Security and performance on one Win 7 PC
August 24, 2010 8:48 AM   Subscribe

Windows 7 security: I want to use the same boot for general use and audio production. Can you help me review my plan for decent performance and security?

It would be ideal to use dual boot and have a dedicated music OS, but I'm experimenting with different interfaces like voice command and it's going to be too much of a PITA.

So what I'm thinking of doing instead is to make a 'test' partition with the OS installed, and if there's anything I'm not sure about, open or install it on the test first and run system scans with antivirus software. I can get a few free versions so it's different engines and have an ESET license.

I want my main OS to be reasonably secure as I will be doing all normal online activities. I'm thinking that I will just run Microsoft Security Essentials on here as it's free and light on processor. Will this be sufficient?

Also, as I will be using partitions for storing audio + data is it possible that these could become infected from the 'dirty' partition and then infect my main one?

Are there any other security things worth doing that don't affect performance too much? I've found an article here but it has a lot of registry editing and I don't want to get into doing things I don't really understand that might cause problems later.

Conversely, are there any common performance tweaks I might come across I should avoid as they could compromise security?

Also, any reasonable privacy measures. I have a bootable os for paranoia mode, so anything that doesn't interfere with ease of use/performance too much.
posted by Not Supplied to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You may be over-thinking this with the partitions, multiple installs, etc. Windows is actually pretty secure if you're not running as an administrator. You should make yourself a user account that is not an administrator and use that for your everyday usage. You would only use your administrator account for software updates and for installing new software. I would just do this, run Security Essentials, do decent backups, and call it a day.

I would also consider running Foxit instead of Adobe Reader and not bothering to install Java unless you absolutely need it. Currently, Java and Reader are the two most exploited apps.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:53 AM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yes, just make another user account specifically for music production. Don't bother with a bunch of partitions. Also, be sure to use the Windows Backup and Restore to create a system image and boot disk, and schedule regular backups. You'll be fine.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:05 AM on August 24, 2010

This is a problem I have wrestled with.

Don't bother with separate partitions. The first time you are doing some work you really can't save at the time is the first time you'll just install or run whatever without rebooting. It's too inconvenient for strict adherence.

If you really want to test things out before you install on your main system, use a VM. VMware player is free, XP mode comes free, Virtualbox is free. There are lots of options. You can muck about inside the VM and it's trivial to test, screw up, and restore. And you can do it from inside your current session.

It's way easier than maintaining a separate partition.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:21 AM on August 24, 2010

99 out of 100 cases of virus infection are user error. Never click on "too good to be true" and you should be fine.

Since Windows XP, I haven't had a situation where it is necessary to have separate installs for different work. Microsoft has gone a long way in making the OS handle multiple software packages very well.

Partitions are a pain in the ass- invariably, they cause more problems than they solve. What you NEED are good backups of your data so it doesn't matter if one copy of the data gets borked.
posted by gjc at 11:49 AM on August 24, 2010

I'm thinking that I will just run Microsoft Security Essentials on here as it's free and light on processor.

You'll still want an antivirus. Just use one of the free ones (I use Antivir but hear great things about Avast) - they're effective, but much, much lighter on resources than an old XP box running Norton, especially considering that your editing station is -- I assume -- fairly high-end. The performance hit will be negligible.

Also, surf using Firefox with NoScript and AdBlock.
posted by coolguymichael at 4:08 PM on August 24, 2010

Microsoft Security Essentials is an anti-virus package, and it's a really good one. I disagree that you'd need another in addition.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:21 PM on August 24, 2010

Microsoft Security Essentials is excellent, IMO. If you can stomach surfing the internet with NoScript, you'll be very safe...but I get annoyed with NoScript after a while.
posted by arkitex at 12:01 AM on August 25, 2010

Nice one guys. I'll put that into place and get a virtual machine.
posted by Not Supplied at 5:23 AM on August 25, 2010

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