Un-official Unsolicited Vista and Windows 7 Advice Thread

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  • DavidTODavidTO Mod Emeritus Thousand Oaks, CARegistered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited November 11, 2007
    SloYerRoll wrote:
    While there are some inherant issues w/ Vista. Go ahead and tell me that OS X 10.0 wasn't riddled w/ problems in 2001. I had to install it 4 times just to get OS X up and running on my mac.


    I'm really going to stay out of this thread, I'm glad it's here for y'all. I only wanted to say one thing: the transition from OS9 to OSX was well planned and it was a pretty smooth transition. Problem is unlike a transition from XP to Vista, it seems to me that MS just replaced the one with the other? Am I wrong on that? I mean, can you even buy a new computer without Vista?

    MS did with Vista what Apple gave up on. Apple tried to build a whole new OS and failed, and eventually had to buy the technology from NexT, which is based on a UNIX under the hood. So, while we can all poke fun at Vista, it's a monumental undertaking. Really, pretty impressive, for all its faults. thumb.gif
    Moderator Emeritus
    Dgrin FAQ | Me | Workshops
  • ChrisJChrisJ Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,162 Major grins
    edited November 11, 2007
    DavidTO wrote:
    I mean, can you even buy a new computer without Vista?

    Yes, Microsoft was forced (by public demand) to allow XP sales longer than they wanted. The current deadline for XP sales is January 2009, but for OEMs (Dell, HP, etc) it's Summer 2008.

    As an IT Pro, I have a copy of Vista sitting in my desk at work, alone and unloved. So I'm really enjoying reading this thread to see what some of the issues are! It's in my future eventually...
    Chris
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainAdministrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,636 moderator
    edited November 12, 2007
    DavidTO wrote:
    Problem is unlike a transition from XP to Vista, it seems to me that MS just replaced the one with the other? Am I wrong on that?
    Not really. While there are components of the OS that were completely rewritten (like the network stack) most of the changes were incremental. Most old Windows software will run just fine under Vista. The reason you hear about so many problems is that there is an order of magnitude difference in the size of the Windows world compared to Apple. Many more users, many more programs, many more devices. Since problems are often the result of the combinations of these factors, there are probably three orders of magnitude more chances that something will go wrong.
    DavidTO wrote:
    I mean, can you even buy a new computer without Vista?
    Yep, I just did, though it was swimming against the tide to find what I wanted. The sexy, media-oriented machines all come with Vista, but it is possible to "downgrade" to XP on some of them. Corporate sales are crucial to Msft and corporate IT likes to stay one release behind to minimize disruption. So Dell, Lenovo and HP were able to pressure Msft into extending the life of XP. I expect that XP is going to be sold and supported even longer than the current stated plans. In a year or so, it will become a moot point as Msft will work out the major bugs/irritations and the cost of hardware needed for Vista will become cheaper. Then maybe we can look forward to a few years of peace before the cycle starts all over again.

    One final point: It is important to remember that most new machines that are sized for Vista run just fine and people are very happy with them. Installing Vista on an older machine can be more problematic, but it is by no means impossible.
  • PupatorPupator Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,322 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    Good software (free or cheap)
    http://www.feedreader.com/downloadOne advantage of PCs is that because of the market share there is more software available. This isn't to say there's something you can do on a PC that no software exists for on a Mac, just that we have more options.

    So let's talk about some software that I've found to be particularly helpful and you all can add your favorites as well. You'll find that I'm biased towards FOSS (free, open source software).

    Virus/Security
    Most of my computers don't have any virus software on them - I don't browse in such a way that's its necessary, still I can make some recommendations here.

    1) Avast Anti-virus - free real-time scanning virus protection. Protects your e-mail, your chat conversations, your internet browsing, and even P2P programs. Avast is free for home use, you just have to fill out a short registration form and they e-mail you a code. This is my top pick by far as it doesn't slow down your system and gets the job done.

    2) AOL Virus Scan Plus (McAfee) - AOL gives away a lightweight version of McAfee for free (you don't have to be an AOL customer to get it). If for some reason you don't want to go with Avast, this is the way to go.

    3) Firewall - I've said this on another thread and I'll say it again (there will be many who disagree) - for your home computer, just get a router. Any router ($20-50) will do. Put it in between your computer and the cable/dsl modem and POW! Instant stealth. That and Vista's built-in firewall will provide all the protection 99% of users need.

    4) Spyware/adware - I've never had any problems with Vista's built in Windows Defender, but Adaware is good and free too.

    Backup
    1) Sync Back free edition - Set up automatic backups of any and all files on your PC to any location (attached hdd, usb hdd, network drive, online storage). It's all you need and EVERYONE should use it.

    Chat/IM
    1) Pidgin - For IM of almost any type you use:
    221370130-X3.jpg
    I used Trillian before but it got to bloated. Pidgin is lightweight, offers some great plug-ins, and does everything I need.

    2) HydraIRC - Good, easy to use IRC client for chatting. No nag windows for donations and registration like MIRC.

    Utilities
    1) 7-zip - zip/unzip utility that is more full-feature than the one built in to Windows. You can add this to the right click command list so that whenever you highlight a group of files you can right click on them and choose "create archive." Good stuff.

    2) GVIM - essential if you do any kind of programming on windows. This won't screw up your code like notepad will. Also helpful even if you just do little things like edit CSS.

    Other
    1) The Guide - I don't really know how to explain it; it's a threaded note taking, project managing thing. I use it for work to keep track of what I know and what I need to do for particular items. I'm including a screen shot in case that helps, but I encourage you to browse the website - I think most people could find a use for this.

    221372245-M.jpg

    2) Feed Reader - great way to keep up to date with the websites I visit every day (including forums). Although, I haven't had success with the rss feed for the dgrin forums yet. :-/
  • Ric GrupeRic Grupe Hampshire Prairie Registered Users Posts: 9,522 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    The finest...most reliable...least intrusive anti-virus program on the planet, IMO, is Eset's Nod32.
  • PupatorPupator Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,322 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    It may well be, but at $40/year deal.gif something bad would have to happen to one of my Avast machines before I try it and see.
  • Ric GrupeRic Grupe Hampshire Prairie Registered Users Posts: 9,522 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    Pupator wrote:
    It may well be, but at $40/year deal.gif something bad would have to happen to one of my Avast machines before I try it and see.

    Remember...just because something hasn't happened only means it's more likely to happen...not less likely.

    I agree the need for virus and spyware programs is vastly overated. It's like buying insurance...my house will never burn down...so why buy fire insurance. Do you? mwink.gif
  • PupatorPupator Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,322 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    That's a bit of a straw-man argument.

    First of all, there's a difference between the value of my house and the value of the time I would need to remove a virus or (worst case) deal with reinstalling Windows. Cost vs. Risk

    Secondly, the assumption you're making is that because one piece of software costs $40 it's necessarily better than that which is free. But we know that's not a valid argument because Norton costs $50! rolleyes1.gif

    If I were to see Avast fail, or if it were to get really bad results from testing - I'd switch to something else. As long as it continues to fair well in my own use and in other's tests, I see no reason to pay.

    If you're happy with what you've got, by all means stick with it. But don't suggest that you're automatically safer because you pay for AV rather than use free. Or am I missing something?
  • Ric GrupeRic Grupe Hampshire Prairie Registered Users Posts: 9,522 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    Pupator wrote:
    Or am I missing something?

    YES!

    The fact that NOD 32 is better. Not because it co$t...because it is. Free is nice...not better.

    http://www.av-comparatives.org/seiten/ergebnisse_2007_05.php

    After posting this I see that AV comparatives does not allow direct linking to files.

    Go here and click on tha comparison table links. http://www.av-comparatives.org/
  • PupatorPupator Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,322 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    Outstanding! clap.gif

    You can't argue with objective results. NOD was the best on the list. Whether or not I'll pay $40 to go from "Advanced" certification to "Advanced+" is another matter, but it certainly can be said to be objectively better! deal.gif
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainAdministrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,636 moderator
    edited November 14, 2007
    Pupator wrote:
    So let's talk about some software that I've found to be particularly helpful and you all can add your favorites as well. You'll find that I'm biased towards FOSS (free, open source software).
    Excellent, useful idea. thumb.gif

    OK, I have been using the free version of AVG for anti-virus for a number of years and am happy with it. I confess I haven't really done any in-depth research on the matter--mostly because I think the virus issue is vastly over-hyped--but it seems to be about as highly regarded as Avast in the techie forums I visit. There may be better ones, ne_nau.gif but this seems to be good enough. It updates itself automatically daily.

    When I remember, I run Ad-Aware and SpyBot Search and Destroy, both free programs that address spyware. Neither of these has ever found anything other than tracking cookies on my machine, and while I do eliminate them, I don't lose any sleep over them. Again, if you just exercise common sense, I think the spyware problem is exaggerated. Years ago, I did end up with Gator on a machine, but all it took was a Google search to find reliable instructions to remove it.

    I have Mike Lin's Startup Monitor running in the background at all times. This is a very light-weight program that issues a warning whenever a program tries to register something to run automatically at startup time and lets you decide whether to allow it or not. I'm guessing that this should no longer be necessary with Vista.

    Mostly, though, I rely on my hardware router to keep the nasties out. Every time I configure a new machine I go to Gibson Research's page and run Shields Up, a program to probe vulnerabilities from the outside. Very useful. It's a bit geeky, but then so am I.
  • Ric GrupeRic Grupe Hampshire Prairie Registered Users Posts: 9,522 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    Pupator wrote:
    Outstanding! clap.gif

    You can't argue with objective results. NOD was the best on the list. Whether or not I'll pay $40 to go from "Advanced" certification to "Advanced+" is another matter, but it certainly can be said to be objectively better! deal.gif

    :D

    At least we have common feelings on what a POS Norton is.rolleyes1.gif I learned the hard way with Norton and thus...did my homework.

    My youngest son is an IT guy for a major corporation, and he was shocked when he saw that I was using NOD32 since it's most prominent use is in the corporate business environment and not marketed or hyped for the home PC user. Please note that at no time was I insinuating that Avast was not good...it is.

    I see that Eset IS marketing a security package (aimed at the home user...no doubt). I don't see the need for it and would just stick with the av program.
  • Ric GrupeRic Grupe Hampshire Prairie Registered Users Posts: 9,522 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    rsinmadrid wrote:
    It's a bit geeky, but then so am I.

    rolleyes1.gifroflrolleyes1.gif

    Must be a "Richard" thing.:D

    Good info.thumb.gif
  • HarlanBearHarlanBear grin & bear it Lakewood Ranch, FLRegistered Users Posts: 290 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    Pupator wrote:
    3) Firewall - I've said this on another thread and I'll say it again (there will be many who disagree) - for your home computer, just get a router. Any router ($20-50) will do. Put it in between your computer and the cable/dsl modem and POW! Instant stealth. That and Vista's built-in firewall will provide all the protection 99% of users need.

    I am running Vista and therefore have Windows Defender. I also have Norton Anti-virus (which is closing in on the free trial period and will probably replace with either NOD32 or Avast) and the free version of ZoneAlarm's Firewall. Do I really need to buy a router? The last thing I want to do, if avoidable, is have another piece of equipment on my desk and plugged into the wall. I've had very good luck with ZoneAlarm on my XP machine and fine so far on Vista, but want to know what the experts say.

    Thanks.
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainAdministrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,636 moderator
    edited November 14, 2007
    HarlanBear wrote:
    I am running Vista and therefore have Windows Defender. I also have Norton Anti-virus (which is closing in on the free trial period and will probably replace with either NOD32 or Avast) and the free version of ZoneAlarm's Firewall. Do I really need to buy a router? The last thing I want to do, if avoidable, is have another piece of equipment on my desk and plugged into the wall. I've had very good luck with ZoneAlarm on my XP machine and fine so far on Vista, but want to know what the experts say.

    Thanks.

    Unless you only are using one computer in your house, you probably are using a router now. Most DSL and cable modems are routers as well. Just make sure that NAT (network address translation) is enabled on it. This will make it much harder for the bad guys to scan your machines looking for weaknesses. If you are on a dialup connection, then you are much less vulnerable to certain kinds of mischief and there would be no reason to use a router.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,162 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    Pupator wrote:
    Firewall - I've said this on another thread and I'll say it again (there will be many who disagree) - for your home computer, just get a router.
    I highly agree with this. Some cable/dsl modems come with built-in routers nowadays, otherwise get a box so your system has a private IP address. (Mac or PC)
    Pupator wrote:
    2) GVIM - essential if you do any kind of programming on windows. This won't screw up your code like notepad will. Also helpful even if you just do little things like edit CSS.
    Here's an alternative I've recently found and really like: Notepad++

    Some others of my favorite freeware apps...

    Putty - SSH Client
    SIW - System Information for Windows
    WinMerge - File/Directory Comparision
    Chris
  • HarlanBearHarlanBear grin & bear it Lakewood Ranch, FLRegistered Users Posts: 290 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    rsinmadrid wrote:
    Unless you only are using one computer in your house, you probably are using a router now. Most DSL and cable modems are routers as well. Just make sure that NAT (network address translation) is enabled on it. This will make it much harder for the bad guys to scan your machines looking for weaknesses. If you are on a dialup connection, then you are much less vulnerable to certain kinds of mischief and there would be no reason to use a router.

    Very interesting.
    One computer, cable to modem to computer. I'll have to check with my ISP, I guess, to confirm that the modem is or isn't a router. If true, seems I don't need software firewall at all.
  • PupatorPupator Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,322 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    HarlanBear wrote:
    Very interesting.
    One computer, cable to modem to computer. I'll have to check with my ISP, I guess, to confirm that the modem is or isn't a router. If true, seems I don't need software firewall at all.

    Much faster is to just take Richard's suggestion:
    Mostly, though, I rely on my hardware router to keep the nasties out. Every time I configure a new machine I go to Gibson Research's page and run Shields Up, a program to probe vulnerabilities from the outside. Very useful. It's a bit geeky, but then so am I.

    Go to Sheilds Up, click "Proceed," and run the "common ports" test. When the results come in, scroll down the page and look at the table of ports. You want all yours to be stealth. If they are - you (likely) have a router.
  • HarlanBearHarlanBear grin & bear it Lakewood Ranch, FLRegistered Users Posts: 290 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    Pupator wrote:
    Much faster is to just take Richard's suggestion:


    Go to Sheilds Up, click "Proceed," and run the "common ports" test. When the results come in, scroll down the page and look at the table of ports. You want all yours to be stealth. If they are - you have a router.

    Thanks, Paul. Will do. thumb.gif

    And thanks to you too, Richard. Great info. :D
  • SloYerRollSloYerRoll Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,788 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    Thought I'd add a quick note in here about CS3.
    I finally upgraded my whole suite to Web Premium and I couldn't save anything in Illustrator w/o it crashing.

    I did a bit of searching and it says that the print spooler needs to be running in order to save .ai files since it "prints" post script when it saves.

    An earlier post I mentioned a thread on how to speed up Vista. Turning off the print spooler was one of those options.

    How to turn spooler back on for quick reference?
    Click on the pearl and type "services.msc" in the search box.
    You will see a long list pop up that is alphabeticaly arranged. Just scroll down to print spooler and set the startup type to "automatic". This option is not a resource hog and won't affect performance that much.

    Cheers,
    -Jon
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainAdministrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,636 moderator
    edited November 14, 2007
    HarlanBear wrote:
    Very interesting.
    One computer, cable to modem to computer. I'll have to check with my ISP, I guess, to confirm that the modem is or isn't a router. If true, seems I don't need software firewall at all.
    A software firewall can give you additional protection that a router won't supply. The router will protect you from bad guys trying to connect to your computer. A software firewall can also be configured to prevent a program on your computer from connecting to another computer. The very worst of the malware out there manages to get a program to run on your computer without your knowledge and that program can generally do all kinds of evil things: send spam, attempt to infect other computers, record all your keystrokes and email them to some crook, etc. You can configure a software firewall to only permit known programs to make connections on the net. Should one of these very nasty programs get onto your computer somehow, an alarm will be raised when it tries to connect to the net, which will tip you off that you have been infected.

    But be warned: firewalling outbound connections can be a pain in the ass, at least for a while. Some programs inherently need to connect to the net (email, browsers, P2P apps, anti-virus stuff); others will do so only once in a while, like those that automatically check to see whether new program updates are available. You will need to explicitly configure the firewall to permit these connections. You only have to do it once for each program, but it will certainly be annoying in the short run. My own feeling is that with a router and anti-virus software in place (and prudent surfing habits) an outbound firewall is more trouble than it's worth. But it depends on how paranoid you are.
  • HarlanBearHarlanBear grin & bear it Lakewood Ranch, FLRegistered Users Posts: 290 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    rsinmadrid wrote:
    A software firewall can give you additional protection that a router won't supply. The router will protect you from bad guys trying to connect to your computer. A software firewall can also be configured to prevent a program on your computer from connecting to another computer. The very worst of the malware out there manages to get a program to run on your computer without your knowledge and that program can generally do all kinds of evil things: send spam, attempt to infect other computers, record all your keystrokes and email them to some crook, etc. You can configure a software firewall to only permit known programs to make connections on the net. Should one of these very nasty programs get onto your computer somehow, an alarm will be raised when it tries to connect to the net, which will tip you off that you have been infected.

    But be warned: firewalling outbound connections can be a pain in the ass, at least for a while. Some programs inherently need to connect to the net (email, browsers, P2P apps, anti-virus stuff); others will do so only once in a while, like those that automatically check to see whether new program updates are available. You will need to explicitly configure the firewall to permit these connections. You only have to do it once for each program, but it will certainly be annoying in the short run. My own feeling is that with a router and anti-virus software in place (and prudent surfing habits) an outbound firewall is more trouble than it's worth. But it depends on how paranoid you are.


    Thanks Richard, more good info.

    I have ZoneAlarm configured so no connection between programs and the outside world happen unless I approve it. Once the warning comes up, I can choose to have ZA remember my response and act accordingly. So when Norton, for instance first tries to connect for updates, I get the warning. I can approve with remember or as a one time thing. For these programs I tell it to remember that connection to that address and I'm not bothered anymore for the updates. Anything I don't recognize, I just decline, figuring if I need it, it will come up again. Make sense?
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainAdministrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,636 moderator
    edited November 14, 2007
    HarlanBear wrote:
    Anything I don't recognize, I just decline, figuring if I need it, it will come up again. Make sense?

    You're in good shape, Mick. I would still feel safer behind a NAT enabled router, but if the Shields Up report is clean, you can rest easy.

    Cheers,
  • HarlanBearHarlanBear grin & bear it Lakewood Ranch, FLRegistered Users Posts: 290 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    rsinmadrid wrote:
    You're in good shape, Mick. I would still feel safer behind a NAT enabled router, but if the Shields Up report is clean, you can rest easy.

    Cheers,

    I'll check that when I get back to la casa (as those around you might say):D

    Thanks for all you help, Richard. Greatly appreciated.
  • DJ-S1DJ-S1 Life is good! Registered Users Posts: 2,303 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2007
    SHields Up reports I am in full stealth mode -cool! I figured I was but it's nice to have confirmation, thanks for link guys.

    As for freeware apps I have AdAware and Avast!AV right now. I use AdAware every once in a while just in case but like Richard it has never found anything harmful, just cookies.

    Oh, and Firefox of course!thumb.gif
  • HarlanBearHarlanBear grin & bear it Lakewood Ranch, FLRegistered Users Posts: 290 Major grins
    edited November 15, 2007
    Yep. ShieldsUp says I'm in full stealth, so I can now sleep well, too.

    Just have to decide on AV software for the longrun. That could keep me up.

    Jeez, it never ends.:crazy

    Thank god no one else on this forum is obsessive compulsive!
  • PupatorPupator Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,322 Major grins
    edited November 23, 2007
    A word of warning about 64 bit...
    This notebook was running slower than what I'd have liked, so I decided to upgrade to 64 bit Vista to see if it made a difference.

    1) It certainly did. I got a considerable performance boost by upgrading to the 64 bit version.

    2) The upgrade did introduce one significant problem. There is no 64 bit version of iTunes. You can get the 32 bit version installed, and with a 3rd party driver update hack you can even get iTunes to burn CDs (it won't without it), but there's nothing you can do to make your iPhone (or iPod, I imagine) work with it. LAME LAME LAME.

    C'mon Apple - where's the 64 bit iTunes or at least a 64 bit USB driver for your iPhone? :cry
  • wellmanwellman Swimming for Them Registered Users Posts: 961 Major grins
    edited November 27, 2007
    A stumper... This has me longing for the wonder that was Windows XP...

    Vista simply will not copy a folder from a data DVD to my hard drive. It's a 1.2 GB folder with thousands of files and subfolders. Drag and drop - nothing. Copy/Paste - nothing. Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V - Nothing. Reboot - nothing. No process gets fired up. NOTHING.

    Pop the disc into an XP box, drag, drop, done.

    Any fixes out there? ear.gif
  • PupatorPupator Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,322 Major grins
    edited November 28, 2007
    wellman wrote:
    A stumper... This has me longing for the wonder that was Windows XP...

    Vista simply will not copy a folder from a data DVD to my hard drive. It's a 1.2 GB folder with thousands of files and subfolders. Drag and drop - nothing. Copy/Paste - nothing. Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V - Nothing. Reboot - nothing. No process gets fired up. NOTHING.

    Pop the disc into an XP box, drag, drop, done.

    Any fixes out there? ear.gif

    Weird. I just tried the same thing and it worked fine for me. eek7.gif

    Have you tried disabling remote differential compression as explained in a previous thread?
  • PupatorPupator Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,322 Major grins
    edited November 28, 2007
    HP Customer Service Rocks
    I mentioned in a previous thread that my notebook (pretty new) wasn't running 32bit Vista as well as I'd hoped. While it runs 64bit really well, I can't use 64 bit because iTunes+iPhone is incompatible with it and my iPhone has all my work contacts and e-mail.

    A few weeks ago I called the HP store and told them I wasn't happy with my purchase because it was too slow, and while I knew I was about 20 days out of the return period, I was a good HP customer and would really appreciate them exchanging it for me. They said no but offered to send my "case" up to a supervisor and I'd be called within 48 hours.

    I never heard back and the Thanksgiving holidays came so I just figured I was stuck with the notebook. Then, the Friday after Thanksgiving I got an e-mail from an HP supervisor asking me to give her a call to discuss my "case."

    I explained it to her, she saw my purchase history (lots of HPs for home and the office) and immediately agreed to do the exchange for me. We went online and built a system with a much better processor, screen and everything else the same (except I had to get a slightly bigger screen). She's having it sent out to me and I don't have to send this one back until it arrives. All at 60+ days past the return period and without any cost to me. How awesome is that?? wings.gif
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