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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    Please Help Me Figure Out My Security Software

    Hello again. I work out of my home, presently using a Windows XP laptop, primarily due to wanting to continue using some of my older programs for work. I recently had to replace my laptop, which means my new one needs security software.

    On my previous laptop I used Outpost Firewall and NOD32 antivirus. I have only a few months left on each of them, and if I want to install them on my replacement laptop I will need to contact both in order to get the necessary information to do so. I got these two because they came highly recommended and were able to work well together without conflicts. However, I think Outpost Firewall is a bit above my knowledge base. I often struggled to know what to allow or disallow; so, when in doubt, I mostly just disallowed.

    I would like to either get a software suite to provide both firewall and AV, or a recommendation for firewall and AV that are known to work well together. I also have a router which provides hardware firewall, as well. I'd like to get something that is secure, yet won't lock my computer down so much that I have trouble accessing necessary, safe websites. Also, hopefully, something that doesn't slow down my computer substantially.

    I do have some knowledge of computers and computer safety. I set up my new laptop with two users---one with administrator privileges to install programs and perform most work duties; I only go online as the administrator for my email. All other online activities are done by the other user, which has limited privileges. I mostly just access well known, safe sites, but sometimes I do searches for information and try to be very careful what sites I choose to go to. Nevertheless, I know I need good security software.

    What would you recommend that would provide solid security but not be too hard to understand and set up? Is a firewall and AV sufficient, or do I need antispyware, as well?

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    You will get a lot of different suggestions in this area. I use both a paid AV / antimalware and a paid firewall / HIPS. My AV / antimalware is Emsisoft's Anti-Malware, a good, unintrusive app, that can run along other AV / antimalware apps and that consistently ranks top in comparative tests.

    My HIPS is also by Emsisoft - Online Armor Pro firewall. It will behave in a manner similar to Outpost. OA is very good as HIPS go.

    As a side helper, running on demand, I use Malwarebytes. It's just an occasional helper, to make sure nothing passes by the other two.

  3. #3
    Gold Lounger Roderunner's Avatar
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    Hi EmiLee,

    If your intending to use Outpost FW, you must go to their website's 'Knowledge Base' for info on how to set it for the Anti Virus you intend using.
    Outpost also have an AV program BUT it's not compatible with their FW.
    I use Avast Free AV & Outpost FW Pro. and highly recommend them.
    If you intend using Outpost, I will give you a few tips on using it correctly.
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us!

  4. #4
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    EmiLee,

    You have the right idea in wanting to set up a multi-layered approach to security.

    Here's my approach, YMMV!

    Anti-Virus: Microsoft Security Essentials {been using since inception w/o problem on many machines}
    SW Firewall: Windows Firewall {This is since installing Win 7 HP on all machines.} Previously I used both ZoneAlarm and Comodo on my XP machines.
    HW Firewall: My Linksys WRT54G router with NAT and SPI using WPA2 on the wireless side.
    Browser: FireFox with NoScript, FlashBlock, and AdBlocker Plus addons.
    Link Scanner: Web of Trust (used in both FF and IE when I use it).

    And always keep the loose nut behind the keyboard tightened!

    This combo has kept all my machines, even the one my wife uses, malware free for years.

    There is no one perfect solution you just need to find a combo that works for you and although said in jest the weakest link in any security scheme is that loose nut behind the keyboard!
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  6. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Nearly the same as RG

    MSE (WD in Win 8)
    MS firewall
    H/W firewall in router (Linksys E4200)
    MalwareBytes Pro in real time
    Manual scans regularly
    Keep everything Up To Date.
    Web Of Trust here as well
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  7. #6
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    Roderunner, Thanks for the offer of help with Outpost. I think I will go ahead with Outpost Firewall and NOD32 AV, since I still have some months left on their current licenses. I just wanted to make sure to load something I want to stay with, as I know it's always risky to remove the software and replace it with something else---at least for someone like me who doesn't have experience tracking down the remnants of a program that sometimes get left behind in an uninstall. I won't be installing Outpost for a while, but I will take you up on your generous offer to assist then. In the meantime, I will look at Outpost's knowledge base to see what I can learn.

    Thanks to everyone else for your input, as well. Your comments have convinced me that I should add MalwareBytes to my security software. Outpost Firewall has an anti-spyware component, so I guess I should either disable the anti-spyware in Outpost Firewall and run MalwareBytes in real time -- or -- keep the anti-spyware in Outpost turned on and just use MalwareBytes on demand? Or can they both run at the same time? Recommendations?

    I didn't include the whole sad tale when I posted the original message. I bought a Dell laptop a couple months ago to replace my previous one. I had slowly and carefully installed programs and set up the computer over that time and was pretty much satisfied that I had it set up properly when the laptop suddenly stopped booting up and had the message that a bootable device could not be found. I did everything I could think of, checked online for more suggestions and tried them, then contacted the eBay seller from whom I bought the laptop. He has a warranty on his laptops, and I agreed to send it back to him. He will replace the hard drive (it was a new one that he had just installed) in case there's something wrong with it, reinstall Windows XP Pro (my reinstall CD from Dell won't work), and -- if possible -- copy a few key files from my old hard drive onto a CD/DVD. He promises to make my laptop a priority when it arrives and will try to have it sent back to me the same day he receives it, and I believe him.

    Once I get it back, I will need to continue to work at home on an old, decrepit, very slow computer and simultaneously start the tedious process of reinstalling and updating all of the programs I need for my work on my laptop once again. Between my work, setting up the laptop, and caring 24/7 for a multiply handicapped child, this will take some time.

    I guess this is a warning example not to put off backing up your computer. I had backed up the most vital files that I needed to continue working, but there are many others I would like to have also. Or, better yet, how I wish I had a complete image of my computer so that I could simply restore it and not have to go through the entire process again. I had been waiting until I had the laptop set up just how I wanted it before backing up, and I waited too long. Also, I don't currently have any imaging software on hand. I used Acronis's program (True Image, I think?) some years ago and wasn't impressed. As a side note, if anyone recommends a particular imaging program to use with Windows XP, I'd be interested in knowing what that is. Right now I'd like something fairly easy to use that would allow me to make a bootable rescue CD (or USB) and would also allow backing up and restoring of individual files and/or folders as well as making an entire image.

    Thanks everyone for your help.

  8. #7
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    EmiLee,

    Just for the record I forgot to mention that I also use Malwarebytes Free Edition to do manual scans and also the Windows Offline Defender Beta.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

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    EmiLee, I think Acronis TrueImage is still a very good app, that's the one I use. I stuck with the 2010 version, which I preferred to the subsequent versions. As of now, I am beta testing Acronis True Image 2013 and so far it is looking quite good. Although other members will vouch for free tools, I may as well stick with TI 2013 when it comes out.

  10. #9
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    How does one obtain the Acronis True Image 2010 version? If you purchase software, isn't the only option whatever the latest version might be?

    Also, I've done a little reading here and note that it is strongly advised that one test the imaging software to make sure it will actually restore the files. Would it be possible for me to image my laptop and then test it's ability to restore the files by restoring them on my netbook hard drive rather than my main laptop? (I have an external DVD-RW for the netbook.) Or, for that matter, vice versa---I could work on getting my netbook set up with the correct software and then image it and use that image to quickly set up my laptop when it's returned to me.

    Oh, wait. That won't work because I doubt the netbook I was given has Windows XP Pro installed (atlhough it does have Windows XP on it). I haven't even opened it up or turned it on. It was given to me as a backup to my backup computer, since my Dell laptop that I just got for working at home is out of commission.

  11. #10
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    You could find a copy, like this one, on Amazon, for TI 2010.

    Testing the restore can be a bit problematic. It can involve multiple disks or partitions and restoring to a different disk. Also, it can involve using different software or different software versions.

    I am testing TI 2013 beta. I have just now done a backup with TI 2010, which I know is working and created a fallback image of my current setup in one of my disks. I am now doing a new one with TI 2013, to a different disk, which then I will try to restore. If it works, fine. If it does not, will use my TI 2010. If nothing worked, would start from scratch, knowing all my data is safe, since I verified the images I did before.

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  13. #11
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I also have to say I use and like Acronis TIH v2010 and 2011. I am also testing the 2013 beta version. See the thread I started here. Every time I create an Image, I then restore to that Image. This does 2 things, it guarantees the validity of the Image, and it provides a very good defrag. When you restore from an Image, the first step is to format the partition.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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    Ruirib, Thanks for the link. I did order True Image 2010 from Amazon.

    Medico, Are you saying that you create an image and then restore it over the HD or partition you just imaged? Isn't that risking losing what you are trying to preserve, if the restore doesn't go well? Or do you restore it somewhere else. My hard disk on my laptop is more than large enough for me, so could I create an empty, or disposable, partition to use for restoring each image I make to be sure the imaging is done properly? Or would that create more problems? For example, I mainly just want to image my Windows program files and other programs I have loaded on my computer. My data files will be stored on a different hard drive, and I will back them up separately. So if I do an image of Windows and all my other files, would having two copies of Windows on my hard drive create any problems when I boot up my computer? Or would it automatically continue to boot up from the original Windows in the C:\ drive?

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    I am glad I could be of help, regarding the 2010 copy.

    Restoring to the same partition does have that risk. Using another partition is safer, as you figured out yourself. I must confess I don't test every image by re-installing it. Once you tried it once or twice and it worked, you have validated the process and nothing changing in your setup, you can reasonably expect it will work again. You can then retest the process sometime later.

    Using this procedure I have been able to recover from a handful of hardware and software failures, using my images. Without them, it would have been a disaster.

  16. #14
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmiLee View Post
    Ruirib, Thanks for the link. I did order True Image 2010 from Amazon.

    Medico, Are you saying that you create an image and then restore it over the HD or partition you just imaged? Isn't that risking losing what you are trying to preserve, if the restore doesn't go well? Or do you restore it somewhere else. My hard disk on my laptop is more than large enough for me, so could I create an empty, or disposable, partition to use for restoring each image I make to be sure the imaging is done properly? Or would that create more problems? For example, I mainly just want to image my Windows program files and other programs I have loaded on my computer. My data files will be stored on a different hard drive, and I will back them up separately. So if I do an image of Windows and all my other files, would having two copies of Windows on my hard drive create any problems when I boot up my computer? Or would it automatically continue to boot up from the original Windows in the C:\ drive?
    That is exactly what I am saying. The first time it is quite scary. How else will you prove the Image will work when your system dies for whatever reason, or you get a virus you just can't seem to get rid of.

    I also store all my data on a separate partition. Yes you could put your Images on another partition on your HD, but what happens if the HD dies? There goes your Images. If you wish to store Images on a separate partition, place a second copy on a removable HD. I use an Ext. USB HD. An Image is NOT a clone. A clone would be another copy of the HD that is bootable. A Clone takes up the same amount of space as the original. Cloning is generally done when replacing one HD with another. Some people use cloning instead of Imaging and just keep a second copy on a separate disk. Images on the other hand are compressed files that are decompressed during restoration. You can store as many separate Images as will fit on the media you are using. I believe Imaging is much more efficient for storing backups, plus you can keep multiple copies, or Image multiple PC's on the same media. I have multiple Images of 3 different PC's on my Ext. USB HD.

    When I create an Image I include both my Win 7 and Win 8 partitions in each Image. I create new Images after I make changes or at least once per month, right after patch Tuesday.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  17. #15
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    I was actually thinking of imaging my windows and other programs/applications to an external hard drive, which would be my "insurance" in the form of an available backup/image. However, to test it, I could create another partition and try restoring my image from the external hard drive to the extra partition. Thus, I would not put my working hard drive programs at risk but I would confirm that the image would restore to the computer if needed. And I guess I just presumed that the image on the external hard drive would just be copied to my extra partition, not moved there, so that I would still have my backup image on my external drive. Is that correct, or am I missing something? Any reason it's not a good idea?

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