Sunday, 3 January 2010

Look after your computer.

I don't know what I'd do if my lap-top were to die. For starters, I'd stop being an internet smart-arse. I'm on-line virtually all day (& some of the night, too!). I often talk to people on the 'phone with the 'phone in my left hand and my right hand doing 1-finger typing/mousing.

When my 2nd cousin asked me "Can you find out about the osteopath Paul that works in the Foot Pain Clinic, Winchmore Hill?", within a minute I'd found Paul Costin. When my ex-G/F asked me "who's the bloke that was in such & such TV programme?", I immediately went to The Internet Movie Database.

I therefore take PC security very seriously. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, my lap-top has limited memory and, being over 6 years old, limited CPU & graphics processing power. So, anything that can improve what I have is worth a try.

The first utility I shall mention is one that I've been using for ages. It's a watch-dog program called WinPatrol. It prevents programs from altering critical system files and installing start-up programs & services without your permission.

On 1st Jan, I installed Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware (MBAM). It found a load of dodgy stuff in the registry (MyWebSearch & SelectRebates) and deleted it all. The end result was more free memory and a bit more free disk space.

On 2nd Jan, I installed ESET Smart Security 4 (& uninstalled Virgin PCguard) after trying NOD32 Antivirus 4 which detected stuff that Virgin PCguard had missed. I gained ~160MB of free memory and my lap-top ran a bit faster, too.

I test my Firewall from the outside using GRC | ShieldsUP! and from the inside using LeakTest.exe, which I renamed to IEXPLORE.EXE, to try and trick the software. ESET Smart Security 4's firewall, once set to Interactive mode, passed all of the tests.

If I find any other useful programs, I'll let you know.


dextery said...

I use to backup
my entire computer files offsite
for about $50 US a year.

It takes about a week to have the computer on to upload your files to their server. And then once it is completely backed up, anytime you are online, the system looks at all your files and anything that is new or changed is uploaded
to their server.

Saved my ass once so far when an old XP machine harddrive froze up
and would not reboot.

Got a new laptop, and was able to retrieve all my files to a Vista OS machine.

I used to do backup to an external hard drive, but what happens if you forget...or God forbid, the whole house is burnt down...along with the external hard drive.

Peace of mind for me.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

My up-link speed is 500kb/s (62.5kB/s) so backing-up my data (my e-mails alone take up over 1GB) to a remote server would be very slow.

I occasionally burn a pile of CDs but I haven't done that for a while. Oo-er! Disabling Virtual Memory stops Windows from giving my hard disk a thrashing but, as you say, bearings can occasionally fail.

I treat my lap-top very gently, so I hope that it will last a while longer!

dextery said...

I currently have 80 Gigs of data stored...mostly photos of our travels...and it took about 10 days
24/7 of cable modem connection to
complete the task of offsite storage.

I am not sure I could stand your slow internet connection. I'd be frustrated and angry and my wife would probably lock me out of the bedroom. :)

Hard drives have a terrible habit of failing at the most inopportune times.....Treating it gently or not.

Love seeing you post around the blogs we both frequent.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

My down-link speed is 10Mb/s so I can watch TV on-line.

I shall do what I usually do....hope for the best! If my HD fails, I have a computer shop about 100yards away that might be able to perform data recovery.

Your Blogger Profile cannot be displayed. So, which blogs do you frequent?

dextery said... Best accumulation of our type of lifestyle I have seen.
I like this one for a fairly comprehensive explanation of paleo
Have you ever met Peter?'s-journal/920/ Lex journey
for more than a year eating raw meat and fat...truly a n=1 experiment. Click on page 1
start from the beginning. totally in your face advocate of paleo...irreverent and foul mouthed.
Brent Pottenger, a devotee to Nassim Taleb and book, The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb
I have a tough time following Brent and his philosophy...but it is mind taxing. I guess I don't have enough patience.

I know many of these overlap your blogroll but perhaps there are a few new ones for you.