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help setting up computer

Discussion in 'Software' started by freetime, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. freetime

    freetime Private E-2

    I was given a used laptop by well meaning out of state friends and need a bit of help. I am not sure if it is safe to use in 'Safe Mode' all the time? I am logged on as 'Administrator' and don't know how to set up the 'User or Guest account'? It's an older Dell Inspirion 8100 with Windows XP. It's in nice shape and I would enjoy using it. The 'desk top' model I'm typing this on is a 'shared computer' and I'd rather do my personal stuff on the 'laptop'.

    Is there someone here who can advise me through personal messaging how to do what I need to do to setup the laptop to use it safely? I realize it will take a bit of time to do so and I'm willing to do it on 'your time' whatever time of day you can fit me in. I know it needs 'security setup' because it's all from like 2005 or so.

    Thank you for your help.
  2. plodr

    plodr Major Geek Super Extraordinaire

    First check to see what security software, if any is installed on the laptop.
    Also, right click My Computer, select Properties and see what Service Pack is installed.

    You can also open the Control Panel, click on Security Center and see if the Firewall is on, the status of Windows update and if an antivirus is installed.

    I recommend, even if all other things are okay, that you run malwarebytes BUT not before we figure out if you have another program similar to malwarebytes. We don't want program conflicts.
  3. freetime

    freetime Private E-2

    Thank you for your help to start this reply. Look up in your questions to see my answers below:

    Microsoft Windows 'XP Professional'
    Version 2002
    Service Pack 3

    Registared to me
    computer 512 mb of ram

    Avira Antivirus

    Firewall is 'ON'
    Virus protection is 'ON'
    Auto Updates is 'OFF'

    I ran the Avira Antivirus after 'Updating it' with wireless connection (this is so I can be using THIS computer while working on the laptop to get it up and running).

    I spent 6 hours working on it yesterday after I logged on here and left my first post. I read as much as I was able to comprehend without taking an aspirin.

    The Avira does'nt seem to be working correctly under the 'Guest Account'. I say this because it says 'No 'PC Protection' with a Red X; but does have 'Internet Protection' with a Green X. (?) "Your computer is not secure, a service is not working correctly Red X". Then when I click on 'fix problem 'wrench in box', it directs me to their website to pay for Avira 'upgrade' (?!).

    I am under the impression from my reading that i should ONLY use the Administrator Account to make changes to the computer and not for daily use. Is this a correct assumption?

    Thank you for your patience with my questions.
  4. freetime

    freetime Private E-2

    After reading these posts below I needed to wipe my brow. What should I do with regards to my Windows ' XP Professional' firewall setup on my laptop?

    How can Microsoft even call it a 'firewall' if it allows unwanted entry? I bet I'm not the only person fooled into thinking that my home personal computer was 'private' all these years, HMMPH! A 'firewall' by definition prevents the spread of fire/hazards from one side of it to another; with BOTH sides having equal protection. At least that's my idea of a 'firewall'.

    I spent yesterday reading as much as I could to help myself understand about computers, so that I am not wasting someone's time here that chooses to help me configure my new to me laptop.

    From this website under Tutorials:

    Note: For Win XP SP2 users, after installing any of these firewalls, you must make sure to disable the firewall that is part of WinXP SP2. It is enabled by default, and it does not provide adequate protection and is only an incoming (uni-directional) firewall. Similar to antivirus applications, you must use only one software firewall. The information in the following will help you disable the firewall: Windows Firewall Some of the above firewalls may automatically disable the Windows firewall for you, but it is best to check for your self.

    For additonal info about the problems with Windows XP SP2 firewall read these:

    How Secure is Windows Firewall
    Is Microsoft's Firewall Secure?
    Windows Firewall Flaw may hide open ports

  5. hrlow2

    hrlow2 MajorGeek

    I use Comodo Personal Firewall on XP Home and Pro.
    Always turns Windows firewall off automatically when installing.
    Much better too.
  6. freetime

    freetime Private E-2

    Should I click on the 'yellow shield', 'windows updates' or will it overload my laptops memory of 512mbs?

    Will all the programs/things that I load under the Administrator account also function under the Guest account? I'm asking about if i uploaded Avira Anitvirus, CCleaner, etc will they cover the whole laptop or do I have to install it and run it under each 'account', both Administrator and Guest?

    When I downloaded and ran the Uniblue 'Driver Scanner' it says all of my 'drivers' are 'ancient' (?!) outdated and wants me to download all of them. Should I do this? It wants me to 'Register now' to manage and update drivers for optimal speed and security. Should I do this? I guess I won't do it because AFTER it had me download it to my computer it now wants to charge me to do so. Why can't these companies be upfront and honest about their products and not waste folks time. If they are going to charge for their product say so right in the beginning please. Note, this company Uniblue was downloaded from here because it came up under the ccleaner download page.

    It's ok if some of you get a chuckle out of this. It would be the same as you asking me questions about farm animals or crop plants I guess. We each have different knowledge mine's just not about computers.

    With regard to your post about 'Comodo Firewall' thank you for the suggestion. I'll look into that one.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  7. hrlow2

    hrlow2 MajorGeek

  8. freetime

    freetime Private E-2

    What's 'RAM'?

    Also, any comment on my previous post?

    By the way, as I'm reading this forum Major Geeks on the desktop computer I have the laptop computer next to me on as well, and am doing everything in the tutorials from here on it (that I can comprehend!)
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  9. hrlow2

    hrlow2 MajorGeek

    RAM = Random Access Memory.

    Translation is the memory modules in the laptop.
    XP does much better with at least 1GB of memory.
  10. freetime

    freetime Private E-2

    Guess I have to go to a computer store to buy some memory? What do I ask for? I
    ll bring the computer with me of course, chuckle!

    I downloaded the Commodo Firewall but now it's asking me to buy 'Trusted Partner' ,"because another computer is trying to access mine through wireless"? I did not have this issue prior to downloading Commodo Firewall. Why did it open my wireless up to 'unsecured'?
  11. hrlow2

    hrlow2 MajorGeek

    I have never had that or anything like it pop-up from Comodo.
    Possibly from that other item you mentioned in your opening post here.
  12. plodr

    plodr Major Geek Super Extraordinaire

    With XP SP3, the computer is up to date. As far as grabbing updates, when there are lots to install, I usually install 10, reboot and see if there are problems. Then I run update again and install the next 10. I continue until I have all of them installed. Fair warning as you install some updates, other updates might appear so you might actually install more than the original number shown when you first ran MS Update.

    I'm not sure what is going on with Avira. I only have it installed on a 2K computer. It was causing me headaches so I uninstalled it and replaced it with MS Security Essentials. I can't tell you what to do to keep it working because I don't have it on XP.
    I also keep it simple and use windows built in firewall. I set behind a router so that also protects me.

    Grab malwarebytes. It can run along with Avira or MS Security Essentials with no problem. (Even though they give you a trial of the paid version, you can continue to use the free version forever). I have the paid version running on 3 computers and the free version running on a few others.
  13. freetime

    freetime Private E-2

    plodr, I appreciate the comments in your post. I'll be the first to admit some are 'over my head' with the lingo.

    I'm going to hold off on updating the MS windows updates until I get a handle on whether or not the laptop is setup securely. I'm wondering if one of you would be willing to use the 'remote assistance' to check on what I've done to date?

    The Avira I guess I'll keep trying to figure out. It's odd that the 'red umbrella' won't open under the 'guest account', but is 'open' under the 'Administrator account' in the toolbox tray. Maybe Avira does'nt need to be loaded under the 'Guest Account'?

    Using my wireless I'm not that confident it is as safe as adding in the 'Commodo firewall', with regards to the MS firewall, after reading one of the Tuttorials here the other day. Again, I'm a layman with no knowledge so I'm going based on what I'm reading and being recommended here by folks. Though I am/was concerned about the 'popup box' with regard to my computer being 'unsecured' unless I' paid for a service'? I'll continue to work on that aspect of the setup today and see where I am.

    Malwarebytes I already have installed and operating so that is good.

    Now I understand how some folks spend hours working on their computers. It sure has taken me many hours of reading and working on it so far. But I want it to be first, secure, so that I know my business is kept private, banking,etc. Second I want to be able to read and research online without fear that I'll lose my computer to problems.

    I read last night about 'external harddrives', 'sd cards', and little gizmos to put in the 'usb ports' to save my work off my computer. Those need more reading on, but they seem like a lifesaver to keep from getting a major headache if something goes wrong with my computer.

    hrlow2, yes, it was something that came up in the 'ad space' with the 'Commodo link'. I'll see if it pops up again during today's trials and tribulations.
  14. _nullptr

    _nullptr Major Geeky Geek Geek

  15. lbmest

    lbmest MajorGeek

    I know it means more reading and possible questions but this sticky, How to Protect yourself from malware!, gives you the run down on what you want to do for security concerns. You may have already looked at it but chaslang's instructions there are gold.

    As you would read in the above sticky, this is the first thing to do, so use plodr's suggestion of manually doing only 10 updates at a time. If a particular update causes problems you only have 10 to look at. I always go to the Windows Update site and choose Custom so I can control the updates chosen to install.
  16. freetime

    freetime Private E-2

    Thank you for your time in replying to my questions, as well as all the other folks doing so. I just want to know that I am using a 'safe computer' that won't be spamming other folks nor contaminating my own files as I use it to browse the Internet.

    Your last part about picking which 'MS Updates' to choose has me a bit stymied. I'm uncertain of which ones I should be 'uploading'. Is this something someone can assist me with by/through the use of the 'Remote Assistance Program'? If so, is there anyone here who feels qualified to work with me that way? i would have to be told what steps to take or how to go about using that before we started. I read a bit about it last night and this morning and it seems to be useful in this sort of situation.

    I read the Mr Charles Lang piece on 'How to protect yourself from Malware'. i uploaded/downloaded? the Malwarebytes and have that on 'trial' for the next 2 weeks. I'll then switch it over to the 'free Malwarebytes' and continue running it on my laptop.

    Thank you to the other person for the Avira link. I'm going to work on that right now.
  17. freetime

    freetime Private E-2

    I went there and read it and consider myself of average intelligence but can't for the life of me figure out what they are saying? I opened a 'User/Guest account' to keep all my daily use of the computer separate from the 'Administrator's account'. Both have the 'Avira Antivirus' showing but only under the 'Administrator's account' does the Red Box Umbrella open. My lack of understanding here regarding computer protocol is obvious, so if someone can spell it out for me like...>do this> then this> go here> etc I'd appreciate it.

    From Avira Website noted above:
    "Avira umbrella-icon closed in Guest account

    If you logged in as Guest, the Avira tray icon shows a closed umbrella. This status is not correct. Your protection against malware is still active.To avoid this situation, you can create a new Standard user (Windows Vista) or Limited account (Windows XP), in Control Panel → User Accounts.

    Please create a new user account for your guests. You could name it "Visitor" and give it only user rights. Thus they would not have administrator rights to your system and the status in the tray icon would be shown correctly.

    Affected products
    Avira Professional Security, Version 2012 [Windows]
    Avira Free Antivirus [Windows]
    Avira Antivirus Premium 2012 [Windows]
    Avira Internet Security 2012 [Windows]
    Avira AntiVir Personal - Free Antivirus, Version 10 [Windows]
    Avira AntiVir Premium, Version 10 [Windows]
    Avira AntiVir Professional, Version 10 [Windows]
    Avira Premium Security Suite, Version 10 [Windows]

    Created : Thursday, January 29, 2009
    Last updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 "
  18. lbmest

    lbmest MajorGeek

    What you want to do at this stage of your "learning experience" is to have all the updates done. What plodr and I were referring to is the actual number of updates being installed at one time. If you have 20 or 30 updates to be done, you should clear the check marks except for the first 10 or so and install those only. If you have no problems, go back to the updates and choose the next 10. That way, you have a bit a control in figuring out what update may be giving you a problem if one does not install. It may be a little more time consuming but is a conservative way to handle updates if there are a large number of them to do.

    The idea of having this forum is to have the questions and answers public for all to see. If someone is searching for a similar problem, the posts on the subject give the answer and depending on the length of the thread can give you a chain of logic to follow in trouble shooting a similar problem. Remote assitance could be used but that is not the purpose of this forum.

    I have used remote assistance on warranty work for my families' computers on a couple of occasions. But that was only warranty work where I did not have to pay for this service and I was the beneficiary of it. There is also the trust issue involving remte control. Working with a corporation help desk is one thing but a clear out of the blue stranger on a public forum, ummm, nope.

    Just be a little patient, as right now you are inundated with information and you need some time to process it all. Ask any geek here and you will find there has always been a subject that stymied them at the beginning but the light bulb finally lit and away they went. Most of my moments like that are the :banghead type where "jeez you big dumby" is the politest thing I say to myself.;)
  19. cipher

    cipher Major Geek Extraordinaire

  20. freetime

    freetime Private E-2

    Well, I'm sure this will eliicit a chuckle or two from the 'seasoned folks' around here. I'm not too embarrassed to say that I just spent the whole day/6 hours watching my laptop download and install 116 Microsoft Updates (sight of me just about in tears goes here). Even though I tried to follow the directions and select just the first 10 Updates, it ran ALL of them. NOTE to folks reading this thread I GOOFED UP and it's NOT SOMETHING YOU WANT TO ENDURE with your own computer.

    I have no clue what was done after 6 hours. If I was a drinking man, which I'm not, I would have poured a stiff one!

    And to think I was too timid the other day to 'just' adjust the 'time clock in the toolbox' (that is 3 hours off> still is sadly).

    I get why using 'Remote Assistance' is not done for everyone's sake.....but some senior citizens might have a cardiac infarction if this occurred to them. I could have done without the last 6 hours of stress in my life.

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