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Old 02-28-07, 10:48 PM Thread Starter   #1
Dougan
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Best way to protect files...


Lately I have been running into family and friends with viruses or whatever that has hosed the OS, the problem is they have pictures and programs.... anyways, I thought I would ask for some advice as to what is the best way to protect files? I am thinking either have 2 hard drives or a partition. They are complete non computer people so I am trying to figure out the best, easiest way to do this. Thanks a ton!
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Old 03-01-07, 09:42 AM   #2
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Their isn't a easy way that will fix your problem and still keep the user happy that I know of, their are the weak link in the chain the viruses are getting in because of the computing habits, this happens all the time with people that are not used to computers. Your best option is running a good antivirus and a paid anti spyware because those will search the files being used while spybot and adware free stuff won't, I prefer spysweeper download the trial first and you get a discount when buying on the web. Also install spyware blaster, it's free and does a good job the paid version will auto update. Firewall is up to you because that will get in their way a lot and they won't know what to do with it, if they have a router with built in fire wall that should be good enough.

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Old 03-01-07, 10:23 AM Thread Starter   #3
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This is what I was afraid of. I thought about using two hard drives or 2 partitions, and running windows in one and teaching them how to put "stuff" in the other. What do you think about that, or will that be a nuisance as well? Thanks again!
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Old 03-01-07, 10:28 AM   #4
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For them yes, they won't remenber which is which and get annoyed by it, you can do if you make the whole thing invisiable to them like make a partition and setting windows to use the partition not as a different drive but as the "My documents" folder and another partition to be the "Program Files" folder, this is doable as I've seen the option to do it while formating new partitions in windows but I've never do it myself. you could also set them up in limited accounts so that nothing would be able to install itself without them knowing about it, it would annoy them but it it a good idea.

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Old 03-01-07, 10:37 AM   #5
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If the problem is viruses, it has nothing to do with where files are stored.

If you want to teach them something, teach them how not to download viruses or open emails etc etc =)

The biggest danger is that the viruses infect the OS which then gets all screwy to the point of needing to be reinstalled. No matter where they were putting the file they downloaded, the same problems would still happen.

Installing a tightened down noscript firefox, if using windows patch it up, immunized spybot, maybe even loaded up a modified hosts file to stop ads from showing will probably help a little bit.

One of the best things that I have found that helps my family and friends is to show them the correct locations and methods to get what they want. The biggest danger is when they just put in download and the name of the program in google and just randomly click away on whatever they find. Also make sure they realize that everything they get in an email is either a phishing scheme or a virus. EVERYTHING. I teach my family to assume everything they get in email is a virus until proven otherwise.

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Old 03-01-07, 10:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DorianBrytestar
If the problem is viruses, it has nothing to do with where files are stored.

If you want to teach them something, teach them how not to download viruses or open emails etc etc =)
This is the best advice, in my opinion. You can spend all the time in the world protecting their system(s) from viruii, trojans, etc., but an unknowing user can make it all worthless if they aren't educated on how these things are contracted in the first place.

Defense begins with the one in the chair.

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Old 03-01-07, 10:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DorianBrytestar
If the problem is viruses, it has nothing to do with where files are stored.

The way I use partition is to make it easier to do a fresh install, if you have their important stuff in a partition you can reinstall without worring about it.

But remenber that a fresh install is the last option always, what I usually install for security stuff is aol virus shield (best free av, based on Kaspersky), spybot search & destroy, adaware, spyware blaster, ccleaner and if they prove to be a problem for the pc I purchase spy sweeper as i said and install a firewall and create user accounts and an admin account that is password protected.

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Old 03-01-07, 03:59 PM Thread Starter   #8
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I totally understand. One of the problems that I am encountering is that I replaced a motherboard in the computer, windows freaked out, and now it runs like garbage. This is another instance I am referring. In this instance, if there was a way to just wipe windows out, and not everything else, then this would be ideal.
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Old 03-01-07, 06:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougan
I totally understand. One of the problems that I am encountering is that I replaced a motherboard in the computer, windows freaked out, and now it runs like garbage. This is another instance I am referring. In this instance, if there was a way to just wipe windows out, and not everything else, then this would be ideal.
Well when replacing a mobo without formating windows usually causes HUGE issues. I've had a few successful cases of it working but still its rare and format should be done. You can install windows ontop of itself, thats a way of doing it but they you have to go through the drive and clean out all the crap afterword.

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Old 03-01-07, 07:53 PM Thread Starter   #10
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Yeah, I have installed windows on top of itself a few times to save this computer. Here is the thing though, they are the "inlaws" and feel that they "cant" lose any information. They are very computer illiterate, and freak out if the computer even so much as takes to long to boot up one time. So, inlaw + I married their daughter + computer illiterate = It better work or we will hassle you until it does and make comments about how we should maybe go "buy" a computer at the store.. blah blah blah... Its a rock and hard place. So I figured that if there was a way that I could protect most of their stuff and beable to format the computer whenever it "freaks" out, then it would be ok.

As far as the install on top of itself, everytime I do that in xp it basically makes a new install and puts all the files into a folder on the drive. Seems like the programs wont work no more and various other things. Is this correct or is there a way to install it over itself like good ole win98? Thanks again!
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Old 03-02-07, 09:43 AM   #11
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I'm not sure how long you have been in this situation, but here's advice from someone that has been a sys admin for 10 years, and a tech guy for 15 and one of those evil "you stole my daughter" ******** for 16 years.



Get out.


Seriously.

Your time effort and expertise must have value and as long as they are second guessing and telling you how to do things, they will never be happy.

In your "relationship" with them, you want to be more of a consultant than a technician or repairman. The difference is that technicians only repair what is broken, and get the system to the point where the user wants. The consultant tells the user what they need and gives them reasons why and makes the user understand that what you are telling them is truly the best way for them to do things.

Once they look at prices from other places they will understand that you are doing them a big favor, and if they would rather go to someone else and have them work on their stuff, then it's one less hassle you have to deal with.



Also, do not get hung up on spending too much time "fixing" an old pc.



I was working on a truly annoying software/hardware problem on a pc once. I was getting very close to getting it fixed. There was no specific valuable data but I just did not want to wipe the box and reinstall. My boss comes up behind me and asks "Hey, what ya doin?" I filled him in on my previous 6+ hour diagnosis and testing nightmare and how I felt I was really close to getting it solved etc. He asked. "How much do we have you charging people an hour now days?" I looked at him wondering why he didn't know this.. "$175" I replied, all proud at having recently gotten my charge rate bumped up. "Wow, that's pretty high." he said, picking at the edge of the desk. "And how much do you think this PC is worth?" I looked at the machine, not really understanding what he was talking about. "This thing? It's pretty old, probably about 300-500 at most."

He nodded and started to walk away, then turned and asked me, "When you get it fixed, I want you to write up an explanation to them why they should pay you over $1000 for fixing a pc that's worth a third the price and they could buy a brand new one for half as much." He smiled, then walked on out.

Everything you do has a value attached to it. And there is almost always more than one answer to a question. You must always keep the relative prices of those answers in mind when working on other people's stuff.

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Old 03-02-07, 10:36 AM   #12
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You could always just make an image of thier drive that way, if you have to format/reinstall you are not starting from scratch.

This is what I do with my grandparents. I usually visit them once a month, when I do I run a virus scan, and two to three spyware scans. If everything is clean, I create an image and save it on my external HD. That way if something happens between when I see them there are little if any files that I don't have backed up. Also I have tried to teach my grandparents about not opening up e-mail from unknown e-mail addresses, but they don't listen. Hope this helps.
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Old 03-02-07, 10:59 AM   #13
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This might be a more technical answer but this is what I do. I use TrueCrypt (http://www.truecrypt.org/). This is a open source FREE encryption tool like how PGP Disc used to work.

You create a true crypt file, which can be multiple gigs. Then you format that file like you would a partition. Then you set a pass phrase for the file. Now with a simple key stroke it will mount (add drive) or unmount (remove drive).

The other benefit to true crypt is there is NO install needed. so you can even have the TrueCrypt file on a memory card and have it auto mount when you plug in the card.




WOOT I got a star
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Old 03-02-07, 11:31 AM Thread Starter   #14
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Thank you all for your help in this matter.
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Old 03-02-07, 03:52 PM   #15
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Like others have said, I'd worry about securing their PC rather then where the files are stored. Also, if they have a small drive making seperate partitions would just limit the space they could use. For example, they may have 3GB left on their Windows partition and only a couple MB's on the other one, but if they are used to saving everything to the other partition they basically loose 3GB of space unless the partition is resized, which is something they shouldn't have to worry about.

The first thing I would do is make sure everything is removed. If it was really infected I would probably just reformat. Most people don't have much stuff to backup except pictures, documents, favorites, etc. So it would be just faster and easier reformatting on a badly infected system and you'll know for sure all of it is gone.

I think you know to have anti-virus, a firewall (don't bother with an outbound filtering one, it would be too complicated and annoying for them), etc. However, what most people don't do that would help security tremendously is set up a limited user account for day-to-day use.
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Old 03-03-07, 12:57 PM   #16
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Since others have given you good advise already, I'll just mention how I do it:

Win. Vista on Raptor Hard drive 1

Win XP on Raptor HDD 2

External USB 2.0 HDD 3 (Which I only turn on when I want to access data or put data on it) has a Ghost image of Hdd 1 and a Ghost image of HDD 2 for in the event either OS gets FUBARED.



Then to top it all off I use Axcrypt for any files on any of the hard drives I want to keep top secret and secure from anyone sitting at my computer that isn't me.

Axcrypt is free, and simple to use.

http://www.axantum.com/AxCrypt/

Here's how AXCRYPT works, so simple a caveman could use it, you just right click on the file, or right click on the entire hdd if your uber paranoid to employ axcrypt to encrypt it. Then right click again, to unlock it.

http://www.axantum.com/AxCrypt/HowToUse.html



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