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Daily, weekly & monthly tasks on your computer - your input needed.

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As you know from some previous comments I've made on this forum, I greatly value the opinions of Piriform Moderators and Members.  So I'm posting this hoping to get your input.  I was not sure if The Lounge is the right Forum or if I should have posted in Software.

 

Here's the scoop: I'm currently developing a major upgrade to my A-Z Freeware Launcher program (some of you will remember I released 4 version during 2008 & 2009).  One intention of the program is to serve as a guide for recommended daily, weekly and monthly tasks on your computer.  Keeping in mind that novice computer uses likely get overwhelmed with what they should be doing (assuming they use their computer more than a couple of times a week for emails), I set out to try and provide some sort of guide - this was in 2008.  Things have changed since then and I was never happy with what I came up with at that time; so therefore, my decision to upgrade the program.

 

Anyway, for recommended daily, weekly and monthly tasks, I currently have the following:

 

Daily:

1) Update SpywareBlaster

2) Perform a system cleanup (using CCleaner)

3) Perform a malware quick scan

 

Weekly:

1) Perform a quick scan with your anti-virus (if not scheduled to do so)

2) Perform a quick scan with two different anti-malware programs (i.e. not the program used in daily scans)

3) Perform a rootkit scan (if not included in your malware scans)

 

Monthly:

1) Perform a full scan with your anti-virus (if not scheduled to do so)

2) Perform a defrag

3) Update software (using Secunia PSI)

 

In your opinion, does this make sense?  Your input would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

 

 

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Spywareblaster doesn't update daily... mostly it's monthly.

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Quick Scan:

Depending upon how fast an antivirus & anti-malware scanner's Quick Scan is (say less than 5 minutes) that could be done daily. On a multi-user PC definitely daily.

 

Full Scan:

With antivirus & anti-malware at least once per week. Once per month is too huge of gap in my opinion because of how much malware is coming out daily/weekly.

 

Defrag / Optimize:

If modern Windows versions such as Win10 why even bother? It will automatically do that job on its own without any user interaction (albeit not a very good job).

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mine is as follows.

 

once:

fully scan your PC with everything you have.

then, all your proactive layers (AV, MBAM, ad-blockers, hosts file,  etc) do all the protection in real-time - why run unnecessary daily/weekly scans.

 

daily:

backup

 

every new OS build:

macrium reflect image

 

6-8 weeks:

run CCleaner

 

6-12months:

defrag/optimise

 

for me staying safe is only one side of the issue.

having systems in place to get back up again in a timely manner is the other.

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Spywareblaster doesn't update daily... mostly it's monthly.

 

Very good point hazelnut, thanks.  I'll move the task to either weekly or monthly.  Weekly is likely too often but monthly may not be quite often enough.   :unsure:   I suppose I could have a "bi-weekly" button but at the moment I can't think of anything else to put into that category, so if updating SpywareBlaster is the only task in that category, it may be better to skip a bi-weekly category.

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Quick Scan:

Depending upon how fast an antivirus & anti-malware scanner's Quick Scan is (say less than 5 minutes) that could be done daily. On a multi-user PC definitely daily.

 

In my program under "Perform Daily" I do recommend a daily anti-malware quick scan (using Zemana AntiMalware).  But you certainly have an excellent point about including a virus quick scan as part of a daily task.  Just did a quick scan with Kaspersky and it scanned 3607 files in about 7 minutes, so quite acceptable.

 

Full Scan:

With antivirus & anti-malware at least once per week. Once per month is too huge of gap in my opinion because of how much malware is coming out daily/weekly.

 

Now that I give it more thought, I think you are right.

 

Defrag / Optimize:

If modern Windows versions such as Win10 why even bother? It will automatically do that job on its own without any user interaction (albeit not a very good job).

 

Like you said, the fact that the automatic defrag in modern windows doesn't do a great job, I figure it wouldn't do any harm to defrag monthly with Defraggler (the defraggler I recommend in my program).  Naturally it would make sense to analyze first and decide whether a defrag is required.

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all your proactive layers (AV, MBAM, ad-blockers, hosts file,  etc) do all the protection in real-time - why run unnecessary daily/weekly scans.

 

daily:

backup

 

I do see your point mta and I'm sure many feel the way you do.  I just want to make sure that users of my program (most of whom are probably novice computer users) stay as safe as possible and I feel one way to make sure is by recommending tasks - I chose three categories, daily, weekly and monthly.  An overkill? Quite possibly, but I feel it's best to be overly cautious than not cautious enough.

 

Regarding backing up daily, good point if you are a user who frequently creates or alters a lot of files.  I personally spend a fair amount of time on emails and on forums and generally reading stuff, so for me (and people like me) daily backups would not be necessary.  Having said that, I am using DropBox for files that I  create/alter and that I feel merits a quick back-up - e.g. when I am developing my program, I make sure I have frequent backups.  In my case I backup to a USB monthly, but with what you say, I realize that I need to revisit how often I backup.  I should probably go to weekly or bi-weekly backups.

 

Thank you though for reminding me that I need to include backups as a recommended task.

 

6-8 weeks:

run CCleaner

 

6-12months:

defrag/optimise

 

Because CCleaner is such a quick task, I personally clean with it every 2 or 3 days.  In my program I say daily because it seemed the best fit.  Perhaps I should move it to a weekly task. I think going 6 to 8 weeks is too long, especially considering how quick the scan and clean is.

 

In today's computer world you may be right about only defragging every 6 to 12 months.  Andavari would likely agree with this too (or go even longer between defragging).

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other factors to consider:-

  • increasing I/O on SSD's (and drives in general) by running maintenance tasks too often
  • effort vs reward - amount of time taken to clean versus performance benefits
  • risks. old adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".  Could the maintenance task make things worse (eg: reg cleaner, CC cleaning windows.old, CC killing Thunderbird to name the most recent)

 

but at the end of the day, if it gives the user a warm, fuzzy feeling, you can't put a price on that.

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@ mta - good points.  Can't argue with that.  One thing for sure, it's probably best to stay away from registry cleaning, especially for an inexperienced user.  It used to be a part of my previous versions, but it won't be in the version I'm working on now.

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 do all the protection in real-time - why run unnecessary daily/weekly scans.

 

I used to think that way until very recently and only ran a Full Scan when I was about to make a disk image of the system. My thinking changed since some malware can just sit on the system waiting for some time to become active, and if not running a Full Scan it won't be found. Or worse like some zero day ransomware, and I'd bet those people who got the recent WannaCry/WannaCrypt ransomware probably didn't run malware scans regularly either.

 

Andavari would likely agree with this too (or go even longer between defragging).

 

I personally defrag daily and have done so since I started using a Windows PC.

 

However what mta stated would likely be what I'd recommend but only if they were letting in for example Win10 take care of the defragmenting/optimizing and then at 6 or 12 months run a real defrag tool that will actually do something like Defraggler, Puran Defrag (what I use because it has very good exclusions, and it's fast), Auslogics Defrag (I also use it because sometimes Puran Defrag just gives up, and it's fast), or whatever. But to go a full 6 to 12 months without any defragmenting is a long time if you think about it with all those never ending automatic OS and software updates (Windows updates, antivirus updates, anti-malware updates, etc.,) which do create a hellish amount of fragmentation on older technology hard disks which also make scanning with for example an antivirus take longer - of course if someone is using an SSD on an OS that can automatically use SSD Trim on it that's not a concern.

 

If I were to go 6-12 months between defragmenting my system would be frustrating to use, but more likely unusable.

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I can see opinions vary quite a bit in regards to defragging.  In my program, I've decided to include defrag as part of monthly tasks.  I'm guessing that for the average user this frequency is probably about right.

 

run a real defrag tool that will actually do something like Defraggler, Puran Defrag (what I use because it has very good exclusions, and it's fast), Auslogics Defrag (I also use it because sometimes Puran Defrag just gives up, and it's fast)

 

In my program I currently only recommend Defraggler.  Do you think it would be a good idea to offer a second option for defragging - i.e. is it beneficial to use two defraggers?  If so, for a novice, do you recommend Puran Defrag or Auslogics Defrag?

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The problem with using different defraggers is that they may well use different algorithms. 

 

So one may undo what the other has just done, because whoever wrote the code regards their way as being "the best".

 

It's up to you to decide which is the best for you.

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The problem with using different defraggers is that they may well use different algorithms. 

 

So one may undo what the other has just done, because whoever wrote the code regards their way as being "the best".

 

I see you point.

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Many defrag programs do use different algorithms, however the two I mentioned don't completely undo what the other has done - and those two also will work alongside Windows Defrag in XP. I wouldn't use Defraggler or Ultra Defrag alongside any other defrag program, and especially Ultra Defrag which seems to want to move everything during a full defrag.

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Depending upon our background, training and personale experiences I'm sure we all do some things the same, some different and some nothing at all. Hope the later does not refer to any forum members.

 

In my case and being honest about it, loosing some financial data once and back in the old IDE HDD days ending up with a "book-end" HDD from a virus, that's what Western Digital told me I do the following regarding backup & data protection for the last few years rightly or not.

 

Always running & run daily: CCleaner runs on start up, Malwarebytes anti-malware (home) Premium scan daily and monitoring, Webroot Secure anywhere (e-mail, malware, password protection, web, realtime & firewall etc. protection), defragler run monthly on SATA drives (adised not to run on SSD) and Macrium Reflect run daily @ 11.00am (backup Drive C completely - 7 daily backups kept at all times (Drive C contains the OS, apps & financial data only, all other data kept on 3 additional drives - backed up to seperate networked PC monthly). Spywareblaster  along with EEK emergency kit is run monthly from a USB stick. Additionally my VPN is always turned on.

 

Whilst the above may be considered over the top by some, having to run a business and rebuild lost data from hard copy records, a task I wish never to repeat again.

 

I remain on the lookout for other worthy recommended software to add or replace any of my proctection software. I also appreciate any advice offered.    

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The main thing is the disk imaging, for instance with Macrium even if a virus (not ransomware) ends up in the backup Macrium allows you to mount the image and copy files out of the disk image manually as if you were copying from disk to disk.

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I remain on the lookout for other worthy recommended software to add or replace any of my proctection software. I also appreciate any advice offered. 

 

Hi Tasgandy.  You certainly seem well protected.  I know zero about Webroot Secure, I guess it's very good or I'm sure you would have replaced it.  I use Kaspersky Total Security 2017 and I'm very satisfied.

 

One thing you may want to consider is running a weekly on-demand malware scan with something other than Malwarebytes.  I personally have Zemana AntiMalware (ZAM) running real-time protection and then I use Malwarebytes 3 and SUPERAntiSpyware (SAS) for on-demand malware scans once a week.  In your case, consider using ZAM or perhaps both ZAM & SAS, for on-demand scans.  As you likely know, SAS has been around for a long time and IMO, ZAM is excellent (which is why I chose it for my real-time protection).

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The main thing is the disk imaging, for instance with Macrium

 

To be very honest, I've been a bad boy.  I have still not performed an image backup on my laptop or my wife's laptop.  One holdup has been in trying to decide on the USB to use - i.e. it's my understanding that any data you have on the USB will get wiped out when it gets formatted by Macrium - I assume this only happens prior to the initial backup and not on subsequent backups - is this correct?

 

So anyway, I need to buy another USB.  The following specs from my laptop, as per Speccy, indicates I need to buy a USB drive (I guess a 1TB USB drive would be a good choice):

 

Partition 0

Partition ID Disk #0, Partition #0

Size 100 MB

Partition 1

Partition ID Disk #0, Partition #1

Disk Letter C:

File System NTFS

Volume Serial Number 90EC960C

Size 930 GB

Used Space 57 GB (6%)

Free Space 872 GB (94%)

Partition 2

Partition ID Disk #0, Partition #2

File System NTFS

Volume Serial Number A2EE43BC

Size 1023 MB

Used Space 379 MB (37%)

Free Space 644 MB (63%)

 

What do you guys & gals think?  Also, do you know what would be on Partition 0 and Partition 2?

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I don't use Macrium for creating USB sticks with a backup image. I instead use YUMI to create a bootable Linux USB stick, and I use YUMI to install the bootable Macrium software ("Macrium Rescue CD") which is just a very basic scaled down Linux and have YUMI install it as an Other OS, then I manually copy my Macrium image (which are saved with FAT32 partitions in mind without exceeding the 4GB maximum for each file).

 

Edit:

I have Macrium save the image to a secondary hard disk; that image then gets copied twice:

* I have a copy of it on my external USB hard disk, which I can also boot from.

* I have a copy of it on a USB stick which is bootable via YUMI.

Edited by Andavari

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@Andavari

 

Are you saying that it's best not to save system image (using Macrium) directly onto a USB drive?  BTW, our laptops don't have a CD drive.

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Not stating that at all. I had to use something like YUMI to make a USB stick bootable on my ancient XP PC, and since I'd like to use more than just Macrium Rescue CD from that bootable USB stick I went with YUMI since I can have a small Linux distro on it, antivirus, and other tools like Memtest.

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I see.  :)

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Hi razz.

 

I'm not a fan of placing important backups or any important data on USB sticks.

 

I've had a number of not very old USB sticks go t**s up and suddenly turn from (for example) 8GB into a few MB. I use them purely for transient files, and what I mean by that is I will place a few movies or videos onto a USB stick to stick into my BluRay player to watch on my TV whilst the original of that movie or video is still on a hard drive. Or I have music on a stick for the car whilst the original music is on a hard drive.

 

I delete and replace the files I have on USB sticks as and when the need arises.

 

I keep important stuff like Macrium Images, all my music, photos and movie backups on an external USB hard drive, and a backup of those files on a second USB hard drive. Never a USB stick. I don't care how big you can get them now, I personally don't trust them for this purpose.

 

If you use a USB hard drive you don't lose anything on the drive when you make a Macrium backup. It's simply saved as a separate file on that drive.

 

And I've never formatted a drive with Macrium. My USB drives are simply formatted NTFS and usually already contain files when I make a new Image. Nothing is overwritten by Macrium.

 

I'm not sure if this is of any use to you razz, simply my two penneth and way of doing my Image and data backups.

 

Others may disagree about USB sticks, but they're not for me when making important backups, especially Macrium Images.

:)

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I'm not sure if this is of any use to you razz, simply my two penneth and way of doing my Image and data backups.

 

Are you kidding! You have put my concerns at rest!  Thank you so very much Dennis.

 

If you use a USB hard drive you don't lose anything on the drive when you make a Macrium backup. It's simply saved as a separate file on that drive.

 

And I've never formatted a drive with Macrium. My USB drives are simply formatted NTFS and usually already contain files when I make a new Image. Nothing is overwritten by Macrium.

 

What you said in the above was my biggest concerns.

 

I had no intention of using a USB stick for backup, but I'll be honest, I did not realize that they can go t**s up (as you said).  I have a 1TB USB drive and with my C drive having 68GB of data, that 1TB should do me for quite sometime.

 

Now I just have to make sure I do the Macrium backups correctly.   :)

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I've had a number of not very old USB sticks go t**s up and suddenly turn from (for example) 8GB into a few MB.

 

I've had one that was rubbish from the get go, used it once for a copy+paste operation and since it was either damaged or whatever it then caused all sorts of UDMA CRC Error Rate to be logged onto my hard disk the copy was coming from - nothing wrong with the hard disk however.

 

Dennis the freeware HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool (it's 100% portable standalone) may interest you, it's small and does a good job using a similar interface to the format tool built into Windows. That HP tool fully resurrected what I thought was a dead USB stick that gave Windows and my PS3/PS4 headaches (note it's not the USB stick I was previously mentioning above). It worked whereas the format tool built into Windows couldn't.

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