Too Much of A Good Thing
This topic has been covered some time ago but it bears repeating. Today many of the software packages have undergone revisions to increase their security. Security sells but it also kills. New software with enhanced security features can do more harm than good.
I have had to repair several PCs lately where there has been really nothing wrong with them except that they had the latest AOL and Norton Internet Security Software installed. These software packages tried to provide too much of a good thing. Their security features were redundant with the firewall feature provided by Windows and with features provided by other packages.
What security features are really needed by a Windows XP PC? Most importantly you need good virus scanning software. Secondly you need to once a week spyware cleaning. When you are using a dial up connection and there are no younger members of your family using your PC, then you are generally safe from bad software. When grandchildren come to visit and they think that they can make your PC run better by downloading something from the Internet, do not let them. Everything that sounds good generally comes with some spyware strings attached. Whatever good the downloaded software purports to do is generally offset by bad stuff. The net result is no change or a PC that operates worse than before.
Firewalls are real sales items. A Firewall’s primary function is to prevent some software from entering your PC uninvited. Like the bouncer at the door of the club preventing uninvited partiers from entering. Similarly, when you leave a club and you tell the bouncer that you will return shortly, the bouncer most always lets you back into the club. Firewall software functions like the bouncer.
In most home networks with high speed FIOS, DSL, or Comcast connectivity, the equipment provided or the router that is purchased and attached to provide wireless access has a built-in firewall. Further, Windows XP with Service Pack 2 has an adequate firewall. However, Norton, ZoneAlarm, and AOL provide a firewall as well. Their firewall is “better” than the Windows firewall. It is better because it checks to make sure that the person leaving the club has a legitimate reason to leave. This software learns your usage pattern and the software in your PC. Every request for Internet access is checked with you (the PC owner-operator) before it is permitted. Since most of us do not know whether a request is legitimate or not such a feature provides dubious value because we most always say yes to every request. Further, all the checking by the Internet security software burdens down the PC so it runs slower.
In one case the Microsoft Office software stopped working when Internet security software was installed. The manufacturers would say that if the software were configured correctly, the PC would perform OK. Well who knows how to configure it properly or has the time? Being a Nerd for more than 25 years gives me the seasoning to know that I would not claim to know how to configure any specific software package. It just brings to mind the time I disabled so many features in Windows 2003 Server software that it stopped running. (You only learn when you try.)
The solution is to uninstall the Norton software and the extra AOL software features. Alternatively, do not buy it or install it. Keep the virus software that came with your PC and do not change vendors. If you need virus scanning software, use AVG Antivirus freeware downloaded from:
Please just avoid the too much of a good thing trap.
Link to "Too much security can be overbearing: Microsoft"
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