w2k and Anti-virus software, firewall etc



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

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 Broadband.

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.

Falcon ITS


I have to agree that Win2K is an excellent OS. It's 10 years old and still

Script Kiddies spend a lot of time looking for exploits. A lot of Internet
traffic consists of automated processes that scan IP address and ports
looking for improperly configured firewalls, systems w/o update patches,
login access with weak passwords, etc.


Freeware AntiVirus and Anti malware is excellent, I like AVG Free Edition
and Malwarebytes Anti Spyware.


They take up a lot less resources than some real-time scanners. I like to
run them manually, this keeps my PC fast.

Use a hardware firewall. This will free up computer resources like CPU and
Memory. Your computer will run faster.

Follow good practice:

http://sharepoint.falconits.com/Articles/Small Business Security and Policy.pdf



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