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  1. #1
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    Don't pay for software you don't need Part 2




    TOP STORY

    Don't pay for software you don't need Part 2


    By Woody Leonhard

    After the first article of this three-part series appeared, many of you wrote to ask: do I really not need this software?

    It's true: if you've moved up to Windows 7, there are all sorts of software that you just don't need. Stop following outdated advice and get with the system!

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/top-story/dont-pay-for-software-you-dont-need-part-2/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
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    Good Article, but straight after you've told us we don't need a defragger or a registry cleaner there's two ads for..... guess what? Programs that contain registry cleaners and defraggers! (although to be fair, they do alot more than just that.)

    Will we see any articles that argue the other side of the coin? (Why these programs might be useful after all?)

    Cheers!

  3. #3
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    And you actually get paid for publishing these opinions? Amazing! Your advice about using Windows Backup (in Windows 7 Professional x64) is deeply flawed - I have personally been on the receiving end of this service failing spectacularly, causing me to to lose all my backups (and I have over 30 years of experience as a software developer). And the undeniable advantages of partitioning disks are well known - nothing changes here simply because it's Windows 7. I simply hope that people who might be persuaded by your public utterances are willing to seek a second opinion.

  4. #4
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    Agreed good article however, one comment I find strange "registry cleaner" not needed. I have some none professorial experience gained since using Win3 now running Vista. However, my friends mistakenly think I'm a genus. Why? there computers are running so slow, take a age to start up. Until I run Ccleaner.
    Perhaps Woody Leonhard's article applies to Windows 7 only?

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    I have been a Windows user and IT specialist for a long time, And I respectfully disagree with some of your points.

    I have used Windows OS from the very beginning and currently am using Windows 7 Pro 64 bit .

    Depending on the Registry cleaner used you will get different results.
    The one I have been using for a long time, also backs up the registry before it does it's magic.
    My system does boot noticeably faster after it has been scanned and compressed.
    I usually do this manually once a week.

    Using the built in backup utility I make a monthly full backup with verify and weekly incremental backups with verify. If done to a separate hard drive that is used for backups only, I find that I have no problems recovering data. If the data restore source is a USB drive I usually get the same results if I schedule the backup to run overnight. I have lost data to overnight backups due to bad weather causing power outages which could be resolved with a good UPS setup.


    Utilities used wisely with knowledge do improve a systems performance.
    If they are overused, yes they can do more harm than good.

    Robert



  6. #6
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    The link to this page sent by mail to me Is Wrong
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us!

  7. #7
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    First, I'd like to thank you folks for lots of eye-opener 'secrets' !
    I would like to comment on the use of antivirus-firewall, registry cleaners, and defrag software in window 7, I moved up from windows XP pro to windows 7 home premium never bothering to give Vista a second look.
    I use the following paid for software which I believe are worth the investment for a ease of mind computing experience.
    1. Norton 360 v 5 as a total security solution
    2. TuneUp utilities 2011 for keeping a clean and compact registry
    3. Diskeeper pro premiere 2011 for automatic unattended defrag of the hard disk and the ocassional defrag of the MFT
    In eight months since moving up from windows XP (something brought about only since microsoft announced end of life) I have a had a very safe and fast running system on a Qosmio F60 with no breakdowns or hickups even though I install and remove software as my work requires.
    You do not get that sort of experience with free to use software as u will always get a nag to upgrade or find something wanting. Microsoft Security Essentials does not compare to Norton 360 in providing a rounded virus and firewall protection as well as a set of utilities and the extra tidbits of identity safe, backup, startup and safe web surfing.
    You say that registry cleaners are obsolete, that may be true if you run one or two productivity suits and stick with those with no alteration, but when you install and uninstall software as frequently as once a week and if not, auto-updates move things around a reg cleaner and compactor is essential to keep the ship tight and leak proof. why wait till that first crash to start looking for a system format.
    As far as defrag it may be that regular schedulled defrag may be sufficient for an idle system but active and unattended live defrag is a must for a system that is constantly in use and with files accessed and closed multiple times an hour. diskeeper does that.
    So I beg to differ with your assessment of what is needded even in the new stable OS of win 7.
    Thanks

  8. #8
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    I've been using "Easy Cleaner" & "Reg Supreme" successfully for over five years on a winxp pro system.
    There has never been an incident or problem using both of these in tandem along with built in "chkdsk"-
    Microsoft is well known for it's sloppy & unreliable code/registry issues, so it is neither responsible nor credible to take your position.
    The fact that Microsoft has marginally improved the junk it's been peddling and in fact forcing down our throats all these years, is no cause for celebration or praise.
    At least pretend to help those unfortunate souls who still rely on MS to get the job done as efficiently, reliably & cheaply as possible.
    We all don't work for "the man" so we don't have to take his junk lying down.

  9. #9
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    Two points

    1) the reason registry cleaners were required originally is that Windows only set aside a limited amount of memory for storing them and stuff left around eventually meant you ran out of space. Memory allocation today is much less of a problem, so the reason for cleaning up registries is not really needed, as the speed of modern machines and amount of memory means that the database that is the registry will not take much longer to parse.

    2) Windows 7 Firewall - I believe that you are wrong on this - Windows 7 Firewall is outgoing as well as incoming. However, it is convoluted as to how you access it. You need to go to the control panel, select "administrative tools" (NOT Windows Firewall) and you will now see listed "Windows Firewall with Advanced Security". Right click and choose "run as administrator" and you will now see that you have Inbound Rules and Outbound Rules, as well as in my case Domain Profile, Private Profile and Public Profile. I am on an SBS 2008 domain and so some of the settings are set by a group policy. By default it looks like the defaults are that "Outbound connections that do not match a rule are allowed". This effectively means that the outbound rules have no effect.

    THus Windows 7 is an outbound firewall, but by default allows everything, and the facilities are so buried that hardly anyone is aware of them.

    How did I discovere them? Well I had trouble pushing out Sophos antivirus to clients and the fix is to go and enable some of the standard inbound rules, and that is how I discovered the advanced firewall security.
    Last edited by TonyGore; 2011-05-19 at 04:42. Reason: correct spelling

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    Cool reg cleaner required

    While I do agree a registry cleaner is rarely needed, I have come on one instance where it is required. I spend some time as a moderator on a major game site. One big problem with several of the games we support is when a user attempts to uninstall then reinstall the game in a new location - such as in a different folder or on on a second hard drive. This is allowed by the game.

    However, the uninstall leaves behind several registry entries that cause the game to fail to start in the new location. You can either go into regedit (not recommended for most gamers) and manually remove those entries, or run a registry cleaner. If you run it PROPERLY. Reboot after uninstalling the game, run the cleaner, then reboot again. It removes all of the problem entries. Allowing you to reinstall in a new location. Just about any registry cleaner will work, however In my tutorial on how to do this I recommend using the FREE Ccleaner slim which runs very quickly and does a good job with no collateral damage.
    Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you went after.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roderunner View Post
    The link to this page sent by mail to me Is Wrong
    Same here.
    Chuck

  12. #12
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    Regarding the Blessing on Microsoft Security essentials. Recent testing placed Security essentials AV at 22 second to last with a score of 11.8. This is not saying the product is bad but the AV testing was not great and people can make their own decisions. The story was in Product Reviews as an update and has links to the AV testing site with all the scores
    http://www.product-reviews.net/2011/...test-download/

  13. #13
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    I read with interest the comments regarding registry cleaners. I have been using Glaxy Utilities since it was recommended by this newsletter some time ago. It includes a registry cleaner. Are you suggesting that we do not use that part of the product any more?

  14. #14
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    Great column. I am so happy to hear a reliable source speak about the software that is advertised to "cure" all you ills. My personal decision to not use any of the programs that are listed as a cure all is simple. "If it sounds to good to be true ...." - Thanks for a great column and keep up the great work.

  15. #15
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    Post

    I have been using Windows Firewall for several months now. I changed from the suite that came bundled with my new Sony VAIO Windows 7 x64 laptop (Norton Internet Security 2010) because I don't trust Symantec and I had heard a lot of good things about the Windows 7 firewall.

    I decided to not employ the standard outbound behavior of the Windows 7 firewall which is to allow outbound connections, unless there is a rule that expressly prohibits such a connection for a program/port range/IP address range.

    Instead, I configured the Windows 7 firewall to block all outgoing traffic by default. In this case, the only outbound connections that are permitted are those for which I have created an outbound rule allowing the connection for specific ports, IP addresses and/or programs.

    I did have to spend several hours at first creating the rules to allow the programs I wanted to be able to make outbound connections, like my email client and web browser just to name two of the most obvious examples. Creating a rule to allow a program to make an outbound connection is a snap and takes just a minute.

    Where I had to spend the hours (due only to my inexperience with Windows 7 firewall), was for the things like allowing the computer to print to the network printer which meant creating a rule allowing a port range outgoing connection. It is not at all hard to create such a rule. I just stumbled over it, due to my inexperience.

    A second good example of a rule that threw me at first and took some time was the rule needed to allow Windows Update to work which also is used by Windows Security Essentials to update its definitions file every day. To get windows update to work, I had to create a rule to allow a windows service to make an outbound connection, in this case the service 'wuauserv' and the program svchost.exe. Using this technique, one can create a rule to allow just a single service to make an outbound connection.

    Yes, I spent a bunch of hours setting this up, but am glad that I did.

    The reason I felt that controlling outbound connections was so important is that I have no idea what programs exist on my machine. I should, but I don't! The windows 7 OS footprint, out of the box, with all of Sony's augmentations, is HUGE!

    By taking the precaution of preventing any program from making an outbound connection, unless I have given it express permission, I have increased my level of confidence in the security of my machine, which level of confidence was quite low when Norton Internet Security 2010 was is control of the security.

    I would like to add, even though it is unrelated to this thread's topic, that I use EFS (the windows Encrypting File System) to encrypt my sensitive files all of which I keep in just two folders and only connect to the internet while logged into a non-elevated windows user account which DOES NOT have the required certificate to decypher the contents of these two EFS encrypted folders. My experience with EFS is very satisfactory. EFS is both easy to set up and totally transparent to use with no noticeable performance hit, whatsoever.

    In conclusion, as you can see, Windows 7 firewall does not work only one way.

    I feel almost like writing an article about this. If only I were more qualified.

    I really appreciate Woody's article and only intend this post to provide some additional information regarding the capabilities of Windows 7 firewall which DOES allow default outgoing blocking as an option. The only reason I am not showing the Thanks button is because I don't know how to get the 'Thanks' button to show.

    Thank you, Woody, for your article!

    Charles.
    Last edited by ccotton; 2011-05-19 at 14:10. Reason: add content

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