In this most recent series I have been going over the parts for building a PC, what I use and why.
In this exciting fun filled episode, I want to go over some of the software we use when building a computer. Let’s start with the most important part, the Operating system. I recommend Windows.
I know a bunch of you Linux people just started yelling at your screens. Don’t have a tizzy!
I learned on UNIX based systems back in the 80’s and from 2003 to 2006 I promoted, through free training, and on this blog several flavors of Linux. My issue with Linux was and is the “my version is better than your version” attitude while leaving the end user out of the equation. At one point Red Hat had their version of “automatic updates”. That was a good idea. They stopped doing that. Others instead of making a universal way to update and patch quarreled and squabbled, leaving those that just needed an operating system to run their business or home computers, out. Microsoft has one way to update and patch. Good for them.
As for which version of Microsoft Windows to use, here is my recommendation learned through the school of hard knocks. Get the latest version AFTER the equivalent of “service pack 1” comes out. This normally takes 1 year after the public release of that operating system. At the time of this writing that would be Windows 10. I know they service pack lingo has not been around since Windows 7, however there is Windows 8.1 (hint the .1 is the service pack) and starting Christmas eve (for me) Microsoft started pushing a major update to Windows 10.
Once Windows is installed and updated, I go to the motherboard manufacturer web site and update all the drivers for it. This includes, Network (NIC), Chipset, Video, Various Intel, Audio, RAID et al.
Next is the 3rd Party software: You need programs like JAVA, Adobe Air, and Adobe Shockwave. You might want a DVD burning program or an ISO program or a PDF reader.
Fortunately there is one site that you can get many, though not all of the typical programs needed. It is ninite.com. I wrote about it here: http://theweeklygeek.com/2012/07/06/ninite-installing-needed-programs-the-easy-way/
I typically install: Firefox, QuickTime, JAVA, .NET, Silverlight, Air, Shockwave, ImgBurn, Revo, VLC, Malwarebytes* and Super Anti-Spyware*. Some computers also get GIMP, Picasa, iTunes, Chrome, and Open Office.
I also install Classic Shell on all Windows 8 and 10 computers.
While other technicians may have their personal list of necessary software, this is mine.
Above you noticed the * over the security programs. I wanted to address this separately. First and foremost, I use ESET Anti-Virus as my primary anti-virus. It is not a resource hog or a marketing machine like Symantec / Norton or McAfee or any of numerous others. ESET is also a quality product stopping almost all types of infections, not just viruses.
An anti-virus alone is not enough. Just as the flu shot does not prevent cancer, an infection from a cut finger or a STD, an anti-virus cannot prevent all infections.
That is why I use the PAY FOR versions of Malwarebytes, Super-Anti-spyware, Spyware Blaster and Crypto Prevent. Combined they just keep my personal and business computers safe. When my customers use them combined with a SonicWALL router, they just don’t get infections. Skip any one of these and an infection of some sort is likely.
The reason for the pay for versions is that the free ones don’t run in the background, and they don’t automatically update you have to manually update and run them. Thus they are not “preventing” and infection but cleaning up after the fact.
Yes, you still can get infected, there is browser security and router security, end user training, more advanced attacks and then plain old “oops” that cause infections and hacks. Security is a continual process, not an end goal.
Got a program you use? Share the love and let us know.
Until we meet again, have a virus free week!