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Old 08-03-2004, 04:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I've spent hours searching this site for answers to my questions but have not been able to find ones that fit my situation. Sorry for any incovenience.

I have always had my friend reformat my computer for me, because we usually hang out a lot and whenever I complain about my computer he offers to format it. And when i was younger my dad did it for me so I have no experience. But this time I want to reformat it myself and i want to make sure I do everything i can to safe guard it. Here are my computer's specs

AMD 1.33 or 1.2 i forget.
40 Gig Hdrive
768 MB of SDRam
ATI Radeon 7200
Abit Motherboard KT7A Raid
Using Broadband currently with no Router just bought one to put in.

After reformatting my computer what are some good first steps I can take to safe guard it from bad stuff on the internet? I have a router that I will install, I have ad-aware and spybot ready to install as well.

Is there anyway to prevent a memory leak? Or is there free monitoring software? If there is software and its not free how much should i spend on it and whats a good brand?

My friend mentioned IP Masquarade is that necessary if I have a wireless router? Or is it already something the router has, I know for sure my router uses SPI and NAT.

I noticed surfing the web, when i go to some pages it asks me to install some software or product and I click no. But i later find out it made its way into my computer anyway...and changed the Registry. And sometimes Spybot can't do anything to fix it...but maybe I'm not smart enough to use spybot correctly. HOw can I protect my registry?

Misc. whats Fat32 vs NTFS. I do web design, motion graphics and print design, largest photoshop files are around 400mb. Largest video files are 300-400mb. I usually have many folders for many clients and projects. How does Fat32 and NTFS affect my computer?

Finally, any extra advice, tips or issues you believe I should be concerned with...please inform me. I'm trying my best to learn more about computer maintainence so thanks.
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Old 08-03-2004, 05:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow... do DID have a bundle of Q's...lol... it's cool atleast you tried searching on the forums which is far more than what most newbies do. Heck you even posted in the correct forum!

You've got a lot of questions and i'll answer some of the basic ones for you.

Re: FAT32 vs. NTFS. A hard drive needs to be formatted in order for it to accept data. Record/write/read etc. MS initially offered FAT16 (or commonly referred to as just FAT for brevity) for smaller hard drives for simple storage means. Later as HDD manufacturers released larger HDDs they came up with FAT32 to accommodate that. NTFS is a another file system that was first introduced with NT 3.0 operating system. There are other file systems used today, but these two (FAT32/NTFS) are the most common ones used today MS OSes. OS like Linux use their own FS. FS=File Systems.

Win9.x based OSes, such as Win98, only support FAT/FAT32. However, NT based OSes support both FAT and NTFS. There are advantages of using NTFS, but for the average home user, FAT32 is fine. One consideration with today's larger hard drives being sold on the market is that when you use FAT32 on a massive HDD like 100 GB for example, there is a great deal of slack space that's created by using an inefficient FS like FAT32. In such a case, using NTFS is an ideal choice (as long as you're running NT/ W2K/ XP) because regardless of the partition size you use, the cluster size remains constant and there's very little slack space.

With NTFS 5.0, you also get the benefit of native encryption and you can lock out unauthorized users from browsing certain folders of your choosing.

Quote:
Originally posted by project-09
Is there anyway to prevent a memory leak? Or is there free monitoring software? If there is software and its not free how much should i spend on it and whats a good brand?
WinNT/2K/ XP manage resources much better than Win9.x. You will not have the typical problems that plagues Win9.x OS and there is NO NEED for you to install any memory management software. Do not buy into any website that claims that it can 'free up your RAM' - typically they are selling you just snake oil.

Quote:
Originally posted by project-09
I noticed surfing the web, when i go to some pages it asks me to install some software or product and I click no. But i later find out it made its way into my computer anyway...and changed the Registry. And sometimes Spybot can't do anything to fix it...but maybe I'm not smart enough to use spybot correctly. HOw can I protect my registry?
Well you're not gonna exactly 'protect' your registry by installing any software. Utilities like Spybot & AdAware work by scanning your PC for any nasties AFTER the fact.

All versions of MS OS Win9.x have a registry backup utility or command line that you can use. I assume that you are using WinXP - when you are at your desktop, press F1 for help and type in keywords "Registry". You'll be surprised at how good the Help files are and you'll find directions on how to back up your registry.

After your fresh install of the OS, I would make a ghost image of it. Software utilties like Norton's Ghost/ Acronis True Image are great utiliities you can buy to make a exact clone/replica of your HDD or partition. In case your system becomes really hosed, you can then restore the image and it will save you the headache of doing a fresh install again. I would highly advise you to invest in the $40-$50 bucks for such a program.

Finally, make sure you D/L all your device drivers BEFORE you proceed and burn them onto a CD or put them on a floppy. It will make life easy for you when you proceed w/ your fresh install.
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Old 08-03-2004, 05:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the help Lone Wolf it should be really useful when I reformat. I'll definitely check up on the registry help.

If you have any extra advice on how to secure my PC please tell me. Will be using SPybot, Ad aware, router plus antivirus. Are there other things I need?

Oh crap...bring up one more question. Software firewall and hardware firewall...will they work well together or will I get conflicts?

Ghosting is great advice, I'll try that. I have mixed thoughts about all these different AVs from reading a previous posting. But I won't bother you with it, I'll see what info i can dig up on it.

many Thanks again.
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Old 08-03-2004, 06:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It's good you're asking questions like this, it shows me you are THINKING AHEAD - wtg man.

I guess from reading your post that you're still undecided whether you're gonna use a wireless router or not - eh? If so, I have a great link for you on how to secure your wireless connection.

There's no problem of having both a s/w and h/w FW. In fact, it's a great idea to do that if your budget allows for a decent router that has FW protection. On the software side, my money is on ZoneAlarm and many others here like Mod - MicroBell also feel the same way about ZA. Considering it's price (FREE) and quality, ya can't go wrong. They just released an update for it .. latest version is 5.1.011

http://www.zonelabs.com/store/conten...eeDownload.jsp

As far as which AV to choose... yeah we've had plenty of discussion here about which one is the best... blah blah blah... Personally i like Norton AV but i'm afraid it will set off another lame *** thread.. my AV is better than your AV.....Zzzz..... So i think you should just go w/ what you feel is good for you. Any AV is better than no AV s/w at all!
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Old 08-03-2004, 06:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Very encouraging Lone Wolf. Will dl ZA. Feel ripped off, just read more about ICF, Window XPs built in Firewall. I got a wireless router for the firewall protection mostly...didn't know I already had it on my OS though. Unless ICF isn't as good a firewall as the hardware one. Any experience using ICF for XP Lone Wolf? Anyway I think as far as questions thats it, unless anyone can bring up more issues that I forgot to cover security wise.
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Old 08-03-2004, 06:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by project-09
Any experience using ICF for XP Lone Wolf?
The ICF that you are referring to only blocks incoming - no outbound traffic will be monitored by it. It's OK for what it is, but for full protection both outbound and inbound traffic, ZA is the best. I hope that's clear -- it's the end of the day and my brain is fried!
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Old 08-03-2004, 06:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Cool now i don't feel ripped as much by buying a router. Thanks again. Have a good rest of the day. Take care.
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