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Windows 7 Security Programs

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I have a 4 year old PC with Windows XP and a laptop with WIndows 7 (x64). I am planning to install 7 (x64) on the PC also.

Until now I was using the following programs for their protection:
ATF Cleaner
Ad-aware (Free edition)
Spybot Search & Destroy
ESET Smart Security Kit
Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware (Free edition)
Spyware Blaster
FileHippo Update Checker
Auslogic Disc Defrag
TuneUp Utilities
Driver Genius (Professional edition)

I'm using Opera browser and I have 3 internal HDD and another 2 external, all adding up to 4TB and I usually move my files a lot. Lately I tried Windows XP SP2 x64 and experienced a lot of problems. Some programs seem not to run (like Unlocker) and some others take a long time to load or crash. Also Opera some times does not respond or completely freezes, maybe due to low memory (2GB). I've already ordered 2 additional GB.

Before upgrading to Windows 7 I would like to know if these programs I'm using are good enough. I read the "Preventing Malware and Safe Computing" guide and I'm starting to have second thoughts about ATF, Spybot and Ad-aware. Should I replace them with TLC and SUPERAntiSpyware?
What about TuneUp? Does it really help speeding up my computer or I can do these settings manually?
I found Driver Genius very helpful since my installation CDs are 4 years old and I had some problems before. Is it safe to use?

Is there anything else you would suggest?

Edited by anarxaki, 11 March 2011 - 05:24 PM.

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TuneUp - KEEP AWAY - from any program that offers to tune-up, make it go faster, clean the registry etc. and that includes the so called similar item on AVG 2011, which I notice now claims to REWRITE your registry, eliminating fragmentation, blank spaces, unwanted entries etc. As I said to someone just the other night, if they have really invented a program that can be trusted to do this, on ALL computers, and get it right 100% of the time in 100% of the usage, then it is not just good, it is magic.
PLEASE NOTE - this is my opinion. IT is not meant to indicate the view of this site Geeks to Go, or indeed anyone else.

All of these programs and anything else that in anyway has control of your registry is usually USELESS and frequently dangerous.
See this as to why - for the opinion of an expert. - the My Link, in my signature notes.

Driver Genius - You do not need it, or any other such program, insofar as relates to accepting their download. They frequently provide the wrong one. Even Windows offered driver updates, should not generally be used. The only place to go for drivers is either the computer manufacturer site in the case of a branded computer, to which nothing has been added. OR the manufacturer of the motherboard, graphics, sound, network etc in the case of a generic build. If the sound, graphics and LAN are integrated on the board then that is the place to obtain them. Many people make the mistake of downloading a driver from for instance the Nvidia site, when it is in fact a special manufactured by Nvidia for one of the large brands eg. Dell, HP etc. the place to go is the DELL etc site.

In relation to the general list you have provided, I would install
MSEssentials. It is highly regarded on this site.
certainly amongst the free programs it is probably more or less top of the list.

I would keep MBAM on and run it periodically, disabling MSE when you do , running it on a quick scan, as the only difference between that and a full scan is less than 2% of the file system. Only run a full scan if the quick scan finds something.

If you are in anyway unsure of a download, always check that download, before installing with right click and scan with. MSE. That is far better than installing it and relying on the anti-virus to detect it on install and stop the damage before it occurs.

I would also install and use periodically a check for adware.spyware, but of course which you choose and if you have one running real time is very dependant on your anti-virus installed.

I would not personally use Unlocker if this is what you mean

Nor would I use on Windows7 Auslogics Defrag. It is suitable for 7, both 32bit and 64 bit. However its only advantage I think is speed. CERTAINLY this site does not recommend the use of the other Boost Speed product.

Finally see this and good luck with the 7

AND do not forget that repair disc

Edited by Macboatmaster, 11 March 2011 - 06:32 PM.

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TuneUp.. hm... that's very interesting. I visited the link you suggested and I have many of the problems listed there and most important, Windows Update is dead ;) I didn't know that defragging your registry can only cause problems. I used TuneUp for other settings such as "Performance and Graphics" or Advanced Internet Settings. I'm glad that I don't really need it :D

On other matters, I do have a problem with my drivers. The graphics card installation CD was not proper. I also need 2 audio drivers and I never managed to install both properly. I visited the motherboard site yesterday and they have far too many files for Windows XP x64. Should I click on every .exe file or use the Windows option "Search for driver in this location"?

Is it wise to install MSEssentials? I already have ESET Smart Security Kit, the paid one, not something cracked on a warez site :D I'm 100% satisfied, my only problem are ad-aware and spybot. Each of them asks me to uninstall the other one...

Why are you against Unlocker? I don't really use it. I just need it to check which program is using the file I want to delete. For instance, when I'm backing up files, I forget Nero Burning Rom is still open and I cannot delete the folder I just burned on a DVD. Is it dangerous in that way?

Last but not least, thank you for the rapair disc link. I was thinking that it would be neat to make a recovery CD (like laptops have) and I didn't know where to look for. This link provided me the link I needed :D

Finally, one more question about Windows 7. As I said in my first post, I have only 2GB RAM. I ordered 2 more GB but there will be a delay in the delivery. Is it safe to use an OS with its minimum requirements? Will this amount of RAM be sufficient for the first days?
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Obviously if you have the paid ESET. You will want to stay with that and never have more than ONE anti-virus or Firewall running.

Here is for your further info a small brief I have prepared on registry cleaners and the like
Please accept my advice, in case you are not certain it is correct -

HOWEVER to try and convince you and for the benefit of anyone who may be reading this thread and thinking of using a registry cleaner -
There is generally speaking no such thing as a TRUSTED registry fix.
See this:

and this
After running 'PC registry Cleaner' on my laptop with Win7professional I now cannot access windows explorer [returns a no association message] and some programs will not install.

And there is the proof in the pudding that Registry Cleaners do more damage than they solve.
OR THIS - on a brand new computer

Registry Errors in brand new PC
Scanning Report
Total scan items: 296239
Total errors found: 132
High risk error count: 12
Count of errors recommended to ignore: 0
5 Add/Remove Programs
0 Browser Helper Objects & Configuration Files
10 Custom Controls
43 Deep Registry Scan
0 Device Drivers
20 File Extensions
0 Help and Resource, & History Lists
6 Invalid ActiveX
42 Invalid Files Path

and here is the reply from a very experienced Geek-with ack to "gerryf"
"You can install a brand new, pure OEM copy of Windows straight from Microsoft and it will likely find 120 "errors"
What I am saying is they are not really errors, they are conditions a programmer has decided are errors"

and I MACBOATMASTER, would add that the errors found by these programs are far too frequently not errors, but the deletion of the registry key by the program, causes REAL errors, insofar as the deleted key corrupts the registry due to the inter-association of multiple keys amongst the hundreds of entries in the registry.

Registry Structure: The Tree, Nodes and Keys
The data is stored in the registry in a tree structure format, for those who have never opened the Registry Editor, you'd find its layout is similar to what you would see when you open your Windows Explorer. Each node within the registry tree contains a key which may have both subkeys and data entries (called values). Depending on the application you run, the application may need only the associated key while others may need the value data set for that specific key. A hive in the registry is a group of keys, subkeys, and values in the registry that has a set of supporting files containing backups of its data. The Windows boot process automatically retrieves data from these supporting files.

AND my attempt to explain it in simple terms - therein lies the problem with the so-called registry cleaner/optimizer programs. the program decides what is not needed and can be deleted. However, frequently the inter-dependance of the various branches of the tree are not recognised by the program AND this is where it goes horribly wrong. - MACBOATMASTER

That all said, it is YOUR computer - the decision is yours.

Are the errors you have at the moment, not a little academic, rather then obtaining the drivers for the XP64bit, would you not be better having the drivers for the Windows7 ready.
I presume you have checked the suitability of the system for 7.

Re Unlocker - I do not really know the program
I perhaps should have said - I would not as a matter of course use any such program. Additionally if it is from the site I sent you, it did NOT inspire me with confidence.

Edited by Macboatmaster, 12 March 2011 - 08:40 AM.

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I'm back with my new operating system.
Things went as good as I expected, but I have 1 or 2 minor problems.

First of all, I decided not to use TFC since it restores folder options and I want to see file extentions etc. I prefer ATF.
Second, I could not install SysRestorePoint. It said something about "it was made for Windows XP". Can you suggest some other program or should I use Windows System Restore?
Also, KeyScrambler is only protecting IE and Firefox but I am using Opera. Can you suggest any similar program for this browser?
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