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Thread: Basic setup/security for laptop

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    Basic setup/security for laptop

    A friend has bought a new (used) laptop that's had a basic (and no doubt old) W10 reinstalled as completely fresh.

    And they've asked me (of all people) to do a basic configuration to make it safe to use.

    So what's current thoughts? Turn on (if it isn't already) built-in AV/Firewall, etc?

    Download selected "free" stuff?

    Best "safe" browser, etc?

    Any help much appreciated.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    Re: Basic setup/security for laptop

    Make sure Windows has all its updates is probably the biggest. For all the whinging MS get about intrusive updates, not being updated is by far your biggest threat.

    I'm tempted to go back to the built in Microsoft AV, they all suck and Avast is getting intrusively nagging. Microsoft AV and firewall should be automatically working.

    Check for any device drivers it might need. Look for an updated BIOS.

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    Re: Basic setup/security for laptop

    So basically, fire it up, plug it in to ethernet and wait for it to do it's thing?

    Then maybe tweak settings later?

    I currently don't have their email? Can it still be done on a local account?


    Thanks, Dances
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    Re: Basic setup/security for laptop

    You should be able to skip any "sign in to Microsoft" stage, though with the latest Windows you have to disconnect networking for that bit for it to give up.

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    Re: Basic setup/security for laptop

    I'll give it a go later/tomorrow.

    Thanks, DwU.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: Basic setup/security for laptop

    I normally go through the Settings/Privacy and turn OFF as many things as possible.

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    Re: Basic setup/security for laptop

    there are two bits of free software worth looking at.

    O&O shutup10 https://www.ghacks.net/2015/08/14/co...privacy-tools/
    and
    dbotnet: https://www.ghacks.net/2020/02/01/wi...-improvements/

    FYI people 1809 is the last version with ablility to do phone activation. They have nobbled the SLUI.exe to remove it in the 19xx versions.

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    Re: Basic setup/security for laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    I'm tempted to go back to the built in Microsoft AV, they all suck and Avast is getting intrusively nagging
    I've just switched away from Avast for exactly that reason.

    As above, you can skip any MS account stuff - you can also now say no to cortana and there's a lot of privacy permissions that MS have to explicitly ask for which you can say no to.

    Firefox probably a good browser choice - Chrome is definitely one of the safer ones with exploits patched very quickly, but you are giving a lot of data to Google by using it (and it routinely scans to find out what else you have on your computer). Two extensions I'd recommend are HTTPS everywhere (defaults to trying to find a secured version first) and an ad-blocker of your choice. Go into firefox privacy settings and check 'tell websites I do not want to be tracked'.

    Get your friend to use a password manager too - passwords should never be re-used and a manager is the only sane way of operating like that. You can use ones built into Firefox/Chrome, or a third party one like lastPass.

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    Re: Basic setup/security for laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    FYI people 1809 is the last version with ablility to do phone activation. They have nobbled the SLUI.exe to remove it in the 19xx versions.
    When I switched my 1909 install to my current build I had to reactivate, but it still showed the option in the Activation section of the settings, and the alternative option to run slui.exe 4 launched the same screen as the option did, to allow it (with the network connection still being plugged in, in case anyone wondered if that was a difference).

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    Re: Basic setup/security for laptop

    Activation is one of my concerns. I'm told it's a clean install, but .... of what?

    It's a Dell laptop originally supplied with W10 so, cross-fingers, it's legit. I really can do without sorting that out if it isn't.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: Basic setup/security for laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by Output View Post
    When I switched my 1909 install to my current build I had to reactivate, but it still showed the option in the Activation section of the settings, and the alternative option to run slui.exe 4 launched the same screen as the option did, to allow it (with the network connection still being plugged in, in case anyone wondered if that was a difference).
    You can't generate the key to read to them to get the phone code nor find the screen to get the phone number to call anymore. Sounds like if you already have done that previously and have the key you might still be able to enter it which is good

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    Re: Basic setup/security for laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen999 View Post
    Activation is one of my concerns. I'm told it's a clean install, but .... of what?

    It's a Dell laptop originally supplied with W10 so, cross-fingers, it's legit. I really can do without sorting that out if it isn't.
    A Dell laptop should just work.

    Start->Settings->Update & Security->Activation

    ... should give you a screen saying it is activated. It is normal these days for the motherboard BIOS to have the Windows key in the BIOS (hidden in the ACPI table). You can read it out quite easily in Linux by catting a file in the /proc filesystem, I presume there is a 100MB GUI application to do the same in Windows

    Even before Windows 10 it was normal that a Dell Windows install CD would see it was on a Dell PC and just work. OFC that meant that a non Dell disk doesn't work.

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    Re: Basic setup/security for laptop

    I always install AVG Free, CCleaner and Uninstall Tool. I used to get a Spyware package but AVG does all that now.

    If you use a router they usually have a hardware firewall, so Windows FW is usually off. Defender is usually off.

    Chrome, with optional IE, sometmes Chrome can't *quite* handle some things....

    Finally, I use LastPass for password management.
    Cheers, David



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    Re: Basic setup/security for laptop

    I know W10 is installed, because it was booted for me. Beyond that, currently in the dark.

    I know there was a CD/DVD supplied but I don' rememher seeing Dell branding all over it. It looked more like an, erm, third-party disk.

    But IIRC, it was W10 "Home" so why would anyone mess about with 3rd party OS discs? It' not like it's Pro, or whatever. Rhetorical question.

    Lappy is currently charging. I guess I'll find out more shortly.



    /Wonders if I stuck Ubuntu on it and said it was a new W10 UI, they'd rumble me? :;
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: Basic setup/security for laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by g8ina View Post
    I always install AVG Free, CCleaner and Uninstall Tool. I used to get a Spyware package but AVG does all that now.

    If you use a router they usually have a hardware firewall, so Windows FW is usually off. Defender is usually off.

    Chrome, with optional IE, sometmes Chrome can't *quite* handle some things....

    Finally, I use LastPass for password management.
    As a W10 almost novice, my usage of a firewall (usually Comodo) on W7 etc was primarily to watch/block what tried to connect/talk out from the PC.

    Browser-wise, I've used Firefox or Opera for ages. Always got on well with AVG. My PW Mgr ceasedcdevelopmeny ages back, but I keep hearing good things about LastPass.

    I sense a broad concensus on here, and a shortlist is rapidly emerging. Keep 'em coming, guys.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: Basic setup/security for laptop

    I would always install 7zip, notepad++ and antrenamer. They are so useful. The new win10 powertools are worth considering too. I would also set up the old win7 photoviewer so that it at least shows in the open-with menu even if they decide they don't want to make it default. I find the new photoviewer a real pain. It won't skip photos if you've zoomed in etc. Talk about breaking a good thing. Oh and back up snipping tool while you can still get to the .exe file. They are about to bork that in the next release too.

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