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Old 07-29-2006, 04:18 PM   #1
terrie
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Default Some WinXP questions...

My sister has just received a new Dell laptop and of course, I've been given the task of tweaking it--you know...getting rid of all the crap they load up on these things and generally making it behave in a civilized fashion...'-}}

It's running WinXP SP2...

I'm running W2K and don't haven't used WinXP all that much and I've got some questions:

1. Should I use Microsoft's firewall or turn it off and install ZoneAlarm?? I have ZoneAlarm installed on my sister's current laptop and I use it myself and I like it...

2. Somebody talk to me about the Security Center. I will be doing some research on this but should I keep it or disable it???

3. System Restore: Can you still create a restore point manually if you turn this option off???


Thanks!

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Old 07-29-2006, 05:18 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrie
My sister has just received a new Dell laptop and of course, I've been given the task of tweaking it--you know...getting rid of all the crap they load up on these things
If they don't supply decent recovery CDs to reinstall with, or the builtin mechanism to make them, I hope you will do that pronto, before you clean up anything.

In the CIS Windows Forums we get people cleaning up their computer and then find they can't start it ......

   
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Old 07-29-2006, 10:53 PM   #3
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I agree with Hugh -- make sure you make a complete backup before you tweak anything.

I don't know anything about System Restore. My (IBM) laptop has some sort of built-in restore feature, but it takes up too much hard drive space. I had to allot a certain amount of space for the "backup" file (don't remember what it's called, or if it's an IBM thang or an XP thang), and now if I try to do the backup thing, it tells me there's not enough space.

So I've given up on it. I am thinking about installing DriveImage (or similar) and backing up to an external device. That way I don't lose a bunch of space on my laptop's hard drive. And external devices are cheap.

I don't use the MS firewall. I use ZoneAlarm, although I'm told I don't need it because I use a router.

Security Center: I just clicked on it, and it says it's "currently unavailable because the service has not started or was stopped." Don't know if it's something I did -- I can't remember fooling with it except to turn off the firewall and turn off automatic updates. I let it tell me when XP updates are available, but I don't want any outside forces updating my system when I'm not looking.

mxh
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Old 07-30-2006, 01:10 AM   #4
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System restore is very useful - especially when you do beta testing!! The average user will have a need for it from time to time, though, so leave it active but reduce the default space allocation for the backup files.

I would disable the MS firewall and use ZoneAlarm, even if you use a router, because it also checks outgoing programs.

I don't know what "MS Security Center" is - never seen it and I have 3 XPSP2 boxes here. I do have McAfee Security Centre, though.

   
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Old 07-30-2006, 03:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marlene
I don't use the MS firewall. I use ZoneAlarm, although I'm told I don't need it because I use a router.
Routers normally are not able to stop outgoing traffic. That's what you need a good firewal for (ZA is a possible but there are others).

   
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Old 07-30-2006, 03:54 AM   #6
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Although Dell supply a CD-ROM containing drivers, if it was specified on the order, I've often found it incomplete and a right royal pain up the proverbial. You may well find that there's a hidden partition on the hard drive that will allow you to return the PC to its original configuration. If only that were on a CD, so you could get at it if you changed the hard drive...

As the others have said, use ZoneAlarm instead of the built-in firewall if you want to monitor outbound traffic (and test the results using ShieldsUp at www.grc.com).

I don't recommend disabling the Security Center: it can get you out of serious trouble!
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Old 07-30-2006, 04:01 AM   #7
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I would disable the MS firewall and use ZoneAlarm

There's no need to disable the Microsoft firewall, because ZoneAlarm or ZoneAlarm Pro works quite happily with it enabled.

   
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Old 07-30-2006, 04:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
There's no need to disable the Microsoft firewall, because ZoneAlarm or ZoneAlarm Pro works quite happily with it enabled.
Then why keep it enabled when it doesn't add anything (except overhead)?

   
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Old 07-30-2006, 10:36 AM   #9
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hugh: If they don't supply decent recovery CDs to reinstall with, or the builtin mechanism to make them, I hope you will do that pronto, before you clean up anything.
Good advice but I'm not doing anything that drastic to this laptop...Dell used to provide a hidden partition with the system backup on it...I've not had a chance to check this yet...

Thanks...

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Old 07-30-2006, 10:36 AM   #10
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Marjolein:

Then why keep it enabled when it doesn't add anything (except overhead)?

The universal advice when I upgraded to XP from 2000 was that the Windows firewall didn't interfere with ZoneAlarm Pro (which I was already using); it has the advantage of being always there, and doesn't seem to be an unnecessary 'overhead'.

   
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