Re: Windows xp (Home Edition) updates. Yes or no???
- From: Loring Hutchinson <loringh@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 22:56:35 GMT
Thanks a bunch for the detail info.
I did not get SP2.
I am printing a copy of your post and am going to yake the time to go
thru it in detail.
On Wed, 16 Nov 2005 16:41:50 -0600, "Shenan Stanley"
>Loring Hutchinson wrote:
>> I have a P4 system with Win XP (home Ed). I use a 2 way satellite for
>> Internet access and I have his and her computers networked using
>> network cards and Wingate software. So far I have not chosen to click
>> on the little popup window that appears on my desktop and says updates
>> are available. I have had this system for about 14 months. I would
>> really appreciate some knowledgeable inputs on the pros and cons of
>> downloading rhese updates. I have pretty good firewall protection with
>> the Earthlink satellite system and I use Norton ( a new one)
>> regularlly. The satellit systems modems, (one transmit and one
>> receive) seem to be very sensitive to changes, Comments please??
>Can you be hacked?
>Will you be hacked?
>Are you safe?
>Could you be safer?
>What you are asking is much like asking..
>"I have this really nice house I built in 1975. I had the state of the art
>security system put in then. I also have a tall fence around my property.
>Do you think I should upgrade my security system?"
>Up to you. If the things on your computer are important to you (like your
>personal information, your email, your contacts, etc) - then you do what you
>have to do to keep it safe. If they are not - then you don't. Personal
>The difference between the security system in the home and the Windows
>updates is "They are giving them away for free" and "some of them fix
>problems (for free) that existed with the initial release you may not have
>been aware of"..
>Of course - there are drawbacks to maintaining your computers properly... It
>does take some effort, it does take some time - and on occassion - things
>can go wrong.. But if you were maintaining and backing up properly - it is
>more of a nuisance than a problem.
>14 months? Hmm - I wonder.. SP2 came out right before then.. Did you get
>Let's make sure we have the same notes of reasons given
>to patch with SP2..
>(Also, I would recommend either getting the free CD or downloading
>the entire SP2 install file.)
>First, there is of course Microsoft's own "Top 10" list of reasons:
>Well, that's a pretty generalized list.. but this ones gives you a more
>And then going another level and explain the specific "additions" to Windows
>XP that SP2 provides...
>You may want to read this article as well:
>If I was to give one personal reason for someone to upgrade to SP2, it would
>be simple.. Stay up to date. If you do not stay ahead of those who would
>just as well ruin your computer as anything else, then you are inviting them
>in. Sooner or later (September 17, 2006 or so) support for your OS will be
>terminated, and while you believe (and you are likely correct) you do not
>use the support from Microsoft, you do in a way by applying patches - and
>many patches will begin requiring SP2 to install..
>But - you don't HAVE to upgrade.. It's not my responsibility to convince you
>(or really anyone's) to upgrade. If you feel you are safe, then there will
>be no changing your mind anyway. All I can do is tell you that it's not a
>bad thing to upgrade, you do get improved security and functionality (for
>free) that many would PAY for when it comes to other operating systems. You
>should prepare your system for the worse *if* you decide to upgrade - as
>things can and do go wrong with major upgrades all the time, don't be a
>victim either way.
>In any case - I think one should understand and properly maintain their
>Microsoft has these suggestions for Protecting your computer from the
>various things that could happen to you/it:
> Protect your PC
>Although those tips are fantastic, there are many things you should
>know above and beyond what is there. Below I have detailed
>out many steps that can not only help you clean-up a problem PC but
>keep it clean ,secure and running at its top performance mark.
>I know this text can seem intimidating - it is quite long and a lot
>to take in for a novice - but I assure you that one trip through this
>list and you will understand your computer and the options available
>to you for protecting your data much better - and that the next time
>you review these steps, the time it takes will be greatly reduced.
>Let's take the cleanup of your computer step-by-step. Yes, it will take
>up some of your time - but consider what you use your computer
>for and how much you would dislike it if all of your stuff on your
>computer went away because you did not "feel like" performing some
>simple maintenance tasks - think of it like taking out your garbage,
>collecting and sorting your postal mail, paying your bills on time,
>Also - now is a good time to point you to one of the easiest ways to find
>information on problems you may be having and solutions others have found:
> Search using Google!
> (How-to: http://www.google.com/intl/en/help/basics.html )
>Now, let's go through some maintenance first that should only have to be
>done once (mostly):
>Locate all of the software you have installed on your computer.
>(the installation media - CDs, downloaded files, etc)
>Collect these CDs and files together in a central and safe
>place along with their CD keys and such. Make backups of these
>installation media sets using your favorite copying method (CD/DVD Burner
>and application, Disk copier, etc.) You'll be glad to know that if you
>have a CD/DVD burner, you may be able to use a free application to make a
>duplicate copy of your CDs. One such application is ISORecorder:
> ISORecorder page (with general instructions on use):
>Yes - it is BETA software - but very useful and well tested.
>More full function applications (free) for CD/DVD burning would be:
> DeepBurner Free
> CDBurnerXP Pro
>Another Option would be to search the web with Pricewatch.com or
>Dealsites.net and find deals on Products like Ahead Nero and/or Roxio.
>Empty your Temporary Internet Files and shrink the size it stores to a
>size between 128MB and 512MB..
>- Open ONE copy of Internet Explorer.
>- Select TOOLS -> Internet Options.
>- Under the General tab in the "Temporary Internet Files" section, do the
> - Click on "Delete Cookies" (click OK)
> - Click on "Settings" and change the "Amount of disk space to use:" to
> something between 128MB and 512MB. (Betting it is MUCH larger right
> - Click OK.
> - Click on "Delete Files" and select to "Delete all offline contents"
> (the checkbox) and click OK. (If you had a LOT, this could take 2-10
> minutes or more.)
>- Once it is done, click OK, close Internet Explorer, re-open Internet
>If things are running a bit sluggish and/or you have an older system
>(1.5GHz or less and 256MB RAM or less) then you may want to look into
>tweaking the performance by turning off some of the 'resource hogging'
>Windows XP "prettifications". The fastest method is:
>Control Panel --> System --> Advanced tab --> Performance section,
>Settings button. Then choose "adjust for best performance" and you
>now have a Windows 2000/98 look which turned off most of the annoying
>"prettifications" in one swift action. You can play with the last
>three checkboxes to get more of an XP look without many of the
>other annoyances. You could also grab and install/use one
>(or more) of the Microsoft Powertoys - TweakUI in particular:
>Understanding what a good password might be is vital to your
>personal and system security. You may think you do not need to password
>your home computer, as you may have it in a locked area (your home) where
>no one else has access to it. Remember, however, you aren't always
>"in that locked area" when using your computer online - meaning you likely
>have usernames and passwords associated with web sites and the likes that
>you would prefer other people do not discover/use. This is why you should
>understand and utilize good passwords.
>Good passwords are those that meet these general rules
>(mileage may vary):
> Passwords should contain at least six characters, and the character
> string should contain at least three of these four character types:
> - uppercase letters
> - lowercase letters
> - numerals
> - nonalphanumeric characters (e.g., *, %, &, !, :)
> Passwords should not contain your name/username.
> Passwords should be unique to you and easy to remember.
>One method many people are using today is to make up a phrase that
>describes a point in their life and then turning that phrase into their
>password by using only certain letters out of each word in that phrase.
>It's much better than using your birthday month/year or your anniversary
>in a pure sense. For example, let's say my phrase is:
> 'Moved to new home in 2004'
>I could come up with this password from that:
>The password tip is in the one time section, but I highly
>recommend you periodically change your passwords. The suggested time
>varies, but I will throw out a 'once in every 3 to 6 months for
>every account you have.'
>This tip is also 'questionable' in the one time section; however -
>if properly setup - this one can be pretty well ignored for most people
>after the initial 'fiddle-with' time.
> Why you should use a computer firewall..
>You should, in some way, use a firewall. Hardware (like a nice
>Cable Modem/DSL router) or software is up to you. Many use both of
>these. The simplest one to use is the hardware one, as most people
>don't do anything that they will need to configure their NAT device
>for and those who do certainly will not mind fiddling with the equipment
>to make things work for them. Next in the line of simplicity would
>have to be the built-in Windows Firewall of Windows XP. In SP2 it
>is turned on by default. It is not difficult to turn on in any
> Enable/Disable the Internet Connection Firewall (Pre-SP2):
> More information on the Internet Connection Firewall (Pre-SP2):
> Post-SP2 Windows Firewall Information/guidance:
>The trouble with the Windows Firewall is that it only keeps things
>out. For most people who maintain their system in other ways, this is
>MORE than sufficient. However, you may feel otherwise. If you want to
>know when one of your applications is trying to obtain access to the
>outside world so you can stop it, then you will have to install a
>third-party application and configure/maintain it. I have compiled a
>list with links of some of the better known/free firewalls you can choose
> BlackICE PC Protection (~$39.95 and up)
> Jetico Personal Firewall (Free)
> Kerio Personal Firewall (KPF) (Free and up)
> Outpost Firewall from Agnitum (Free and up)
> Sygate Personal Firewall (Free and up)
> Symantec's Norton Personal Firewall (~$25 and up)
> ZoneAlarm (Free and up)
>You should find the right firewall for your situation in that
>list and set it up.
>Every firewall WILL require some maintenance. Essentially checking for
>patches or upgrades (this goes for hardware and software solutions) is
>the extent of this maintenance - you may also have to configure your
>firewall to allow some traffic depending on your needs.
>** Don't stack the software firewalls! Running more than one software
>firewall will not make you safer - it would possibly negate some
>protection you gleamed from one or the other firewall you run.
>Now that you have some of the more basic things down..
>Let's go through some of the steps you should take periodically to
>maintain a healthy and stable windows computer. If you have not
>done some of these things in the past, they may seem tedious - however,
>they will become routine and some can even be automatically scheduled.
>The system restore feature is a new one - first appearing in Windows
>ME and then sticking around for Windows XP. It is a useful feature
>if you keep it maintained and use it to your advantage. Remember that
>the system restore pretty much tells you in the name what it protects
>which is 'system' files. Your documents, your pictures, your stuff is
>NOT system files - so you should also look into some backup solution.
>I have seen the automatic system restore go wrong too many times not
>to suggest the following.. Whenever you think about it (after doing a
>once-over on your machine once a month or so would be optimal) - clear
>out your System Restore and create a manual restoration point.
>Too many times have I seen the system restore files go corrupt or get
>a virus in them, meaning you could not or did not want to restore from
>them. By clearing it out periodically you help prevent any corruption
>from happening and you make sure you have at least one good "snapshot".
>(*This, of course, will erase any previous restore point you have.*)
> - Turn off System Restore.
> - Reboot the Computer.
> - Review the first bullet to turn on System Restore
> - Make a Manual Restoration Point.
>That covers your system files, but doesn't do anything for the files
>that you are REALLY worried about - yours! For that you need to look
>into backups. You can either manually copy your important files, folders,
>documents, spreadsheets, emails, contacts, pictures, drawings and so on
>to an external location (CD/DVD - any disk of some sort, etc) or you can
>use the backup tool that comes with Windows XP:
> How To Use Backup to Back Up Files and Folders on Your Computer
>Yes - you still need some sort of external media to store the results
>on, but you could schedule the backup to occur when you are not around,
>then burn the resultant data onto CD or DVD or something when you are
>(while you do other things!)
>A lot of people have wondered about how to completely backup their system
>so that they would not have to go through the trouble of a reinstall..
>I'm going to voice my opinion here and say that it would be worthless to
>do for MOST people. Unless you plan on periodically updating the image
>backup of your system (remaking it) - then by the time you use it
>(something goes wrong) - it will be so outdated as to be more trouble than
>performing a full install of the operating system and all applications.
>Having said my part against it, you can clone/backup your hard drive
>completely using many methods - by far the simplest are using disk cloning
> Symantec/Norton Ghost
> Acronis True Image
>You should sometimes look through the list of applications that are
>installed on your computer. The list may surprise you. There are more
>than likely things in there you know you never use - so why have them
>there? There may even be things you know you did *not* install and
>certainly do not use (maybe don't WANT to use.)
>This web site should help you get started at looking through this list:
> How to Uninstall Programs
>A word of warning - Do NOT uninstall anything you think you MIGHT need
>in the future unless you have completed Tip (1) and have the installation
>media and proper keys for use backed up somewhere safe!
>Patches and Updates!
>This one cannot be stressed enough. It is SO simple, yet so neglected
>by many people. It is especially simple for the critical Windows patches!
>Microsoft put in an AUTOMATED feature for you to utilize so that you do
>NOT have to worry yourself about the patching of the Operating System:
> How to configure and use Automatic Updates in Windows XP
>However, not everyone wants to be a slave to automation, and that is
>fine. Admittedly, I prefer this method on some of my more critical
> Windows Update
>Go there and scan your machine for updates. Always get the critical ones
>as you see them. Write down the KB###### or Q###### you see when
>selecting the updates and if you have trouble over the next few days,
>go into your control panel (Add/Remove Programs), insure that the
>'Show Updates' checkbox is checked and match up the latest numbers you
>downloaded recently (since you started noticing an issue) and uninstall
>them. If there was more than one (usually is), uninstall them one by one
>with a few hours of use in between, to see if the problem returns.
>Yes - the process is not perfect (updating) and can cause trouble like I
>mentioned - but as you can see, the solution isn't that bad - and is
>MUCH better than the alternatives.
>Windows is not the only product you likely have on your PC. The
>manufacturers of the other products usually have updates. New versions
>of almost everything come out all the time - some are free, some are pay
>and some you can only download if you are registered - but it is best
>to check. Just go to their web pages and look under their support and
>download sections. For example, for Microsoft Office you should visit:
> Microsoft Office Updates
> (and select 'Check for Updates' and/or 'Downloads' for more)
>You also have hardware on your machine that requires drivers to interface
>with the operating system. You have a video card that allows you to see on
>your screen, a sound card that allows you to hear your PCs sound output and
>so on. Visit those manufacturer web sites for the latest downloadable
>drivers for your hardware/operating system. Always get the manufacturers'
>hardware driver over any Microsoft offers. On the Windows Update site I
>mentioned earlier, I suggest NOT getting their hardware drivers - no matter
>How do you know what hardware you have in your computer? Break out the
>invoice or if it is up and working now - take inventory:
> Belarc Advisor
> EVEREST Home Edition
>Once you know what you have, what next? Go get the latest driver for your
>hardware/OS from the manufacturer's web page. For example, let's say you
>have an NVidia chipset video card or ATI video card, perhaps a Creative
>Labs sound card or C-Media chipset sound card...
> NVidia Video Card Drivers
> ATI Video Card Drivers
> Creative Labs Sound Device
> C-Media Sound Device
>Then install these drivers. Updated drivers are usually more stable and
>may provide extra benefits/features that you really wished you had before.
>As for Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP, Microsoft has made this
>particular patch available in a number of ways. First, there is the
>Windows Update web page above. Then there is a direct download site.
> Direct Download of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP
>If all else fails - grab the full download above and try to use that.
>In this case - consider yourself a 'IT professional or developer'.
>What about the dreaded word in the computer world, VIRUS?
>Well, there are many products to choose from that will help you prevent
>infections from these horrid little applications. Many are FREE to the
>home user and which you choose is a matter of taste, really. Many people
>have emotional attachments or performance issues with one or another
>AntiVirus software. Try some out, read reviews and decide for yourself
>which you like more:
>( Good Comparison Page for AV software: http://www.av-comparatives.org/ )
> AntiVir (Free and up)
> avast! (Free and up)
> AVG Anti-Virus System (Free and up)
> eset NOD32 (~$39.00 and up)
> eTrust EZ Antivirus (~$29.95 and up)
> Kaspersky Anti-Virus (~$49.95 and up)
> McAfee VirusScan (~$11 and up)
> Panda Antivirus Titanium (~$39.95 and up)
> (Free Online Scanner: http://www.pandasoftware.com/activescan/)
> RAV AntiVirus Online Virus Scan (Free!)
> Symantec (Norton) AntiVirus (~$11 and up)
> Trend Micro (~$49.95 and up)
> (Free Online Scanner:
>Most of them have automatic update capabilities. You will have to
>look into the features of the one you choose. Whatever one you finally
>settle with - be SURE to keep it updated (I recommend at least daily) and
>perform a full scan periodically (yes, most protect you actively, but a
>full scan once a month at 4AM probably won't bother you.)
>The most rampant infestation at the current time concerns SPYWARE/ADWARE.
>You need to eliminate it from your machine.
>There is no one software that cleans and immunizes you against
>everything. Antivirus software - you only needed one. Firewall, you
>only needed one. AntiSpyware - you will need several. I have a list and
>I recommend you use at least the first five.
>First - make sure you have NOT installed "Rogue AntiSpyware". There are
>people out there who created AntiSpyware products that actually install
>spyware of their own! You need to avoid these:
> Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware Products & Web Sites
>Also, you can always visit this site..
>For more updated information.
>Install the first five of these: (Install, Run, Update, Scan with..)
>(If you already have one or more - uninstall them and download the
>LATEST version from the page given!)
> Lavasoft AdAware (Free and up)
> (How-to: http://snipurl.com/atdn )
> Spybot Search and Destroy (Free!)
> (How-to: http://snipurl.com/atdk )
> Bazooka Adware and Spyware Scanner (Free!)
> (How-to: http://snipurl.com/ate3 )
> SpywareBlaster (Free!)
> (How-to: http://snipurl.com/ate6 )
> IE-SPYAD2 (Free!)
> (How-to: http://snipurl.com/ate7 )
> CWShredder Stand-Alone (Free!)
> Hijack This! (Free!)
> (Log Analyzer: http://hjt.iamnotageek.com/ )
> ToolbarCop (Free!)
> Microsoft AntiSpyware BETA (in testing stages - Free!)
> (How-to: http://snipurl.com/fqur )
> Browser Security Tests (Free Tester)
> Popup Tester (Free Tester)
> The Cleaner (~$49.95 and up)
>Sometimes you need to install the application and reboot into SAFE MODE in
>order to thoroughly clean your computer. Many applications also have
>(or are) immunization applications. Spybot Search and Destroy and
>SpywareBlaster are two that currently do the best job at passively
>protecting your system from malware. None of these programs (in these
>editions) run in the background unless you TELL them to. The space they
>take up and how easy they are to use greatly makes up for any inconvenience
>you may be feeling.
>Please notice that Windows XP SP2 does help stop popups as well.
>Another option is to use an alternative Web browser. I suggest
>'Mozilla Firefox', as it has some great features and is very easy to use:
> Mozilla Firefox
>So your machine is pretty clean and up to date now. If you use the sections
>above as a guide, it should stay that way as well! There are still a few
>more things you can do to keep your machine running in top shape.
>You should periodically check your hard drive(s) for errors and defragment
>them. Only defragment after you have cleaned up your machine of
>outside parasites and never defragment as a solution to a quirkiness in
>your system. It may help speed up your system, but it should be clean
>before you do this. Do these things IN ORDER...
> How to use Disk Cleanup
> How to scan your disks for errors
> How to Defragment your hard drives
>I would personally perform the above steps at least once every three months.
>For most people this should be sufficient, but if the difference you notice
>afterwards is greater than you think it should be, lessen the time in
>between its schedule.. If the difference you notice is negligible, you can
>increase the time.
>SPAM! JUNK MAIL!
>This one can get annoying, just like the rest. You get 50 emails in one
>sitting and 2 of them you wanted. NICE! (Not.) What can you do? Well,
>although there are services out there to help you, some email
>servers/services that actually do lower your spam with features built into
>their servers - I still like the methods that let you be the end-decision
>maker on what is spam and what is not. I have two products to suggest to
>you, look at them and see if either of them suite your needs. Again, if
>they don't, Google is free and available for your perusal.
> SpamBayes (Free!)
> Spamihilator (Free!)
>As I said, those are not your only options, but are reliable ones I have
>seen function for hundreds+ people.
>ADVANCED TIP! Only do this once you are comfortable under the hood of your
>There are lots of services on your PC that are probably turned on by default
>you don't use. Why have them on? Check out these web pages to see what all
>of the services you might find on your computer are and set them according
>to your personal needs. Be CAREFUL what you set to manual, and take heed
>and write down as you change things! Also, don't expect a large performance
>increase or anything - especially on today's 2+ GHz machines, however - I
>look at each service you set to manual as one less service you have to worry
>about someone exploiting.
> Black Viper Service Configuration Tips
> Configuring Services
> Task List Programs
> Processes in Windows NT/2000/XP
>There are also applications that AREN'T services that startup when you start
>up the computer/logon. One of the better description on how to handle these
>I have found here:
>If you follow the advice laid out above (and do some of your own research as
>well, so you understand what you are doing) - your computer will stay fairly
>stable and secure and you will have a more trouble-free system.
- Windows xp (Home Edition) updates. Yes or no???
- From: Loring Hutchinson
- Re: Windows xp (Home Edition) updates. Yes or no???
- From: Shenan Stanley
- Windows xp (Home Edition) updates. Yes or no???
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