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14
Sep
For your protection - we eat our own cooking
Blog - Tips

Pondering allies, the King of Siam in The King and I asks "If allies are strong with power to protect me, might they not protect me out of all I own?"  When it comes to friends and enemies, it's not always one or the other.  That's how it is with programs that you install to protect your digital life from the bad guys.  So what's the best plan for self defense that keeps the load light for your race horse to pull?

Let's start with Microsoft Windows, the operating system.

1)  There's a global switch off of eye candy under System, Advanced, Performance, Visual Effects tab called Adjust for best performance.  While you're there, under the Advanced tab, custom set the Virtual Memory to a fixed size of 1-2 times your ram - this is best done after a defrag on a second drive or partition.

Time out for a bit of philosophy entitled Small, Sharp Tools (SST).  To easily understand the concept, imagine what bloatware is and think the opposite.  SSTs started as an early Unix programming philosophy when memory was expensive and speed was king.   Another example, I see these little bottle cap opener tools on key chains, no more than a single claw really (great SST), compared to a Swiss Army knife (not SST).  Many of the Links listed on this site are SSTs.  Here's a list of some Big Dull (think pig) Tools:

Windows Vista, Windows 7 (aka Vista service pack 3), Windows Media Center edition, any Windows really

Microsoft Office, Norton Security Suite, any suite really

HP printer full install from CD

iTunes

Adobe Reader

The list is endless.  What to do?  Well, freeware is good if you check and test, lite versions are good if they do all you need.  Choose custom versus default installations when offered.   If you resist the marketeers and embrace this philosophy, you end up saving time, money, and trouble... it's even green, to use a popular term, since you're getting more years out of your equipment.  I call that sweet revenge, eh?  Please be a hero and share with us your favorite SSTs / Utilities - actually, my telltale "Kilroy was here" is a My Utilities folder shortcut on the desktop.

So, back to protection:

2)  anti-virus - We share a discount on licenses for Webroot SecureAnywhere Endpoint Protection - $25.00/year and worth it!

3)  Malwarebytes Anti-Malware - plays nice with 2). We get the volume discount for licenses and install the resident, paid for version - $20.00 one time.

4)  Comodo Firewall or set the built in Windows Firewall active (but not both).

5)  K9 WebProtection - a free offering from the Blue Coat people to help parents and me.

6)  Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome - for safer surfing as much because it's a smaller target than IE as for its good features.

7)  Microsoft Windows updates - I haven't always been convinced about this, but out of date or unpatched isn't good.

There's no last word on this.  All these protection programs can be treated one-strike-and-you're-out because there's many good offerings available for PCs.  The goal is clean and fast, right?

Actually, my favorite and most awesome SST isn't even mentioned on this website yet.  Don't want it to be a secret, really, so I'll probably write about it next.  How's that for a cliff hanger? :)