Choosing the right Anti-Virus (You can’t depend on Test Scores)

There’s been quite a lot written about this or that anti-virus program lately (especially about Microsoft Security Essentials) and how different security programs have failed to make the cut against the AV-Test.org security standards.  The reality is, the protocols they use are not measuring up, and that is what’s causing the programs to fail, not the programs themselves.

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Messenger Reviver 2

For those of you fond of Windows Live Messenger, who have been forced to move to Skype, Jonathan Kay has just released the thing you’ve been dreaming of..Messenger Reviver 2.  Head on over to his blog MessengerGeek to find out how to bring back your favorite messenger program!

BRAVO Jonathan! Thank you from the bottom of my Windows Live Lovin’ Heart!



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CCleaner Startup Management (Part 3)

You’ll want to be sure you’ve installed CCleaner as per Part 1 of my tutorial before you you head off into this part of the tutorial.  Here we’ll be looking at how you can use CCleaner to easily manage your startup items.  It’s a lot easier than using MSConfig.

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CCleaner Registry Cleanup (Part 2)

If you haven’t read my Preface to CCleaner and made a conscious decision to use it to clean your registry please do so now.  Using a registry cleaner is not a decision to be made lightly.  If you’ve decided to do so, you’ll want to be sure you’ve installed CCleaner as per Part 1 of my tutorial.

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CCleaner Junk File Cleanup (Part 1)

So let’s get started with CCleaner.  The first step is to download and install the program.  I prefer the CCleaner download from Filehippo.  On the right hand side of the page, you’ll see the words “Download Latest Version".  You’ll want to click there to get the download.  The installation is very straightforward (although I personally only do the desktop icon and automatically check for updates selections).  As of this writing, there are no hidden adware or unwanted toolbar options you need to watch out for (Bravo Piriform!) it’s just straight up CCleaner!

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What Security Do I Use? (Short, Sweet and to the Point)

Sometimes people ask me what security I use on my machines. Actually, it’s really very simple.  I don’t like bloating my machine with too many security programs.  Too many security programs that run real-time can actually slow down your computer and have a negative impact on performance.

There are two main things you must have: Firewall and Anti-Virus.  These are not optional in my opinion. 

I have a hardware firewall on my router and I use the Windows firewall. I don’t do a lot that would make me feel the need for an additional software firewall.  I use Microsoft Security Essentials for my real time anti-virus.  I like that it doesn’t slow my system down. Updates are seamless, and it works quite well.  Oh yes - did I mention it’s FREE?

I have also chosen to upgrade to the paid version of Malwarebytes.  I like the real-time protection it offers as well as blocking inbound malicious website and access to malicious sites. It’s not a replacement for anti-virus, but it’s a great supplement to it! The one time fee for home users is well worth the investment.

Using these programs keeps my machine well protected.  For those who do a lot of downloads or who partake in file sharing (which can be risky) more protection would likely be better than the choices I make.  The programs you choose to use may be different from mine - preferences vary.  This is just what works for me.



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Using RevoUninstaller

While it does include additional cleaning tools (not unlike many other programs), the real benefit of Revo Uninstaller is not only the removal of programs, but the leftover files, folders and registry entries that go along with them. Normal uninstall from your control panel leave lots of leftovers that build up over time, leaving lots of junk on your machine. The really nice thing is that Revo Uninstaller does a scan to look for files, folders and registry entries on your system before it does anything else.  Then it attempts to use the built-in uninstall for whatever program you are getting rid of.  After doing this, even if removal fails, Revo Uninstaller compares what is left to the original list of files, folders and registry entries - and gives you the opportunity to remove the leftovers.

Revo Uninstaller helps keep your system clean.  It’s not perfect, and especially when you move shortcuts to folders other than the default locations it seems to have a hard time finding them.  But it does far better than a regular old uninstall at keeping your system free of the leftovers that remain.  I’ve had this program for several years now, and I use it for ALL of my uninstalls.

For the majority of users, the Freeware version will be sufficient, although if you want Full 64-bit support (which may be necessary for some stubborn programs) there is a paid version. The Pro (paid) version also offers the ability to do forced uninstalls for programs that may have failed to fully uninstall properly and remain on your machine. The current $39.25 price tag is a bit hefty for a single computer, although if you really need the program, I’ve found it certainly works as advertised. Something else to keep in mind before shelling out the money for a Pro version is that it is ONLY good for the major release version you are buying. So if you are purchasing version 3.something and they upgrade to version 4.0 you have to upgrade your license (although they do offer upgrade discounts). That means you’ll be paying forever to keep a Pro version. I personally don’t like paying forever for programs, so unless you need to, I’d stick with the free version. But for those geeky techs amongst you, you may have a reason to upgrade. Or if you really truly need the full 64-bit support then you might want to do it. But I’d suggest trying the freeware version to see if it does what you need before putting out the money.

There is also a freeware portable version for those of you who like your portable apps. I’ve become very attached to my portable apps at work. I don’t have to clutter up my work machine with lots of programs and I can take them from machine to machine as needed on my handy dandy USB.

Anyway, enough babbling about it…and on to how to use it. Give it a try and I’m sure you’ll never go back to the standard Control Panel removal method again once you see just how much is leftover from the “normal” method of uninstalling a program. You’ll be glad you took the time to check this out and you’ll be amazed at what it finds and removes for you when you uninstall with RevoUninstaller Freeware Version.

Directions:

Download Revo Uninstaller

  • Double click the installation file on the desktop to run the installer.
  • Let it install to the default location.
  • Double click the new Revo Uninstaller Icon on the desktop to start the program.

You will now see a list of installed programs that Revo Uninstaller can remove.

  • Locate the program you are uninstalling
  • Right Click the Icon then choose Uninstall.
  • Click yes to the warning and choose the Uninstall Mode
  • Choose the Advanced option and then click Next.
  • This will launch the programs built in uninstaller. Be patient it can take several seconds.
  • Once the uninstaller is done click Next.
  • Revo Uninstaller will now scan for leftover information. Be patient it can take several seconds.
  • Once this scan is done click Next.
  • You will then be presented of the leftover entries found by Revo Uninstaller
  • Look at ALL of the entries to ensure they relate to the uninstall.
  • Next click Select All > Delete to remove the entries.
  • Click Next.
  • If there are any program file folders left over you will be presented with a list to be removed.
  • Again look at ALL of the entries to ensure they are related to the uninstall.
  • Click Select All > Delete to remove the entries.
  • Click Finish to go back to the uninstall list.
  • Close the program



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Using System Restore

I must tell you that I love my Windows Live Writer for blogging but it really didn’t do me any favors with my instructions in this post. I spent quite a bit of time having to edit these. I hope someone, somewhere finds these useful.

For those of you who live here in the States, you’ve likely seen the commercial from one of the well known insurance companies, where the very nice gentleman describes how the unsuspecting person, while deep-frying his Thanksgiving turkey, had the cooker blow up his shed. Or the one for On Star, where a loyal customer is in an accident, and the compassionate agent is quickly going to send help. But what protection do you have when a computer crisis strikes?

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