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Old 03-08-2008, 04:42 PM   #1
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minimum computer programs?


My wife bought a new lap top to replace our old pc that was eight years old and really really slow. the new lap top all will do all we ever need that my wife can do any thing that she has to at work. so question is what is the bare minimum of programs needed to just surf the web I know i will need internet explorer and windows media player but else do i absolutly need to just surf the web. also how many processes (sp?) should be running when I open task manager and then veiw processes, I think last time i checked there was over twenty when no programs were running that i new of? right now we are running xp>

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Old 03-11-2008, 01:34 AM   #2
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minimum computer programs?


Processes are not applications. They are most often the core components of the operating system and other integrated software. Usually, they must be loaded into Windows at startup so that Windows has any additional services specified, i.e. network, remote desktop access, realtime antivirus, file & printer sharing, and also so that the programs themselves can actually run when you click on them. Some appear only when the particular software is actually running and disappear once the program is closed. Others, e.g. Windows Explorer (not IE), must be running at all times.

As for software, try exploring your new PC to see what programs are available to you from the factory. They may need to be "installed" even though they are residing on your hard drive in a compressed image.

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Old 03-11-2008, 08:28 AM   #3
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minimum computer programs?


When ever you have a chance use Firefox as your web browser, there's some really great add-ons that make it even better, my favorites are no-script, IE View, and ad-block. Firefox is great that you can really control what happens on web pages, BUT you can also cause problems if you never allow scripts for example.

Download and install the free version of zone alarm (firewall).
Get yourself a good antivirus and keep it updated, I like McAfee and stay clear of Norton products.
Download and install Spybot Search and Destroy, it'll remove tracking cookies....keep it updated.
Download and install Eusing Free Registry Cleaner, it removes collective junk in the windows registry.
Every month you should run the Spybot and Registry cleaner AFTER checking for and installing updates.

And don't forget the XP configuration Utility msconfig (go to START | RUN then type msconfig) it allows you to turn on or off all startup items and services...just be careful, you can turn off stuff you need that could cause major problems. Google any service you see running to see what it is, then decide if you need it. Also if you have applications that run at startup, kill those you don't need.

If your machine is still slow, the single best thing you can do is to add RAM...I don't own a machine with less than 2Gb. Also check to make sure your hard drive has adequate space.

Good luck and happy surfing.
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Old 03-11-2008, 02:37 PM   #4
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minimum computer programs?


"Tracking cookies" are not the danger they're made out to be. Especially if you use Firefox.

I second Firefox for web browsing. Only use IE if you have no other choice. Opera is another good browser. Both Opera and Firefox are free, so it costs you nothing to get them both.

I like AVG for anti-virus. It's free and generally stays out of the way.

ZoneAlarm will often do more harm than good. If you don't understand what it's popping up and alerting you to, you're not going to use it effectively. From what I've heard, the Windows Firewall is actually pretty good.

For the best protection, you want a real hardware firewall/router between you and your internet connection.

"Registry cleaning" is only needed if you make a regular habit of downloading, installing, messing around with, and then removing software that doesn't clean up after itself. If you don't know what you're doing, you can easily make registry/system problems WORSE by messing around with such things.

Same with using MSCONFIG - you can easily screw your system up if you get overzealous with it. Leave well enough alone.

Windows Media Player - avoid it unless you need it. Media Player Classic is much better, as is VLC.

Last edited by NothingsLevel; 03-11-2008 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 03-11-2008, 03:35 PM   #5
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minimum computer programs?


Quote:
Originally Posted by NothingsLevel View Post
"Tracking cookies" are not the danger they're made out to be. Especially if you use Firefox.
Right if you don't though, you have a boat load of add tracking. Some of us have to switch between the two...and I like to clean the machine after an IE session.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NothingsLevel View Post
ZoneAlarm will often do more harm than good. If you don't understand what it's popping up and alerting you to, you're not going to use it effectively. From what I've heard, the Windows Firewall is actually pretty good.
What exactly do you have to back this claim up? I've used it for years and have never had a single issue with it....please share more if you would, I'm curious. Yes you have to pay attention, and learn just like everything else.

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Originally Posted by NothingsLevel View Post
For the best protection, you want a real hardware firewall/router between you and your internet connection.
Sure if you only want to be half protected. I never rely on a the firewall/router only...I like the control at the desktop. How many take the time to correctly set up a DSL router or cable modem not to mention Wireless access points? Hardware alone is not good enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NothingsLevel View Post
"Registry cleaning" is only needed if you make a regular habit of downloading, installing, messing around with, and then removing software that doesn't clean up after itself. If you don't know what you're doing, you can easily make registry/system problems WORSE by messing around with such things.
That's right...that's why you use a tool as listed, it finds those pieces left behind, and cleans them up. Don't think for a minute that all software packages, even those from large corporations clean up after themselves, they don't. Unless you know what your doing, stay away from the registry...but there are times it needs help, and that's why you use something that tested and proven before cutting it loose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NothingsLevel View Post
Same with using MSCONFIG - you can easily screw your system up if you get overzealous with it. Leave well enough alone.
C'mon, is all the sky going to fall or just parts of it? If one researches the startup items and services that are running BEFORE messing with them...there's little to fear. Sounds like you know as well as the rest of us that many applications like to start up helper type programs so the application appears to be fast when it starts up...for example DirectCD, quick time scheduler, Acrobat, Microsoft Office to name a few...all wasting memory resources. Kill'em at startup.
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Old 08-01-2008, 07:16 PM   #6
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minimum computer programs?


I use a computer of the same age of your old one. With Pentium 3 cpu 256 m memory and it flies

Probably you just needed to reformat your old computer and it would be fine

Software i'd install on a Windows computer :

Winamp and VideoLAN media players
Firefox
Lightweight (unofficial) IM client
Office tools (edit text etc / read and write pdfs)
7zip for working with zip and rar files
Something to burn discs
Antivirus and Firewall

I use myself Linux and KDE workspace which contains by default all of the software i need. KDE seem to have a Windows version of their stuff too but it seems to be an early beta and uncomplete

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