain?

Howie's quick screen capture- It's a Screen shot taker, really convenient for the gamer folks!

Those aren't really what I use to keep the comp clean... But they're also some nice DLs:proud:

-Andrew
 

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I also use adaware and spybot, but I'm convinced that IE is the root of all evil. Oh wait, so is Windows ME :hihi: I used that for like 3 years.

I think there is much, much to say for wiping the slate clean. Just get an external harddrive and transfer all the important files.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
To keep my computer clean, I rely on windex and a soft towel. your milage may vary... ;)
Honestly, I bet many do... Then others see all those pricey spyware tools and spend hundreds for yearly subscriptions of conflicting programs that make your computer run like @#$%.

That's what I intended with my post... give a basic recommendation for keeping the computer running clean without having to do "clean slate" every couple of months.
 

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Since my current anti-virus expires in about 2 months and I plan on switching, what anti-virus are you all happy with? I've tried all the major brands and all seem to have faults to some extent. There's obviously no perfect anti-virus so what do you all recommend is the next best thing?
 

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Wasserpest you going to get Vista? If so we might have to make a thread for that:proud:

I'm not sure you mentioned this in your first post but there is a program I believe it goes by the name of HiJack this or something similar, it's a VERY powerfull spysweeper but you need to know what you're doing because it lets you uninstall ANY program on the computer:icon_lol:

-Andrew
 
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