Re: w2k and Anti-virus software, firewall etc

poachedeggs wrote:
After a brief flirtation with Windows 98 at the weekend on an old
machine I've bought, I think I'm sticking with Windows 2000 SP4.
(Spec: 1.3 ghz, 20gb hd, 512 mb.) I hadn't intended to use it
online but curiosity and convenience have won over for now. I
forgot to put Avast on it for two days or so but since adding it
I've done a scan and found nothing grim, when I think during the
brief time that it had XP while online there were exploit attempts
almost by the minute, reported by Avast, though maybe this is down
to that having been TinyXP.

Pardon my naivety, but how would I fare with a free firewall instead
of using Avast or Avira, given that the machine is likely to visit
only Google Mail and wikipedia? Would something like ZoneAlarm use
less RAM than Avast, which sends the average RAM from 80mb to 250mb?
Avast seems to have something akin to a firewall built in, as far
as I understand. I haven't checked Avira's RAM use yet because it
needs IE 6, which is a big file for someone using limited Mobile

On one hand my first laptop was cabbaged by viruses, but I was a bit
stupid in terms of sites and downloads, aside from not having any
virus software through apparent naivety; on the other it really was
great while using Ubuntu, that I've become annoyed with, not to have
to bother about viruses. I do wonder about how I might fare with no
firewall or AV, how much paranoia/business psychology is involved in
the AV world (the blurb on the Avira site about why update downloads
fail seems a pretty good example), and also was given this advice
recently, which may or may not be good:

"Even if you WERE online, no need to run an AV program all the
time - all it does is slow you down considerably. Just think
before you do anything and scan everything you DL'd AFTER
getting off-line."

Ideally I'd have removed Avast from the automatically loaded
programs upon boot and just run it when online but when I removed
it using CCleaner it was back next boot, and the desktop icon it
installs just runs the scanning function (of hard drive) rather
than, it seems, the on-access scanner and so on.

All advice, corrections or ideas I've not considered are
appreciated. I'm really pleased with Windows 2000, it's a work of
art, whose 'limitatons' are a boon to a slightly OCD fella like me,
and despite the spec the machine is working better than my XP
netbook at least, so I hope I can stop fidgeting after a year of
trying different OS.

p.s Could someone please explain what the above-mentioned 'exploit
attempts' are? (Apologies if I've slightly mis-remembered what
they're called, but you'll know what I mean.) Are they manually
done by people? Would anything about TinyXP have deliberately or
by dint of its flaws have facilitated the exploits? I use Firefox
and Google Chrome rather than the IE 5, by the way, and if I want
to shop online with a credit card I use another machine.

Get a NAT router between you and the Internet.
Use Avira AV (free) or eSet NOD32.

Personally - I would recommend using Windows XP and turning off all it's
prettifications. You'd end up with a better performing, more stable, more
current and thus more compatible with more options system than you will get
trying to use an older OS. (In three days from now - you can celebrate
Windows 2000's 10th 'Final Release' anniversary.)

But that's your business - and the first two sentences are what I think you
should do given your machine specifications and OS limitations. I'd also
ignore the advice someone gave you about AV software. If you get a good one
and are protected (like behind a NAT device/firewall) and do not do stupid
things - you'll be fine, but the AV software is there for when you slip up.
If you can predict that now - well - you'd be stupid to let it happen ever -
so I am guessing you cannot predict it.

Of course - you ran a hacked version of Windows XP... So things could lean
to either side of the equation.

Shenan Stanley
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way