Lesson Learned - Laptop

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Re the meat of the thread: Is the consensus to maintain computing operations to an external drive and employ encryption? Besides the above, are anti virus/spyware/malware programs needed? Therefore, do I need to buy this drive and 3 programs when next I buy a computer? Is there more? Are there options where a new machine comes loaded with these things? I always heard to buy it separately. Trying to buy intelligently
 

StevieC

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I'd just run a quality anti-virus that does anti-malware as well. I'm a fan of Bit-Defender, E-Set (although I had some minor issues with it for a while), MalwareBytes for these purposes because their ability to catch things is excellent compared to other brands of software in this category. I can't even begin to tell you how many computers over the years I have cleaned malware and viruses out of using Norton and McAfee, although Norton has gotten better they still aren't great in my opinion. I'd go for the Pro version of Windows 10 so you have access to more advanced components of the operating system like Bitlocker encryption both for internal and external drives. You can also access functions like policy editor which is great for turning on/off certain annoying windows functions and in general having more control over your system. If the computer comes with a home edition you can wipe that off and put on a Pro version with a key from places like Kinguin (https://www.kinguin.net/) and install using the Microsoft Media Creation Tool. This is what I did for my spouses laptop that came with Home Edition of Windows. I bought a legit key from this website and then wiped the laptop and put on the pro-version for $50 CDN as opposed to Microsoft's $130 CDN "Upgrade any time" cost via the windows store which is nuts for the literally 10 minute upgrade / reboot. I also bought my Microsoft Office keys here for similar price and so far no issues using them for the past few years.
 
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There are probably a couple philosophies as to how to handle matters, and with a laptop used as intended, more caution is needed. If it were me, of course, I'd be using a Linux environment and either encrypt the home directory or, even more likely, go with whole disk encryption, if I were worried about theft or my sensitive data. Irrespective of that, you still have to make sure you have access to your encrypted data in case the laptop (or desktop or whatever) itself fails. Lose your ability to access that data, and you're in a peck of trouble, regardless of your OS. Backing up is always important, and the security of those backups is important. If you're backing up to a physical space at home and are not worried about the security in storage because you're confident in your physical security, you can make matters a little simpler. If not, or if you're backing up into the cloud, then you've got the same issue and have to safeguard the backups with encryption. For safeguarding a data backup, the simplest way, in my view, would be a tarball encrypted with GPG, which will not be platform sensitive. Just don't lose your private key; it will need to be properly safeguarded, too.
 
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Nice, glad it worked out for you. I was going to ask you how you felt about the reliability of the Acer Nitro. I need a new laptop. I'm considering one of these though as well. https://www.nzxt.com/bldnow
 

StevieC

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Aug 21, 2008
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ON, Canada eh?
I bought mine based on the review of a friend I worked with at a previous job and hers has been fine so I just got a dud. Super happy with it otherwise.
 
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