(Guide) How to safely use Windows without Anti-virus security

Discussion in 'Security and Anti-Virus Software' started by micman, Oct 10, 2010.

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  1. micman

    micman Notebook Evangelist

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    All the mentioned security measures here are free and some use little to no system resources. I updated the VMware link to make it easier to find the free version, sorry for the confusion.

    OpenDNS doesn't work for everybody, but it should for most people. But as an example, I can't use it because the Sprint 3G network charges extra to allow users to provide their own DNS. If you weren't noticing a difference in speed or responsiveness, did you check to make sure it was working right? Maybe your ISP doesn't allow different DNS servers.

    Ccleaner gets most of the (un)important temp files, and I've never seen Disk Cleanup find anything Ccleaner didn't. If you look in Ccleaner's options, you can find additional items to delete and check their corresponding box to wipe them out. The only result I ever get from Disk Cleanup is old/unused file compression, which I stay away from due to speed concerns. Compressing hard drive files usually doesn't save much space anyway.

    I apologize if I may have been unclear, but I'm not actually using each method I mentioned on my main system. In fact, right now I'm only using a few of them. I merely wanted to include as many helpful security alternatives as possible in the guide for people to use as a resource.

    I absolutely want the information in this resource to be as accurate as possible. I also want it to be readable so that even an average user can learn from it if they are inclined. I wasn't always a geek, and I learned a lot by reading online resources and talking to other geeky people, so I hope this can be a good starting point for people who are learning. Experienced IT users know their stuff already, so I know I don't have to explain anything to them.

    I made several changes and additions to the guide in light of the corrections you made. I hope this clarifies things more accurately.

    Instead of letting what you think is 99% of the world rot with a lack of information, I decided to share my knowledge for those who care to learn. There are people out there who wish to secure their systems with other methods, either as an alternative or an additive measure.

    I treat every "computer noobs" as if they have as much or more knowledge than me, even when they have made the most ignorant mistakes. My attitude toward my clients is why they keep coming back, and bringing more clients to me. If you treat everyone like they are too stupid to ever learn about computers, I guarantee you they will never learn.

    Yes, modern anti-virus programs use fewer resources. Yes, I like saving 5mb of memory here and there. Yes, it's pointless with as powerful a computer as I have.

    I realize there aren't many people in need of this kind of security advice. Most people just use anti-virus. Still, I wanted to increase the available options for anybody looking for more information. Whether they decide to run these measures with or without anti-virus on their system is not up to me. I'm only providing the info, you choose whether to use it or not.
     
  2. Lithus

    Lithus NBR Janitor

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    It's great that you created a guide detailing some security measures, but by titling it "How to safely use Windows without Anti-virus security", you're insinuating that your methods provide overlapping functionality that makes antivirus redundant - which your listed methods do not.

    It's interesting that you ask for criticism, yet quickly rebuff anything said that is contrary to what you wrote.
     
  3. micman

    micman Notebook Evangelist

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  4. nikeseven

    nikeseven Notebook Deity

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    Anything running constantly in the background monitoring your computers activity will cause a slow down. Would I notice the slow down on day to day activities, probably not, but I don't live my life in fear of viruses either. Understanding what you're up against is half the battle and after that antiviruses are more problematic than viruses themselves.
     
  5. Lithus

    Lithus NBR Janitor

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    If your point is that it's entirely possible to not get a virus while running a computer without antivirus software, then you are very correct. I don't think anyone's debating that point with you.

    There are two issues I have with what you posted. Firstly, as I said before, your thread title insinuates that the security measures that you've listed are to replace antivirus and make running antivirus software redundant. Second, quite frankly, not running antivirus is just stupid. Yes, it's very possible to look down the barrel of a gun and not get shot in the face. But it's probably smarter to not be looking down the barrel of a gun in the first place.

    When you enter a car and buckle your seatbelt, do horrific pictures of car accidents flash through your mind? Probably not. So why do you buckle your seatbelt? Because it's the smart thing to do. It's silly to suggest that people are using antivirus only because they're deathly afraid of getting infected.

    What antivirus have you been using? Hillbilly Bob's "Git Me's Compooter Safe" security package?
     
  6. nikeseven

    nikeseven Notebook Deity

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    Do I need to remind of you of Mcafee's wonderful svchost incident, beyond the routine blocking of applications it shouldn't, false positives, and annoying popups. This thread is about being free of those daily annoyances which end up turning a lot of people off or onto Mac's. Almost all of the current computer world is unknown to a majority of users, and antivirus companies have capitalized on that. People will fear the unknown which is why the strongest defense a person can have is knowledge and with that knowledge plus a few tools antiviruses are nothing but a nuisance.
     
  7. NumLock

    NumLock Notebook Evangelist

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    My only issue with private browsing is that it rejects all tracking cookies... that is why I've just been 'limiting' cookies based on site addresses.

    For example; I go to www.notebookreview.com to read articles and reviews but I'm not logging in so I setup ff to deny all cookies that tries to store itself into my browser. Whilst in forum.notebookreview.com I need to accept cookies so that I could post; so I made that address an exception to be allowed to accept and store cookies.

    Any website I just visit and I don't need to login; I simply deny their cookies. And so far I've had zero (1s to 2s) results from malware scans; for the past 4 years.

    This takes more effort; denying cookies from all new sites you visit but the results in the long run have been worth it.

    just an IMO.
     
  8. micman

    micman Notebook Evangelist

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    I just linked to a thread where several NBR users besides myself gave testimony that they have been running without anti-virus software for a while without contracting malware. The evidence speaks for itself. By saying that "not running antivirus is just stupid," you have clearly identified yourself as a person who believes that anti-virus software is the only way to keep viruses out.

    You are wrong. I have personally worked on several computers with Symantec and Macafee software suites (just to name a couple) installed that had contracted nasty malware despite real-time protection, automatic program and definition updates and automatic scans. Talk about looking down the barrel of a smoking gun.

    I never stated that these methods would keep 100% of viruses out, but I do believe they would be as effective or better than a majority of security suites if used correctly. In that sense, I do not believe my title is misleading.

    I also did not say anyone had to follow this guide if they don't want to, as you'll see if you read the first sentence in the first post. And I didn't say to stop using anti-virus software. I left the choice up to the user. If they followed the methods described herein, I believe they could safely use Windows without anti-virus software.

    Your posts have become increasingly off-topic from what I asked in the first few paragraphs of my first post; that is to say, you are no longer contributing to overall knowledge of running Windows with alternative security measures. So I have two suggestions for you: 1. Keep using anti-virus software, and 2. If you have further arguments against the thread take it up with a moderator and let them decide what to do.

    I see that you have been a very avid NBR user, and I respect your many posts and high reputation here. I also respect your opinion. I just ask that you would do the same for me as I am merely trying to help other NBR users, however few there are that would benefit from this guide.
     
  9. Pirx

    Pirx Notebook Virtuoso

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    I have learnt by now to stay out of these kinds of discussions, but I'll make an exception for this one...

    Yep, exactly. I have probably something like 20+ computer-years (10 years on multiple computers, one of them our family computer(s), that my wife and kinds have been using for years) experience of running Windows machines without any anti-virus software. We have never, ever, had a virus. We also have never had to deal with any of the multitude of issues that were, and are, routinely caused by anti-virus software.

    I am not sure if that is suggested by the OP, but you should understand the following: In contrast to what seems to be your understanding, it is the other way around: Running your computer securely is essential, including using UAC, and always running your day-to-day work as a limited user (I may add in parentheses that I seem to disagree with the OP, whose guide I do not find particularly helpful). No anti-virus package in the world can substitute for that. And, yes, with a bit of work and some discipline, you can set up a Windows machine so that it is far more secure than any standard Windows configuration with any number of anti-this-or-that packages added. For the naive user, anti-virus packages may be helpful, but they are really of very limited, if any value for a competent user.

    Quite frankly, I do not think you are in any position to make a pronouncement of this kind. I'll leave it at that...

    ... and inane analogies really do nothing to help your argument.
     
  10. micman

    micman Notebook Evangelist

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    You have an interesting strategy, one worth taking note of. Quick question, if you needed to, could you transfer your cookie denial settings from one computer to another? Just curious.

    I appreciate your perspective, and admire your experience in avoiding viruses. Especially considering you have a family that uses your computers without your full supervision. Although with LUA there are lots of things they can't do without your permission I'm sure.

    If you get a chance and you feel like it is worth your time, could you make suggestions as to how this guide could become more helpful? I'm rather disappointed with it myself, considering that most of the discussion taking place hasn't been very productive. I would really appreciate it.
     
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