Freeware loadout, would like your opinion

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by AshG, Jan 31, 2006.

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  1. AshG

    AshG Registered Member

    May 7, 2005
    East TN
    I'm going to be doing a computer mini-clinic this weekend at a charity event, and am going to be doing minor repairs/installations on any computers that are brought in. I'd like to get this group's opinion on what to use for the loadout that I'm going to install on unprotected systems.

    Antivirus: Avast! Home or Antivir7 PEC
    Antimalware: Microsoft Antispyware and either Ewido or A-squared free
    Cleanup: CCleaner and AMUST Registry (30-day trial)
    Lockdown: Bufferzone

    I need to start working on my take-home guides soon (brochures on how to keep a computer from being taken over by malware) to send home with the event-goers. Please let me know anything you think I may have left out, or any alternatives to what I have listed. Thanks for the help!
  2. trickyricky

    trickyricky Registered Member

    Mar 27, 2005
    London, UK
    I'd definitely include a free firewall as well, such as Zone Alarm or Sunbelt Kerio. Possibly even Kerio 2.1.5 or Ghostwall for older slower systems such as Windows ME or 98.

    I'd also recommend Spybot and AdAware, since both can be installed and used as needed without hitting system resources, and Spybot has other useful little additions such as a souped up hosts file that isn't too over-zealous.

    Don't forget that you'll probably get an assortment of PCs and not all with have Windows XP on them, so any with Windows 98 or ME won't accept MSAS for installation.

    I really would think twice about including a registry cleaner, particularly as the one you're suggesting is only a 30-day trial, and also CCleaner has a pretty good one built in, should you feel registry cleaning by the uninitiated is advisable (I don't).

    Spywareblaster would be a useful addition as again, it uses no system resources yet offers very good protection against rogue stuff getting installed and/or running.

    There's a few suggestions, for what they're worth ;)
  3. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    USA still the best. But barely.
    TR said pretty much what I am thinking. Except go with Avast! home. I'd maybe register Avast for them there. So they get the 14mo subscrip. not the trial length. Which I forget is either 30 or 90 days.
  4. Snowie

    Snowie Guest


    No offense just being honest when saying.....that after reading your Post I can not but question your ability to do the this event.

    It would be extremely irresponsible to introduce a registry cleaner to a Newbe.......considering the havox that could be done to a computer.....

    zapjb made a great point.......

    trickyricky did as well

    If you are going to do this then go the extra mile.......YOU clean each computer brought to you...before installing any you best know What, Where and how to clean it.......cookies need cleaning but the computer owner may need certain cookies....whatca going to do about that?

    Am not trying to be rude...please don't really trying to give you insight on how to proceed.......without causing yourself and others major problems.....
    An don't forget the begin locking up things an the kids will remove those programs.........everything has to be made secure but in a way that everyone can still use the computer without interuption.....

    Maybe you should consider just keeping it anti virus..firewall.....spywareblaster......adaware.......


  5. eyes-open

    eyes-open Registered Member

    May 13, 2005
    Were I to attempt to offer any similar sort of service I would probably go a different way.

    I start with the principle that your not trying to recreate other people's machines in the image of your own. I know how tempting it is.

    Rather than introduce changes that may cause problems later on - is it not possible to offer a basic security audit. Something that generates a simple report and makes recommendations.

    This could be supplemented with a disc that contains appropriate programs and page links etc.
  6. Notok

    Notok Registered Member

    May 28, 2004
    Portland, OR (USA)
    I have to agree on the file and registry cleaner, if you end up deleting something they could hold you liable. It would be better to just use the built-in Disk-Cleanup to delete temp files, then clear the java cache manually, and leave it at that.

    In regards to the tools, I would probably use some tools for cleanup (one time cleaners like Dr Web Cure-It) and then give them a CD full of goodies that they can choose for themselves.. maybe offer to install their choice of software while it's there. Try to use the built-in stuff as much as possible, this will avoid problems and steer you clear of liability issues as much as possible.

    I wouldn't use BufferZone.. it's currently beta and some ways to go, and it's not a freeware product. For the user to use it free, they have to register for the beta and actively take part. Just not a good way to go, again with the liability.. since it's beta, it could very well introduce major issues, and you don't want to be the responsible party for that. I would use something like DropMyRights instead, which is also going to be more user-friendly. Just make sure to set it so that limited users can change the desktop wallpaper (so they don't have to save the image first.. people hate that).. I can post the contents of a .reg file that will let limited users change the desktop wallpaper.

    First and foremost, however, I would set them up with an alternative browser and email. I would also set up some text files that explain the key points of using this software as well as safe practices to avoid getting infected. You might also contact some vendors, some of them might be willing to give you a discount for these people, if they want to register. For the AV you could even take advantage of the ez antivirus 12 months free deal.. it would probably be better than using one of the free AVs. See the apps link in my sig for more.
  7. AshG

    AshG Registered Member

    May 7, 2005
    East TN
    I appreciate the help and advice. I will no longer include CCleaner or Bufferzone as part of the event; with CCleaner, I can understand the issues, and I was unaware of BufferZone's status. Snowie, I understand your concerns; I simply did a poor job of explaining exactly what I'd be doing.

    The clinic is more than just install crap and shove it out the door. Here is the basic rundown of what I intended to do:

    1. Audit the user's current system functionality and security.
    2. If the user is a dial-up user, offer to update their OS and programs via the on-site network.
    3. Update definitions of current working antivirus and antivirus software; if none is present, offer to install software appropriate to the hardware and OS.
    4. If the user does not want to install an antivirus or antimalware product, bookmark online scanners for future use.
    5. Show user how to update and use installed software effectively.
    6. Install SpywareBlaster and KPF (if user desires) and show user how they function.
    7. (edit: FF and Thunderbird, forgot to add that earlier)

    I think that's it... I'm going to have some take-home help papers there so they don't have to take notes, as well as some other non-security brochures. I'll make a few calls and send a few emails to see if I can get some AV event discounts, and I'll definitely keep Trust AV's deal in mind.

    And please, by all means keep the thoughts and info coming. While I've been doing computer work for years this is the first "live event" I've had the opportunity to do. Any and all advice on how to take this to the next level is greatly appreciated.
  8. Snowie

    Snowie Guest


    NOW you're cooking!!! An if I may respectfully offer a couple of suggestions...

    If a visitor refuses to install an anti-virus program....politely refuses to continue any further discussion or computer related cleaning/installs.....

    We all suffer when anyone refuses to use anti virus and firewalls.
    Each infected computer can resonabilty be expected to infect
    other computers an spread Bots, Viruses and Trojans.

    Only a firm "Will Not Tolarate" attitude will suit the attitude of those who refuse to protect their computers and out computers.

    About KPF.......please remember that NewBes wont have the slightest idea about making RULES or implementing RULES......if they are not able to get pass the firewall with AIM they most likely will disable the firewall.

    Instead of KPF......consider Zone Alarm 2.6........yes, its an old version but its a decent version......easy on a NewBes to understand and use....lite on the will provide the USER with some interesting insight into how often their computer gets Pinged/Scanned, you wont be getting phone calls in the night from people complaining how they can't get this or that program on to access the internet........explain your motives to the people for using ZA 2.6 an you may just find they will respect you even more........suddenly computer security becomes fun...interesting......people will be able to actually "See" the "HITS" by seeing will begin to take security seriously.


    Snowie The Snowman
  9. I don't need a realtime antivirus. I use several online AV scanners a couple of times per week and use Deep Freeze. I use Shadowsurfer on my laptop. I also have anti-executable on both.
  10. JerryM

    JerryM Registered Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    I would not want to do without Win Patrol, and recommend you include that. I have the Plus, but the free gives some excellent info, and permits easy disabling of statr-up or running processes when desired.

    I think the type of folks you are going to address should stay away from anything complicated, such as registry cleaners. (I am afraid of them myself), and stay with straightforward programs that just operate well out of the box.
    The free programs will be welcome to them also.

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