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  1. #1
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    Don't pay for software you don't need Part 1




    TOP STORY

    Don't pay for software you don't need — Part 1


    By Woody Leonhard

    If you've moved to Windows 7, there's a raft of software — entire categories of software — that you simply don't need.

    Why pay for it?

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2011/05/05 (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by Tracey Capen; 2011-05-04 at 19:15.

  2. #2
    New Lounger gvmelle's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Great article

    Your article reflects exactly my opinion about security and maintenance of Windows 7 platforms, even that about MS Office. looking forward to Part 2.

  3. #3
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    Thumbs down Backup OK... You've got to be kidding!

    Hi Woody,

    Thanks for the article, generally great, but as you wished "howls" for your view on Windows 7 backup, I'm only glad to help

    I've been struggling with Windows 7 backup for a while now, and had to abandon it as not fit for purpose. I use W7 Ultimate, and wanted to backup my outlook pst files to a network drive.

    W7 Backup simply consumes all the space available, then gives up backing up. The only solution appears to be manually entering the app and deleting backups. NTbackup was far superior and I really miss it.

    Making software one click simple is for one click minds!

    Many users need to actually configure the software, and expect it to function as configured. W7 backup has none of the necessary features any slighty interested user would expect, and when it cannot tell the available size of a network drive reliably, is utterly useless.

    Sorry for the rant, and I really enjoy your articles, but this one point is way off the mark.

    Cheers,
    Donchik

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    Thank you for ALL your articles over the years! I decided to take your advice and see whether my Defrag was working properly. However, when I first open Task Scheduler, I received the following message: The selected task "{0}" no longer exists. To see the current tasks, click Refresh. When I do, the msg box does a repeat performance. When I follow the Task Scheduler Library>Microsoft>Windows>Defrag tree, I get the same msg box. Although I have Win7 Pro (for the XPMode feature to run an old program), it is not necessary for me to manually log on as a User. The machine fires up to me as the default User each time I start Windows afresh. My WinZip backup software will not run a scheduled backup for this reason. Could this be the same reason my Defrag is not scheduled? This leads to a second question; Since this same message appears when I first open Task Scheduler, does this mean that many or all of Windows' default tasks are not being run?

  5. #5
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    Whether I agree with Woody Leonhard or not (agree mostly), I love the article.

    Keep them coming.

    Opinions with hard facts are great articles. We can agree to disagree.

    What I cannot tolerate is ad based article, or article with copy and paste of printed performance and stuffs from device/software sellers. It hides the purpose of selling. That is, the article is biased to begin with (to praise the product).

    I always think anti-virus software itself is a virus itself: hard to get rid of.
    Maybe it has to be that way, I think, else virus itself could 'neuter' it first.
    As Woody said, good luck to cleanse an anti-virus program from your system.

    I start NOT using anti-virus now. At the most I use MS Security Essentials, especially on XP OS.
    I start using Sandboxie, Virtualization, and VHD backup. If I get infected, I simply restore the last snapshot or restore the VHD, and I'd be OK again.

    With that, and no extra software running in the background, the system runs faster.

    There is a penalty though. You need more memory in a system running virtualization, for equal or better performance. The parent OS and the virtualized OS, each needs its own memory to run efficiently.

    It is also a way to learn Linux. Linux as parent OS, with Win7 and XP as virtualized OSes, is a high performance system ... and no more anti-virus.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the article. I'm new to Windows 7 Ultimate, have always used third party defrag/backup/AV/Firewall and so it was educational to learn where MS had hidden this stuff. I ran the defragger and created a backup drive image to an external HD with no problems. I was prompted to create a repair disc, which I hadn't done, and so reading the Windows Secrets email has , potentially , saved me a lot of strife. Thanks again.

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    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    I'm really looking forward to any debate which develops between Woody and Fred, two of the finest tech writers I've been reading for decades. Plus other contributors too, of course

    Quote Originally Posted by bradym View Post
    I have Win7 Pro ... it is not necessary for me to manually log on as a User. The machine fires up to me as the default User each time I start Windows afresh. ... Could this be the same reason my Defrag is not scheduled?
    Probably not. I have the same setup as you [Pro, auto logon] and my defrag is scheduled and runs.

  8. #8
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    Woody,
    Thanks for the information on Task Scheduler. Because of your article I now have daily restore points being created at 5 AM after windows wakes the computer to take them, and I also will now have a weekly defrag at 2 AM and a monthly upload to Microsoft instead of a daily one in prime time! Your articles and other Windows Secrets contributors have enabled me to have a much better Vista experience if that's possible with Vista! Also, one of the lounge members bailed me out of a mess a few weeks back when I lost communication to the BIOS. This is one of the best places on the internet to receive valuable information. Thanks again for your contributions to it.

  9. #9
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    This article mentions shadow copies at 12 midnight and defragging at 1 am, but we typically shut our computers off overnight. What happens then? Do these functions ever get performed?

  10. #10
    3 Star Lounger WildcatRay's Avatar
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    Nice and informative article, but I am left a question.

    How does LibreOffice compare to OpenOffice and MS Office?

  11. #11
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    Woody, GREAT job!

    Have you ever considered that there is a BIG difference between an accomplished professional writer like yourself and "average Joe" home user? I would claim that LibreOffice (the spin-off from Open Office, thank you Oracle) is more than sufficient for Joe and his grandma.

    I do have my own opinion about Micro$oft scheduling Automatic Updates to be checked at 3AM and Defrag scheduled at 1AM but I'll keep that opinion to myself; I don't want to get banned from the forum

    24/7 may make sense in a corporate environment where the computers have to run 24/7 to enable admins maintaining them when the productive(?) workers are not there. But in a home environment? What a joke, IMHO at least. My computers are off at night and when I am not home.

    I believe the discussions about technical merits of defragging and the programs that do it will never end; so leave it up to opinion and belief as long as the tool does not do any damage!

    Despite these comments: Woody, keep going! For the "normal" non-geek home user your opinion is bulls-eye on the spot.

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    Great article! BUT---"previous versions" isn't working for me. AND...and quick Google search shows a lot of others having the same problem. In may case, I appear to be following all the rules, ie., services turned on, system restore turned on, selected "restore points and previous versions", not looking for system files, administrative share not hidden, etc.

    But alas, still no previous versions!

    Anyone else experiencing this or have a solution?

    J

  13. #13
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    Generally, a good article. As for the Office replacement, your comments read like one of Microsoft's FUD pieces. The reality is that most Office users use very few of the non-compatible formatting codes, many of which older versions of Office won't recognize either. As mentioned elsewhere, it is a very bloated, over-priced suite which, for most users, CAN be readily replaced by OpenOffice, LibreOffice or Softmaker (not free but reasonably priced). Other options exist as well.

  14. #14
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    Woody; Thanks for the great article, it clears up a number of mysteries I'm still fighting with in W7. One question, you said that W7 automatically carries out several maintenance issues (defrag, ghost, etc.) on it's own at various times late at night. Do I need to change the schedule as I shut down my laptop overnight to run those during the day?
    Paul

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    Good article, but Woody, but could you expand a bit on the auto defrag part. If my PC is not on at 1 am - and it virtually never is - is the defrag ever done? It's great that you make these recommendations, but if your information is incomplete, you've not done any good.

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