New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

General system trouble. Software, hardware related. NOT for infection assistance.

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Tampa9vd
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New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby Tampa9vd » Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:08 pm

My laptop gave up its ghost, and I had to buy a new one. I've been uninstalling the "bloatware" and installing a variety of maintenance and security programs. Also, I've been optimizing and tweaking my computer to improve performance. The reason for removing the bloatware is that with less on my hard disk, using a utility like JKDefrag allows me move the majority of my programs and data to the outer part of the hard disk where there's lower seek times (i.e., better/faster performance). The other part of things is to remove those processes/services that take up RAM, but that I don't need or use ... making more RAM available for the programs I'm running.

With that preface, I'd like to ask for Jean's recommendations on my suite of malware-fighting and maintenance utilities. I am currently using the following, and I'd like to know if any are redundant:

The following are memory resident processes (or services) loaded every time I boot up:

* A-Squared
Protects against trojans, spyware, adware, worms, keyloggers, rootkits, dialers and other malicious programs
* Avast Free
Anti-virus (primarily), anti-spyware, anti-rootkit
* MalwareBytes
Anti-malware
* Online Armor
Firewall (software)
* OpenDNS Updater
Anti-phishing & faster loading of web pages
* Secunia PSI
Scans software programs on the hard disk and lists those that are insecure and need to be patched/updated
* Spybot
Anti-spyware, anti-ad-ware scanner & remover; Teatimer notifies you of changes to the registry
* SpywareBlaster
Prevents installation of ActiveX-based spyware, ad-ware, dialers, browser hijackers; blocks spyware/tracking cookies; restricts actions of spyware/ad/tracking sites
* Windows Update
* WinPatrol
The Plus (paid) version provides me with information about the tasks and services running on my computer and lets me change how they load (or IF they load).

I run the following programs weekly (manually; i.e., these are not resident programs)

* pagedfrg
Defrags the Paging file during boot-up, not resident
* Panda Active Scan
* RegistryBooster ***
Cleans up the registry
* RogueRemover
Removes rogue anti-spyware, anti-virus, and hard-drive-cleaning applications
* HijackThis
I scan and look at the log weekly or after software installations to see what's "new"
* JKDefrag
Defrags the hard disk

*** I have the latest version of RegistryBooster, but a Glary Utilities equivalent found 690 entries in my registry that pointed to non-existent files. I'm going to continue to compare the two, but will probably switch over to the Glary Utilities version

Note: I am unable to run SiteHound in the latest version of Firefox. It crashes Firefox every time I click on Options or try to update SiteHound. The company says they are aware of the problem and working on it.
I update the MVP hosts file every time I'm notified by email.

So why am I asking for your opinion/thoughts? I had some problems with Online Armor starting with an error and the firewall starting in a turned-off (not active) state. Tech support is sending me a build to test. But in the course of dialog, one of their trusted members (a beta tester) said the following:

Running several competing real time malware scanners, like A**2, avast!, MBAM, Spybot, Spyware Blaster, Winpatrol is often reported as causing unusual problems because of their contention as proxies and for their use of kernel level processes at times, as well as just plain incompatibility. Usual recommendation is to pick one or two that complement each other without interference for on-access usage, and use the others as on-demand. And anytime you install something new, suspect the old! But if you don't have any problems, hope you keep having such good luck. If you read here and in the avast! and other forums you will find lots of others who are not as fortunate with their choices. Even after you remove them, some of them haunt you.


Am I running so much stuff that I am creating some unexpected conflicts? My goal is to get everything tweaked, optimized, and running perfectly, create a restore point and burn an image of my hard disk onto a DVD. Using my restore disks would "restore" my hard disk back to the state it was in when I first purchased it; i.e., with HP bloatware, outdated drivers and minus the software that I always install on my computers.

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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby JeanInMontana » Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:56 pm

OK, wow, some interesting stuff here. Registry cleaners need to be used with extreme caution, I can't stress this enough. Everyone you use is going to find something different to "fix". Allowing the wrong fix can ruin you. The registry is the backbone, if you break it, all sorts of things can and will happen. I have not used Registry Booster, I like EasyCleaner, also free and with some nice features a great UI too. Never use the duplicate file remover, unless you absolutely know what your removing. Some Windows files are meant to be duplicate.

I agree running both A2 and MBAM as active protection is not good and will slow you down. It's too bad if you paid for A2 also because I know you paid for MBAM. I am sure MBAM is updated more often and that would be why I choose it to keep as the active malware prevention. Having A2 as backup is good.

Avast is antivirus and you need that too and as active. Anti virus and antimalware are not the same. Many antivirus will not remove a trojan. Trojans are the predominant form of malware today, not virus. Avira would be my choice for antivirus too. It is maintained better.

WinPatrol has never caused a conflict of any kind for me it is NOT an antimalware program. It doesn't scan for malware at all it scans for added entries in the start up list and changes to the registry. Granted those are also malware areas, but not the same. I run it along side MBAM, Avira and OA no problems.

SpyBot Search & Destroy (Spybot is a rogue.) is not an active process unless your running TeaTimer. I wouldn't use TeaTimer, it is a PITA IMO. It works very well, but it's a constant thing to give permissions, that combined with OA would be crippling. The huge value of SBS&D is the immunization and that it does remove tracking cookies and some trojans. SpywareBlaster is not a running process either and doesn't conflict with anything. RogueRemover free and Pro are not being updated at this time, however the onetime immunization of either is great. In light of this, I wonder who is telling you this at OA forums because they have proved they don't know what they are saying.

I am running the current version of SiteHound with the current version of FF and have no issues. I didn't know there were any at all. The guys at FireTrust are ace, they will get it fixed. The DNS tool has potential to slow surfing, but if your not seeing that then I wouldn't worry. Your already using a hosts file, another non resource tool. You are not an "at risk" user. You don't engage in P2P, warez, or porn that I have seen and trust me I would have seen. :rotf:

The Secunia scanner if it really does run as active is a waste. You have to constantly update it to have it be effective. I would use the website, it is updated constantly, scan there once a week or so.

You don't need to run Panda weekly unless you want. That is part of the prepost HJT instuctions I use for a variety of reasons. Mainly malware/virus can cripple the main AV but an independent will often remove the culprit. Secondly, it shows, information I have found to be invaluable in tracking down the root of the problem. It will show warez and cracked programs, keygens and P2P that they might try and hide in the HJT log. The info in the cookies is often useful too, and if they had followed instructions, that wouldn't be there. So that also tells me what I'm dealing with as far as personality. :slz:

I think I covered it all. If I missed something or wasn't clear, just ask. I am kind of rushing I have an assignment due soon.
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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby Chewy » Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:34 am

When I tested Winpatrol and Teatimer, there were direct conflicts, both trying to control changes to the registry?

Of course I was trying to hose a test machine

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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby JeanInMontana » Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:40 pm

Hi Chewy and welcome, yes I agree on that totally, that is not how it got posted. There was no mention of TeaTimer only that SBS&D conflicted with WinPatrol. TeaTimer is way too much work to keep allowing what it's flagging. WinPatrol is great for a novice and running TeaTimer and WinPatrol is over kill. But, that is not what was written in the quote that got pasted, here.

I also don't go for pasting text from one forum to another with out a link to the posts. Things get taken out of context and it causes friction. I am an affiliate for OnlineArmor if I ever get my links in this site and the last thing I want is trouble with their site. Mike is a great guy and so are all the folks on the forum.
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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby Tampa9vd » Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:41 pm

>> Registry cleaners need to be used with extreme caution, I can't stress this enough. Everyone you use is going to find something different to "fix". Allowing the wrong fix can ruin you. The registry is the backbone, if you break it, all sorts of things can and will happen. I have not used Registry Booster, I like EasyCleaner, also free and with some nice features a great UI too. Never use the duplicate file remover, unless you absolutely know what your removing. Some Windows files are meant to be duplicate.

I've been using RegistryBooster for 2 years, and it's worked well for me. Nonetheless, I always make a backup of the registry prior to cleaning/optimizing/defragging it. Interesting, though, that different registry cleaners clean differently. That's something I should have known. It's logical. Re Glary Utilities' version, it lists the changes it's going to make, and when I check them out (like the file an entry in the registry is pointing to, is missing). Bottom line, I *will* proceed with care and always make backups prior to any changes to the registry.

And no, I don't clean/remove duplicate files. I learned that sad lesson years ago.

>> I agree running both A2 and MBAM as active protection is not good and will slow you down. It's too bad if you paid for A2 also because I know you paid for MBAM. I am sure MBAM is updated more often and that would be why I choose it to keep as the active malware prevention. Having A2 as backup is good.

Here's the reason I like a-squared. When I surf, I get pop-up messages reporting stuff like this:

A-squared Anti-Malware has detected a connection attempt to the suspicious host: (name here) The connection has been blocked automatically.

That's a feature/functionality I'd like to keep. MalwareBytes is set to scan automatically at night, and it has caught some stuff, too.

I told you that I've been looking carefully at every process (task) and service running on my computer so that I could remove anything I don't need. The end result is that with an OA scan going on in the background, 43% of my 2MB of RAM is in use, and 57% is free/available.

>> Avast is antivirus and you need that too and as active. Anti virus and antimalware are not the same. Many antivirus will not remove a trojan. Trojans are the predominant form of malware today, not virus. Avira would be my choice for antivirus too. It is maintained better.

Re the problem I had with the firewall starting up in a deactivated state, it seems to have been corrected with the build OA sent me. I downloaded the OA AV+. Do you feel Avira is superior to OA AV+? I know I need to pick only one AV program.

>> SpyBot Search & Destroy (Spybot is a rogue.) is not an active process unless your running TeaTimer. I wouldn't use TeaTimer, it is a PITA IMO. It works very well, but it's a constant thing to give permissions, that combined with OA would be crippling. The huge value of SBS&D is the immunization and that it does remove tracking cookies and some trojans. SpywareBlaster is not a running process either and doesn't conflict with anything. RogueRemover free and Pro are not being updated at this time, however the onetime immunization of either is great.

I checked and verified that TeaTimer is NOT turned on (active). Nonetheless, I still get Sypbot S&D messages, notifying me of changes to my registry, asking if I want to accept or block. So it seems to run resident. Am I confused?

I'm still looking/researching, but as it relates to memory, what's the difference between a task and a process? Do they both use memory (RAM)?

Question, having installed RR and gottent the one-time immunization, do I not need to run the scan or update?

>> I am running the current version of SiteHound with the current version of FF and have no issues. I didn't know there were any at all. The guys at FireTrust are ace, they will get it fixed.

I'm jealous! Firefox & SiteHound like you better than they like me. (grin)

>> The DNS tool has potential to slow surfing, but if your not seeing that then I wouldn't worry. Your already using a hosts file, another non resource tool.

The reason I started using OpenDNS was specifically to speed up the load time on web pages. Here's some links with explanation:

http://www.opendns.com/smb/solutions/faster/
http://technofriends.in/2007/09/15/open ... dns-cache/
http://blog.opendns.com/category/speed/

>> You are not an "at risk" user. You don't engage in P2P, warez, or porn that I have seen and trust me I would have seen.

I guess I'm NOT an "at risk" user because I had to look up the definitions of P2P and warez to see what you are talking about. (laughing)

Question: I downloaded a software program called uTorrent because there was a Vista repair file I wanted to burn to disk. Is there anything I need to know about using torrents from a security perspective? Any guidance there or recommendations?

>> The Secunia scanner if it really does run as active is a waste. You have to constantly update it to have it be effective. I would use the website, it is updated constantly, scan there once a week or so.

Cool! I'm going to take it out of memory/residency. However, the PSI version caught a bunch of stuff on my computer that the website did not. So I think I'll just run it once a week as part of my pre-backup scanning.

>> If I missed something or wasn't clear, just ask. I am kind of rushing I have an assignment due soon.

This thread isn't about getting my computer fixed and running again. It's more about educating myself and raising my level of knowledge and putting good habits, patterns, routines and processes in place. No hurry. Answer at your convenience. I'm just appreciative of the fact that you DO answer! (grin)
Last edited by Tampa9vd on Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby Tampa9vd » Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:54 pm

>> I also don't go for pasting text from one forum to another with out a link to the posts. Things get taken out of context and it causes friction. I am an affiliate for OnlineArmor if I ever get my links in this site and the last thing I want is trouble with their site. Mike is a great guy and so are all the folks on the forum.

Oops, I just saw this. You're right. The only thing I can say in my defense is that I told the guy that I thought his concerns were valid and that I would be exploring with you (my malware fighter extraordinaire) whether any of my security programs were redundant and could be removed. OA *is* awesome!!! I've found the program, the forum support, and the company support to be truly world class!

All that aside, I won't quote someone on another forum without permission and a link again.

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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby JeanInMontana » Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:05 pm

Question: I downloaded a software program called uTorrent because there was a Vista repair file I wanted to burn to disk. Is there anything I need to know about using torrents from a security perspective? Any guidance there or recommendations?




You can burn a disk without a torrent program. Torrents are a technology for faster downloading, nothing to do with burning to CD at all. Windows has a built in CD burner and most PC's add one too.
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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby Tampa9vd » Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:03 pm

>> You can burn a disk without a torrent program. Torrents are a technology for faster downloading, nothing to do with burning to CD at all. Windows has a built in CD burner and most PC's add one too.

The file I wanted to download (and burn) was a large one. It was only available via torrent. I think if I had thought that one through, I wouldn't have asked that question of you. I'm sure that the file transfer protocol I use is irrelevant. What's relevant (or at least important) is scanning the file with the malware-fighting software of my choice before opening it the first time. In other words, it's the security procedures I follow on a day-to-day basis, not how I download a file.

Thanks, Jean. I spend so much time dabbling in technologies with which I'm not familiar. It makes my brain tired sometimes. Right now I'm installing EasyPHP (php, mySQL, Apache) so that I can set up a development environment for WordPress. All new stuff for me. I'm good at following instructions, but the first time something comes up in the installation that WASN'T covered in the instructions, I start floundering. There's a lot to be said for UNDERSTANDING what you're doing, instead of just following along blindly.

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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby JeanInMontana » Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:30 pm

The file I wanted to download (and burn) was a large one. It was only available via torrent. I think if I had thought that one through, I wouldn't have asked that question of you. I'm sure that the file transfer protocol I use is irrelevant. What's relevant (or at least important) is scanning the file with the malware-fighting software of my choice before opening it the first time. In other words, it's the security procedures I follow on a day-to-day basis, not how I download a file.



No what is relevant is why are you getting files from a non Windows site for your system. MS doesn't use bit torrent. Any other site with repair files, is most likely bogus and going to give you malware and void your warrenty. What needed repairing? It's a new system.
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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby exile360 » Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:57 pm

MS themselves used bittorrent at least once. When Vista's public beta was released because their servers were overloaded, they offered the torrent download right there on their own page. But in general practice you are absolutely correct, MS very seldom uses torrents. I wish more vendors did though (I'm talking legitimate downloads, not warez). It would take a huge load off their own servers and users would get the files much more quickly, I don't see anything wrong with bittorrent, just with how it's usually used.

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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby Chewy » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:24 pm

I used autopatcher for about 6 months back before SP3 for XP was released, my latest install cd's were all sp2 slipstreamed and the microsoft updates were a nightmare, especially for those on dial up, it was distributed thru torrents

At the rate MS is going still trying to fix xp who knows what the future will bring

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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby exile360 » Thu Dec 11, 2008 3:57 am

I had been using ctupdate to keep my emergency XP iso up to date, but I haven't updated it in quite a while. Wierd thing though, I installed XP Pro SP3 into a VM to run some tests on some software with XP and it didn't accept my key, so I reloaded with my XP SP2 iso and used the same key (yes it's a legit key for XP Pro) and it worked. I dunno.

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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby Tampa9vd » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:08 pm

There were some programs I wanted OFF of my computer that could only be deleted manually. After some manual removal of programs I found out that manifests and files in the winsxs directory should never be deleted. There was a point where my system was somewhat unstable, and I figured I was responsible. I did NOT want to do a system restore, and I did not have Vista CDs. My computer like a lot of computers shipped from manufacturers did not come with VISTA disks.

I did check out neosmart before downloading the file, as I had the same concerns you did. I don't have the resources you do, but everything I could find seemed to indicate they were NOT involved in any malware activities, which is what I specifically searched for. I could send you a link via PM if you like, as I know you don't like links you don't know/trust posted on the forum.

On a positive note, I've got my system just about where I want it. It's rock-solid, no instability, and malware free. I'm probably going to set a restore point and burn an image of my hard drive this weekend.

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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby JeanInMontana » Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:36 pm

You don't remove programs by deleting you use Add/Remove and uninstall them. I would be interested what the programs were that had to be deleted to remove. This is not normal.
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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby Tampa9vd » Sat Dec 13, 2008 12:03 am

HP/Compaq comes with a lot of bloatware. Programs like NetZero, Weatherbug, Viewpoint and a number of other HP-proprietary programs that canNOT be uninstalled in Add/Remove programs. HP loads their computers with elaborate (i.e., large) programs. As an example, one of their programs is supposed to help you sign up for an internet service provider, which means even if you were to chose one, you still have the software for the others, in this case, aol, earthlink, netzero, juno, etc. HP loads trial software and limited functionality software that cumulatively takes up quite a bit of hard disk space. I tried Add/Remove Programs. I tried Decrapifier. I tried Revo Uninstall. I tried every legitimate way I could think of to get their garbage off of my computer before resorting to manually removing programs and directories.

I didn't uninstall or delete anything until after I made the restore disks. But having done that, I got rid of the stuff I didn't want. And where I messed things up and needed to reinstall something, I did because I had the restore disks.

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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby exile360 » Sat Dec 13, 2008 12:29 am

Those programs for the ISP's like NetZero, AOL etc. aren't actually installed, that's why they're not on the Add/Remove list (Programs and Features in Vista). The same is true for Weatherbug and Zango as well (although WildTangent is actually installed, and it's a pain to remove it all). What the folders for internet providers contain are actually just the installers for them should you decide to use one. You can delete the folder containing the installers and they won't take up the space. You can also uninstall the program for setting them up, I think it's called something like HP/Compaq Easy Internet Setup, or something similar. You can remove just about all the software on there that HP has, as long as it's not your drivers. In fact, your best bet if you REALLY want it clean, would be to go to HP's support site, download all the drivers for your PC, uninstall EVERYTHING, then install just the drivers. The reason I suggest this is because of the deceptive names HP and other OEM's give to some of the crapware, making it sound like it's a driver or a necessary system component when it's not. If you want to, you can just PM me screenshots of your Programs and Features list and I can tell you EXACTLY what to get rid of, as I used to work at a "Big Box" retailer as a tech, and part of my job was an optimization that included removing all of the preinstalled crapware.

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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby Tampa9vd » Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:48 am

Thanks, exile360!!! What you're saying re the installers fits in with a lot of what I saw as I was deleting files & folders. And yes, I found a lot of HP's names for their programs to be deceptive. That's why cleaning up my computer took so darn long ... I researched (and cross-checked) each and every program or file I removed. In the process I found all of HP's drivers for my model of computer.

I learned a lot about my computer in the process. An important point is that you can't always believe everything you read on the Internet. Example, I can't tell you how many people I see recommending that ReadyBoost be disabled. The problem there is that ReadyBoost service actually also runs the ReadyBOOT service, which optimizes the booting process, so disabling it will have a negative impact even if the person does not use ReadyBoost.

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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby exile360 » Sat Dec 13, 2008 11:03 am

Well guess what? You just taught me something. I had no idea about ReadyBoot being related to ReadyBoost. I looked it up, and there it was. That explains why my system boots so darn fast now with Vista (I've got 3Gb of Ram). Thanks for the info!

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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby Tampa9vd » Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:54 pm

Cool! It doesn't get any better than that, does it. (grin)

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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby JeanInMontana » Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:10 pm

Tampa9vd wrote:HP/Compaq comes with a lot of bloatware. Programs like NetZero, Weatherbug, Viewpoint and a number of other HP-proprietary programs that canNOT be uninstalled in Add/Remove programs. HP loads their computers with elaborate (i.e., large) programs. As an example, one of their programs is supposed to help you sign up for an internet service provider, which means even if you were to chose one, you still have the software for the others, in this case, aol, earthlink, netzero, juno, etc. HP loads trial software and limited functionality software that cumulatively takes up quite a bit of hard disk space. I tried Add/Remove Programs. I tried Decrapifier. I tried Revo Uninstall. I tried every legitimate way I could think of to get their garbage off of my computer before resorting to manually removing programs and directories.

I didn't uninstall or delete anything until after I made the restore disks. But having done that, I got rid of the stuff I didn't want. And where I messed things up and needed to reinstall something, I did because I had the restore disks.


I have an HP and uninstalled all the bloatware the proper way. Weatherbug and Viewpoint can be uninstalled via Add/Remove. We do it all the time in malware removal both are adware programs. If you use AOL as your ISP you can't remove them. The are integral parts of AOL and they will stop you from logging on to the internet period until Viewpoint is reinstalled. I know this first hand and that was the day I quit them for good. I will run what I want on my machine.

Terry the other thing is today's hard drives really have more than enough room for the added stuff. My laptop has 80 gigabytes and is not even 1/4 full. I did get rid of the bloat but even if I hadn't I had lots of room. As Exile360 has already said a good share wasn't installed and the folders only needed deleting; if you couldn't stand looking at them.. The other thing is ripping out HP stuff in particular on a new machine will almost certainly void the warranty.
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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby exile360 » Sat Dec 13, 2008 8:15 pm

Nah, Jean, uninstalling HP's software won't void the warranty, that's what that good ol' recovery partition is for. Oh yeah, and that reminds me, if you haven't done so yet Tampa9vd, be sure to create your recovery discs in case something eventually goes horribly, horribly wrong with Windows (yeah, like that ever happens :sht: ). The only thing that will void your warranty is opening up the casing of the laptop to do work on it yourself, you have to take it to a certified HP service center for that (Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, or of course HP). And guess what, you can take it to those big box retailers and they'll fix it (if it's a hardware issue covered by HP's warranty) free of charge because they get reimbersed by HP for doing warranty work.

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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby Tampa9vd » Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:11 pm

Jean, I refuse to have ANYTHING to do with AOL in any way, shape, manner or form. I had their IM at one time for business communications, but I couldn't get them to stop spamming my business email account. I did everything I could to get off their list. At one point I was told I'd have to send them a letter, which I did, but their promo spam still continued. The only thing that stopped their unsolicited promotional emails was killing the account. I won't use their software, their service or anything they sell, promote or recommend.

Re HP's support and service, I've owned an HP the past 5 years. Other than drivers or hardware repairs under warranty, I prefer not to deal with them. HP Tech Support's favorite "fix" when you have a problem is to have you restore the computer back to factory settings. If the problem continues at that point, it's a hardware problem and you ship off the computer for repair. They keep their costs down that way. Good for them, not as good for me.

Exile360, I'm happy to report that the first thing I did when I got my new laptop was make the recovery disks! (grin)

Special thanks to both of you for your help and assistance!!!

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exile360
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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby exile360 » Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:22 pm

You're welcome, and you're absolutely right, they love to reformat. But if you take it to one of the Big Box retailers I mentioned, you won't get charged if it's under HP warranty, and they actually will do a full diagnostic of the hardware before they recommend you reformat, and even if they come to the conclusion that it does need to be wiped, they'll call and ask you if you want them to or not. At that point I just tell them, no thanks I'll do it myself. And if there is a hardware failure they will either order the part and install it for you or send it to HP. Either way (of course) it's always good to have all your stuff backed up in advance. That's my favorite feature in Vista Ultimate, the complete pc backup option. It's like having Ghost without having to install a Norton product (always a plus in my book).

Tampa9vd
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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby Tampa9vd » Sun Dec 14, 2008 11:54 am

exile360, your insights on the Big Box retailers is actually quite helpful. I'd never even thought to use them in the way you are recommending ... but I will now! (grin)

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Re: New Computer -- Getting Off to a Good Start

Postby JeanInMontana » Sun Dec 14, 2008 2:44 pm

Re HP's support and service, I've owned an HP the past 5 years. Other than drivers or hardware repairs under warranty, I prefer not to deal with them. HP Tech Support's favorite "fix" when you have a problem is to have you restore the computer back to factory settings. If the problem continues at that point, it's a hardware problem and you ship off the computer for repair. They keep their costs down that way. Good for them, not as good for me.


This is how most IT fix anything problem. I have had excellent support from HP. I don't often have problems but I bought a laptop from them and the keyboard had to have been faulty from the factory. I think it was the 'i' that quite on me. Impossible to go without and I wasn't going to with a brand new machine. They had it fixed and back to me in three days. Keep in mind I live in the middle of nowhere. :rotf:

AOL is something I can rant on for days. It should be criminal what they do to people. :whp:
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