Idiot-Proofing a Laptop

Was (Not Wasdin)

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Jul 26, 2007
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Probably a bit harsh, as I'm talking about my son here, but his track record....is not good. He starts college next week, and I've purchased him one of the recommended laptops. I'm looking for suggestions for:

1. A good antivirus program or programs to block, detect, clean, etc. Laptop came with a 12 month subscription to McAfee live, which I activated, what else should I be adding

2. A program that will allow me to access his computer remotely to help him if any problems arise and

3. The Laptop equivalent of "find my I phone", if such a thing exists.

Paid or free, doesn't matter. Any suggestions greatly appreciated, and thank you in advance. Also, anything else I should be thinking about adding?
 

soxhop411

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Dec 4, 2009
34,152
Probably a bit harsh, as I'm talking about my son here, but his track record....is not good. He starts college next week, and I've purchased him one of the recommended laptops. I'm looking for suggestions for:

1. A good antivirus program or programs to block, detect, clean, etc. Laptop came with a 12 month subscription to McAfee live, which I activated, what else should I be adding

2. A program that will allow me to access his computer remotely to help him if any problems arise and

3. The Laptop equivalent of "find my I phone", if such a thing exists.

Paid or free, doesn't matter. Any suggestions greatly appreciated, and thank you in advance. Also, anything else I should be thinking about adding?
I assume your son has a track record of installing/visiting things he shouldn't? I deal with this daily at my job.

1. Avast is a pretty good anti virus software (and it's free) and does more than scan for viruses.

2. When I provide support to family members I use team viewer. You will need to install it on both his computer and your computer (it is also free)


3. Try LoJack for laptops.
http://www.lojack.com/Laptops

It's a subscription based software but it's worth it if you are worried about your son "misplacing" his laptop.
 

edoug

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Jul 15, 2005
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Carbonite or some back up service and an eternal drive as another back up. Bitdefender or Emsisoft for anti-virus.Malwarebytes for malware. TeamViewer so you can access his PC. Maybe not those products exactly but something you can compare and choose the right ones.
You can go to https://www.pcmag.com for reviews.
 

Scott Cooper's Grand Slam

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Jul 12, 2008
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Consider a Chromebook? If it's not too late to return the PC you bought, Chromebooks are quite secure and quite capable. They're idiot proof. Google Apps is as capable as MS Office for college students. They're pretty useless without an internet connection, but that's not a major flaw nowadays.

Solid Chromebook under $500: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-chromebook/

Extra security: http://www.pcworld.com/article/3064762/security/how-to-configure-your-chromebook-for-ultimate-security.html
 

jercra

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Jul 31, 2006
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I'd recommend something like Tile or TrackR for the laptop bag on top of the other stuff mentioned. I'd get one for keys, laptop bag and wallet. It will also help if he loses his phone.
 

djbayko

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Jul 18, 2005
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Waltham, MA
I assume your son has a track record of installing/visiting things he shouldn't? I deal with this daily at my job.

1. Avast is a pretty good anti virus software (and it's free) and does more than scan for viruses.

2. When I provide support to family members I use team viewer. You will need to install it on both his computer and your computer (it is also free)


3. Try LoJack for laptops.
http://www.lojack.com/Laptops

It's a subscription based software but it's worth it if you are worried about your son "misplacing" his laptop.
In addition to Avast, Avira (also free) is really good. There's really no need for a private citizen to pay for antivirus software right now. Avira has been protecting my laptops for years with no problems whatsoever...and I go to some pretty sketchy websites.

Every once in a while (like many months), I'll scan my laptop with SpyBot (free) and Malwarebytes (free), just in case there is anything lurking that somehow got past the antivirus. But I've never found anything serious - usually just adware.
 

Was (Not Wasdin)

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Awesome. Thanks for all of the suggestions. I bought out the stock of Tile trackers from my Best Buy last weekend. Stuck em on everything. My biggest concerns are 1) pron sites and 2) he "forgets" the laptop while
working in a library somewhere.
 

santadevil

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Aug 1, 2006
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Carbonite or some back up service and an eternal drive as another back up. Bitdefender or Emsisoft for anti-virus.Malwarebytes for malware. TeamViewer so you can access his PC. Maybe not those products exactly but something you can compare and choose the right ones.
You can go to https://www.pcmag.com for reviews.
Eternal drive would be awesome :)

Awesome. Thanks for all of the suggestions. I bought out the stock of Tile trackers from my Best Buy last weekend. Stuck em on everything. My biggest concerns are 1) pron sites and 2) he "forgets" the laptop while working in a library somewhere.
Like making sure he's visiting the right ones?
Just give him a list of your bookmarks for the ones you know are safe
 

Bleedred

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I'm even dumber than WNW's son. Do you just search for these sites online and download their product? i.e. Avast, Avira, etc.?
 

edoug

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I'm even dumber than WNW's son. Do you just search for these sites online and download their product? i.e. Avast, Avira, etc.?
Search and research what product you want or need. Downloading can be tricky. Free products come bundled
with stuff you may not want. Ninite.com, if the app is available there, is the place where you should download software from.
 

Bleedred

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Search and research what product you want or need. Downloading can be tricky. Free products come bundled
with stuff you may not want. Ninite.com, if the app is available there, is the place where you should download software from.
Thank you. This is super helpful for someone like me. So do I go to Ninite.com and click on just about any app that I would typically use and have it download from there?

Also, do I want to download all of avast, avira and malwarebytes, or is that redundant and I just need one?
 

SumnerH

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Thank you. This is super helpful for someone like me. So do I go to Ninite.com and click on just about any app that I would typically use and have it download from there?

Also, do I want to download all of avast, avira and malwarebytes, or is that redundant and I just need one?
Install only one of Avast or Avira, which are both AV programs that you install and they run in the background. Either is fine, both is redundant and they may step on each others' toes.

And then on top of one of those, install malwarebytes which is a malware scanner that you run by hand periodically.
 

edoug

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Jul 15, 2005
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Thank you. This is super helpful for someone like me. So do I go to Ninite.com and click on just about any app that I would typically use and have it download from there?

Also, do I want to download all of avast, avira and malwarebytes, or is that redundant and I just need one?
Not both Avira and Avast. Never have two anti-virus at the same time. One of them with Malwarebytes is fine.
It's this easy:
 

Bleedred

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Install only one of Avast or Avira, which are both AV programs that you install and they run in the background. Either is fine, both is redundant and they may step on each others' toes.

And then on top of one of those, install malwarebytes which is a malware scanner that you run by hand periodically.
Thank you. Much appreciated
 

Bleedred

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I just realized that I have McAfee LiveSafe on my laptop (I think it came with the laptop). Should I now uninstall that since I just downloaded Avira?
 

Couperin47

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Not both Avira and Avast. Never have two anti-virus at the same time. One of them with Malwarebytes is fine.
It's this easy:
Patent nonsense, many good programs work perfectly together and a layered approach can be far more secure. Most all free programs won't work together because they are fighting to keep your attention. I've been running Webroot Anywhere, ESET Nod32 and even MS Win7 Essentials all together for years, they cooperate perfectly, combined are very light on resources and provide far more comprehensive protection. YMMV.
 

SumnerH

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Jul 18, 2005
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Patent nonsense, many good programs work perfectly together and a layered approach can be far more secure.
Good AV programs watch out for things hooking system calls and can (correctly) trigger each other as suspicious activity; if you know what you're doing it's obvious how to proceed, but for someone who's asking where to go and how to install things it's just adding confusion into the situation. And they'll race on virus cleanup (e.g. if one quarantines a file while the other has a dialog up asking you what to do). Again, easy enough for you to recognize when an error message is because of this but for a less sophisticated user it's not a great idea.

Most all free programs won't work together because they are fighting to keep your attention.
This is total FUD. Free software is not inherently worse-written than commercial software, and especially in the arena of security the correlation likely runs in the opposite direction.
 

Couperin47

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Good AV programs watch out for things hooking system calls and can (correctly) trigger each other as suspicious activity; if you know what you're doing it's obvious how to proceed, but for someone who's asking where to go and how to install things it's just adding confusion into the situation. And they'll race on virus cleanup (e.g. if one quarantines a file while the other has a dialog up asking you what to do). Again, easy enough for you to recognize when an error message is because of this but for a less sophisticated user it's not a great idea.



This is total FUD. Free software is not inherently worse-written than commercial software, and especially in the arena of security the correlation likely runs in the opposite direction.
I never said or implied this. They generally don't work together because they are written to not install or work together, often for the reasons of confusion you cite, sometimes for marketing reasons, but I never said or claimed they are inferior. Running any single program, paid or free, leaves you at the mercy of their single signature database and heuristics engine. Yes, it's true that running multiple programs can result in interference, or, if you get the right mix, a layered approach that does not leave you at the mercy of a single database. I repeat, I never said or implied they are inferior.
 

Bleedred

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And they'll race on virus cleanup (e.g. if one quarantines a file while the other has a dialog up asking you what to do). Again, easy enough for you to recognize when an error message is because of this but for a less sophisticated user it's not a great idea.
I'm the least sophisticated user that there is, which is why I asked the Q. I really can't trouble shoot much of anything, which is why I like the remedial answers. It's appreciated.

Edit: Should I uninstall McAfee if I'm running Avira?
 

soxhop411

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Dec 4, 2009
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I'm the least sophisticated user that there is, which is why I asked the Q. I really can't trouble shoot much of anything, which is why I like the remedial answers. It's appreciated.

Edit: Should I uninstall McAfee if I'm running Avira?

I would do an AVAST/malwarebytes combo