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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Hi
    Using XP pro SP3, I notice internet or network activity before win has fully loaded, and before third party security software has loaded.
    This is a fairly new install, with only security software installed. This computer is for internet only, via gateway cable modem. I have not set up any other network.
    Until I can find the culprit, is there an easy or simple way to disable/enable/delay the network card from allowing traffic ?

    This may well be an ancient issue, but I couldn't find anything through a forum search.

    I have to leave for work now, so I'll check back in the PM.

    Thanks
    Dave

  2. #2
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    There can be lots of network activity before your Windows desktop is available. Normally, it is not anything to worry about. Many programs are configured to "phone home" to check for updates when you boot the PC. A/V software may check for new definitions as soon as the network is available. Use a tool such as Autoruns for Windows or WhatInStartup - Disable/delete programs at Windows startup to see and manage what starts when you boot the system.

    Note: Autoruns produces quite a bit of information. For starter, just be concerned with the Logon tab.

    Joe
    Joe

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Hi
    Thanks JoeP for your reply.
    The only updater I found in msconfig startup was java updater. All else was the security software that I want to startup.

    I may end up disconnecting the cat cable from the modem every time I shut down for now, or disabling the network card in device manager, because I resent that windows allows these connections. I was just hoping for a less unwieldy solution.

    I'm usually pretty good about what I allow installed software to help itself to, but either I missed something or this is a win service that I have to reset to manual.
    I've never had to use a flag to modify the behavior of a driver before, but maybe something can be done with my network card driver.

    Anyway, this is an issue for me, because I know that even behavior without malicious intent can still mess up my computer ( see: "History of Microsoft" ).
    I really, really want no network connections before my security software fully loads.
    I actually want the network to 'not be available' until fully booted.

    Thanks all for your time

    Dave

  4. #4
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    It is not possible for the network to be unavailable until all your third party software loads. The network components are initialized relatively early as part of the boot process. If your security software communicates properly with the Windows Security Center, regardless of when your software is loaded the Windows Firewall will protect the network until your security software notifies the security center it is ready to take over. The traffic you are seeing is likely Windows communicating with your ISP to get the network functioning properly.

    As long as you employ safe internet practices and have a multi-layered defense in place, I don't think it is worth worrying about. Good realtime anti-malware software, a hardware firewall as part of a router, a software firewall, and the availability of other on demand scanners is more than enough. I've used various anti-malware products and software firewalls through 25 years of being online. I've never had a virus on any of my PCs even with kids & grandkids using them. I started using a router that has firewall capabilities 7 or 8 years ago even though we still had only one PC at the time. I noticed a dramatic drop in the network activity on the firewall at the PC. Now, with Windows Vista and Windows 7, I quit using third party firewall software. The Windows firewall is more than sufficient. With Microsoft Security Essentials I quit using third party anti-malware software.

    If you have malware on your system that is trying to communicate during the boot process you're already in big trouble and it is most likely too late to prevent what the malware is designed to do.

    Joe

    Joe

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    Thanks JoeP
    I had in fact forgotten about the hardware firewall in my gateway modem.
    I had also forgotten about how early in the boot process the network card initializes, so I have to admit that it is not all microsoft's fault.
    I think there may be a bios setting to delay network card initialization, but the computer I use for internet is a cheap model, so maybe not.
    The interface for the gateway modem is accessable through windows; I haven't looked at it in a long time, maybe there is something there.
    I just think that it's bad practice to have my computer chattering away across the internet before I can even see what it's doing... it's just begging for something to happen.
    WhatInStartup doesn't show anything wrong, and Autoruns for Windows shows stuff I don't really need at startup, but it will take awhile to research the results.

    Also, I forgot to add that I only recently had to upgrade (?) to XP, so most of my windows knowledge is out of date.

    Dave

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    If your PC is working well, I think it is NOT worth messing with hardware BIOS settings. Even if you delay the network initialization some way I don't believe you'll be able to see what is going on unless you capture all the network packets and then spend a ridiculous amount of time deciphering them.

    BUT, do as you wish. That is why it is Personal Computing.

    Joe
    Joe

  7. #7
    New Lounger
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    Thanks JoeP
    Thanks for your time and info.

    Dave

  8. #8
    5 Star Lounger
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    I agree with Joe that it is a non issue. If you have your Nic set to "obtain an address automatically" (DHCP enabled) this will happen very early in the bootup process (but after windows has started loading). Most third party firewalls (which I no longer use as I like the built in windows firewall) have an option to "lock" or "turn off all internet connectivity". You could install one of these, and just before you shut down, enable this feature. After you start back up and windows is fully booted you could Unlock it. This will not stop your NIC from having any activity and you will still see the LAN light for the port you are plugged into on your router or switch showing that there is activity, however, this activity should all be "local", not internet activity.

  9. #9
    New Lounger
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    Thanx, mercyh

  10. #10
    New Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP View Post
    It is not possible for the network to be unavailable until all your third party software loads. The network components are initialized relatively early as part of the boot process.
    Can't we disable the network services and simply enable them when we need them? I do that with several services on my own computers: wireless network, audio, print spooler, VPN connect services (which I need for work): I have them disabled by default, and created a couple of shortcuts in my start menu to start and stop them. Can we do the same for the rest of the network services, without damaging the system?

  11. #11
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Your system has to be able to communicate with your ISP. I also use MSE and the Windows firewall and find them more than sufficient for the job. I suppose it is theoretically possible for a scumbag to get to your system during the boot process, but highly unlikely they woud be looking at you during this time frame. And I'm not all that sure it'e even possible to do this during this initial communication between your PC and your ISP. Some network geeks out there may be able to answer this, but in my case I do not worry about it. I believe keeping your system up to date, keeping your definitions up to date, etc is far more critical in the security process than what you are describing.

    The only time I shut down my internet connection is , after downloading a file or app I want to install, I shut down my internet connection, then shut down real time scanning of MSE, install whatever I wish to then re-enable MSE and reconnect to the router for internet use. Other than this my internet connection is on-line whenever our PCes are operational.
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  12. #12
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    I have one little Acer ONE Netbook. It actually has three possible network connections on it.
    An on-board LAN connection, a Wireless G on-board connection and a Wireless N connection via a USB device.
    I have set shortcuts to all three connections on my desktop (it's real easy in XP) and I only go on line with ONE connection by clicking the desired shortcut, AFTER my boot up is complete.
    If this is really a problem for you, and I can't see why it would be, then give the desktop shortcut idea a try.
    If you disable a connection before you shut down your PC, it will not be activated (Enabled) till you click the shortcut again to RE-Enable it.

    For a single ISP connection, I'd not worry about it, but when you have several different ones, my "shortcut on the desktop" idea works fine.
    OH, I didn't mention that I also have a Dial Up connection. That actually makes FOUR on that little PC, all with their own desktop shortcut.
    You might say that I'm fully connectible! or just "Well Connected".

    On my main desktop PC I actually have two ISP connections, my Cable Internet Connection and my USB Dial Up Modem connection. I normally use the LAN connection and it stays enabled unless I Disable it. When enabled, It never shows up in my system tray till after my AVG 9.0 program is fully loaded and the icon displayed. Why my PC is so much different than yours..... I don't have a clue!

    In the past, I've played dirty tricks with programs to get them to delay start. For instance, I'd start my program (like an ISP connection) from a shortcut, (like I mentioned before) run from a batch file, run from a shortcut in the Startup folder. In the batch file, I'd program a delay of several seconds, before it runs the shortcut to enable the ISP connection. I have no doubt at all that it would work, it's just a matter of IF you want to do it.
    Even more important is DO YOU REALLY NEED TO? I'd have to guess, "Probably NOT!".

    Good Luck!
    Doc
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