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Make Windows 2000 More Secure, Free Antivirus, Free Antispyware, And More

While support for Windows 2000 ended over a year ago, there are a few people still using it, or running it in a virtual environment for compatibility reasons.  This being the case lets look at some ways to make Windows 2000 more secure and safe for those users still rocking a 12-year-old operating system.

First, Update Windows!  Yes this sounds like a no-brainer, but did you know you can use Microsoft Update (which updates all Microsoft products) instead of just Windows Update, you can check it out at http://www.update.microsoft.com/microsoftupdate/

Second, use a different internet browser, you can read my post here on that

Third, update the components used by internet Browsers,  You can download the current version of Java at www.java.com Get the current version of Silverlight at www.silverlight.net The last version of Adobe Reader that is compatible with 2000 can be obtained at http://get.adobe.com/reader/ (make sure once it is installed to open up the program and click on Help and Update, this will get all the updates for the program)  Finally you can download the newest version of Flash for both Internet Explorer and for Firefox and Opera, go to http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/otherversions/  For step one select Windows 7/Vista/XP/2008/2003 and for step two select for Windows Internet Explorer, for Internet Explorer, and then do this again from Firefox or Opera but for step two select Windows – Other Browsers (if you have both Opera and Firefox installed you only have to install Flash for Other Browsers once, it will install the plugin for both browsers)

Fourth, how about Antivirus and Anti-spyware software.  There are a few things still out there for the die-hard Windows 2000 user.

Antivirus software is key if you are going to be surfing the internet in Windows 2000, you really want full Antivirus protection, Thankfully there are a few choices.

AVG Free Antivirus 9 While the newest version does not support 2000, Version 9 does, and AVG still releases updates to the program making this a great AV software for 2000, especially if you do not want to spend the money on software for a virtual installation of the operating system.  You can download a version of AVG 9 Free from http://www.oldapps.com/AVG_antivirus.php?app=f86fd982885094416ab9f08ca1bda07f

AVG 9 Free in Windows 2000

AVG 9 Free in Windows 2000

Now AVG is the only free offering out there for Win 2K but if you would rather pay some money and get better protection Eset Nod32 Antivirus 4 does support Windows 2000 and does it well. I suggest just the Antivirus, but they do have an Internet Security solution as well.  You can check it out below, and they often have deals running.
ESET Smart Security - Save 25%

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Pro is also another option, they have expanded their product to include Antivirus, I am not sure how well this will work but Ad-Aware has been a good tool in the past.  I know there is a Free version, however the Free one does not have real-time protection making that not a very good option. The Pro version is $29.95 for a year and you can check it out at http://www.lavasoft.com/products/ad_aware_pro.php

Now if you are wanting something Free with real-time protection but that is not going to be as much as a strain on system resources as a full-fledged antivirus solution,  Spybot – Search and Destroy fits the bill.  It is just anti-spyware, but does have some Immunization features to help block unwanted content and supports Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera.  It is at version 1.6.2 and you can check it out at http://www.safer-networking.org/en/ownmirrors1/index.html

Spybot 1.6.2 in Windows 2000

Spybot 1.6.2 in Windows 2000

Now if you would just like the immunization protection from Spybot, but do not want the extra overhead of a program, I would suggest SpywareBlaster.  It has immunization options for Internet Explorer and Firefox, and supports Netscape (sorry no Opera support)  The free version you have to manually update but hey its free.  What is great is not having to have to program run, in fact the only time you open the program is to update it and to set the protection.  You can download SpywareBlaster 4.4 from http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html

SpywareBlaster 4.4 in Windows 2000

SpywareBlaster 4.4 in Windows 2000

Finally no talk about security would be complete without talking about a good Temp File and Registry Cleaner.  I always suggest CCleaner for the job.  Supports all the browsers available for Windows 2000, and has a great registry cleaner to help keep the machine running at its best.  You can check it out at http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download

CCleaner in Windows 2000

CCleaner in Windows 2000

All of this should help to keep you better protected whether your running Windows 2000 on your desktop or just in a virtual environment.  I do suggest looking into some protection, even when using virtual machines security is important.

Part 7, The Best Internet Browser for Windows 7 64-Bit

I have used Windows 7 64-bit for a while now and while I was still a little hesitant at first from leaving the land of Win32, I found myself quite impressed with what I think is the best 64-bit operating system ever.  That being said is Internet Explorer still the best in this version of Windows.  Also in 2011 there are many great Browser choices out there now, many that people are familiar with, and from different operating systems as well.  So let’s dive in and see what is good, and not so good.

1 .Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0.1 (9.0.8112.16421 64-Bit Edition)  Microsoft really outdid themselves with this one.  This is not the IE of the past, yes IE7 and IE8 were great improvements and brought many new features to Internet Explorer, but IE9 really shines.  It is fast, quick, and very standards compliant.  The new user interface is clean but still keeps a lot of usefulness in it.  Also, a few feature is being able to pin a website to the Task Bar in Windows 7 which is like putting a shortcut to the website there so you can launch it anytime, but be able to keep a different homepage for normal browsing.  Currently, there is only a preview version of Adobe Flash for 64-bit which you can download from here, but hey Apple would say that Flash is not that important.  I have to give IE9 the number one spot in Windows 7. You can download Internet Explorer 9 from here at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/internet-explorer/downloads/ie-9/worldwide-languages

Showing information about Pinned Sites

Internet Explorer 9 in Windows 7 64-Bit

2. Firefox 4.0.1  We have been waiting for a new version of Firefox for a while now, and it is here.  Like Internet Explorer is has a new less cluttered user interface.  Also, it now has an orange Firefox button up at the top left.  Clicking on this brings up a Start Menu-like menu with commands and options.  The user interface feels like a combination of Opera and Chrome.  What makes Firefox useful in Windows 7 is its integration with the new features in the Operating System.  Firefox 4 supports both Jump Lists and Tab Previews (however Tab Previews has to be enabled in the options)  This makes Firefox a great alternative browser in Windows 7.   Firefox 4 is fast and very standards compliant.  If you have moved from Firefox to Chrome, I may suggest you look at Firefox again and see if it doesn’t win you back.  You can download Firefox 4 here at  www.firefox.com

Firefox 4 in Windows 7 64-Bit

Firefox 4 in Windows 7 64-Bit

3. Google Chrome 12.0.742.100 Google has taken a dud of a browser and turned it into something that competes. In fact, its user interface is what has inspired other browsers to clean their interfaces up.   The sad thing is that despite it being on its 12th revision it is not more mature than it is.  The only reason this is not my number two browser for Windows 7 is that it does not support Tab Previews in Windows 7 making it not as useful since I use that feature a lot. (Come on Google, Get this done in an update)  It does, however, support Jump Lists.  Every release it does get better and better, one of the newer features that is interesting is Instant, which tries to guess what page you are typing in the address bar and starts loading it before you are done typing.  (this is not enabled by default and you will have to enable it, but it is impressive) It is fast and standards compliant making it a great contender.  If you are not using Internet Explorer or Firefox, then you really should be using Chrome, if not take a look because it will surprise you.  You can get Chrome from here at http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/make/download.html?brand=CHKZ

Chrome 12 in Windows 7 64-bit

Chrome 12 in Windows 7 64-bit

4. Opera 11.11 (Build 2109)  When talking about Internet Browsers, there are not many that have been around as long as Internet Explorer and Opera.  Opera 11 builds on an interesting browsing platform.  While many Netscape fans have moved to Firefox because of the relationship between those two browsers, many Netscape fans feel more at home with Opera.  It still tries to be more than just an internet browser and I would suggest any old Netscape users out there to check Opera out if you find yourself missing the old rival to Internet Explorer.  Opera supports both Jump Lists and Tab Previews in Windows 7 and has its own Tab Preview like feature, if you mouse over a tab that is not being displayed, a preview of that tab will show up below the tab (pictured below).  Opera is pretty quick and is standards compliant as well.  The interface features a red O button in the upper left side of the window. Clicking on this brings up a master menu of commands and options.  Opera actually had this button before Firefox implemented their own.  If you want a browser that is different then I suggest checking out Opera 11, wich you can do so here at http://www.opera.com/browser/

Opera 11 in Windows 7 64-bit

Opera 11 in Windows 7 64-bit

5. Apple Safari 5.0.5 (7533.21.1)  Apple has always done things differently, and Safari is no exception.  Originally designed as part of the Apple Mac OS X operating system, they have created a Windows version and have improved it over the years.  It uses most of the standard Windows interface which will make Windows users feel at home .  It does support Tab Previews in Windows 7 but not Jump Lists. (Come on Apple this is useful)  Safari supports multiple tabs however for some reason Apple hides this in the user interface.  To open a new tab you must click on the file button on the right side and on the menu that pops up click on New Tab.  While Apple’s website will say that this is the fastest browser in the world it is actually quite slow in Windows 7 compared to other browsers.  It is standards compliant however and does have some interesting features like Top Sites and Safari Reader (which is supposed to unclutter a webpage making it easier to read the information on it)  If you would like to check it out you can get it from here at http://www.apple.com/safari/download/

Safari 5 in Windows 7 64-bit

Safari 5 in Windows 7 64-bit

6. KDE Konqueror 4.5.4  I have not written about this Browser in Windows before but there is now a Windows version.  Konqueror was originally made for the Linux operating system.  Linux has been at the center of the open source community since its inception and some would say it created the open source world as we know it.  That being said a group has decided to create a port of the KDE software from Linux for other operating systems, including Windows.  The Windows version is a bit of Windows, and a bit of the KDE user interface from Linux.  It is not as fast as any of the other browsers tested, and is not as compliant with current web standards as the other internet browsers.  I also have not found out how to get it to work with Flash or Java on a Windows machine yet.  But like most things out of the Linux and open source communities, it is a work in progress.  It does do multiple tabs, but you have to click on File and then New Tab.  It does not work with either Jump Lists or Tab Previews in Windows 7 at this time.   It is interesting, and can only be installed with the KDE software installer, (no standalone installer at this point)  You can check it out as well as a bunch of other free software here at http://windows.kde.org/download.php

Konqueror 4.5 on Windows 7 64-bit

Konqueror 4.5 on Windows 7 64-bit

As the internet changes, the programs we use to view it change as well.  It is interesting now with the all the options including some from the Linux world.  We will have to see what companies and organizations come out with next to help us do our day-to-day tasks.

If you were wondering how I test these browsers, I use my trusty Acer Aspire 5534-1146 Laptop.  It has an AMD Athlon X2 L310 1.2 Ghz Processor and 4 Gb of ram.  I am running Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit on here.  All updates have been applied to Windows and all internet browsers, and I am using the latest versions of Flash, Adobe Reader, Silverlight, and Java.  All temporary internet files and caches have been cleared with the use of Ccleaner (www.ccleaner.com) and from the programs themselves so all pages are loaded from the internet and not from local cache.  For standards testing, I am using Acid3 at www.acid3.acidtests.org.  I load up everyday web pages that people use and that I use in every browser and time how long it takes from hitting enter till the page has completed loading.

Check out Part 6 for Windows XP

Part 4 The Best Internet Browser for Windows Vista

Windows Vista was given a bad rap because of the release candidates and because of some software and hardware no longer worked with it.  Vista has matured a lot from its 2006 release and now after Service Pack 2 is a nice operating system to use.   It is not as good as Windows 7 I will admit but it’s not that bad either.

As with every Windows version starting with some releases of Windows 95, Internet Explorer has been included with Windows, but is it really the best to use, I will look at the five major browsers and see which one works the best in my opinion. For a look at the 64-bit version click here.  This time, I am doing these tests on my Compaq Presario C700 (C712NR) laptop with a 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 Gb of ram, and a 7200 RPM hard drive.  This computer is running Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit.  All updates have been run for Windows, the internet browsers, Java, and Flash. All tests are run uncashed.

1. Internet Explorer 8.0.6001.18828  If you have passed on the newest Internet Explorer, well it’s time to look again.  This is not the Internet Explorer from Window past, nor is it the one that shipped with Vista.  IE 8 is fast a loading normal web pages but is not as fast when it comes to Java or Flash.  This will be improved in IE 9 however, for now, all we have is 8.  But 8 is nice, I love the new features like the Web Slices pictured below.  These give you a quick glance from Ebay auctions to the weather in your area.  There are is also new visual search and accelerators.  IE is my main browser for a lot of things, and my daily browsing.  You should check it out at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=79154fb4-c610-4a1e-811d-dfe0f1dd84d1&displaylang=en

Internet Explorer 8 in Windows Vista

Internet Explorer 8 in Windows Vista

2.  Firefox 3.5.5 Firefox is not the fastest program to open but it renders pages faster than IE.  I use Firefox for work because of the built-in spell check which I wish IE had.  Firefox also supports a wide variety of plugins.  The interface is dated and cluttered but it still does a good job, I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out in version 3.6.  you can check it out at http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/ie.html?from=getfirefox

Firefox 3.5 in Windows Vista

Firefox 3.5 in Windows Vista

3.  Opera 10.01  This browser has come a long way, Version 9 was just not that great but 10 is fast and slick.  The user interface is very good at staying out of your way.  I like the thumbnail previews on the tabs.  It also has a most used page like other browsers called Speed Dial.  It is actually a good alternative browser if you’re looking for something other than the leaders IE and Firefox or want something different from the hyped up ones like Safari and Chrome.  You can get it at http://www.opera.com/

Opera 10.01 in Windows Vista

Opera 10.01 in Windows Vista

4.  Chrome 3.0  The newest version of Google Chrome is actually better than version 2.  It sure beats Safari in all but one thing, the user interface leaves much to be desired.  I prefer Safari’s user interface however Safari is a dog compared to Chrome, still does not have anything for me to want to switch and it is made by a company that makes money off advertising.  You can check it out at http://www.google.com/chrome?hl=en&brand=CHMI

Chrome 3 in Windows Vista

Chrome 3 in Windows Vista

5. Safari 4.0.4 Looks better than any version before it, they have finally use the Windows interface instead of porting the ugly grey Mac interface.  Safari 4 looks better than Chrome too, however, it is not as fast, the top sites take some time to load and the browser itself does not load web pages very quickly.  We will have to see what Apple does with Safari 5.  You can get it at http://www.apple.com/safari/download/

Safari 4 in Windows Vista

Safari 4 in Windows Vista

What will be interesting to see is how the browser makes will react to Windows 7, with the jump lists and such.  IE, Firefox, and Opera already are working on some things.  IE 8 is the only one that uses the jump lists to their fullest in Windows 7.

Go back to Part 3 for Windows 2000

Go to Part 5 for Windows 7 32Bit

The Best Internet Browser for Windows 2000

It is hard to say what the best internet browser for Windows 2000 is because of its age so let’s be clear here, if you are still using Windows 2000, you need to at least upgrade to Windows XP.  Windows 2000 is over 14 years old and is just not up to the day-to-day modern internet browsing.  That being said there are still people using it and there are still a few things you can do to make your time browsing the internet in 2000 more enjoyable and secure.

The last version of Internet Explorer released for Windows 2000 was IE 6 Service Pack 1. It is not updated anymore at all and has not been updated with new features to make browsing the internet easier and more secure.  Internet Explorer 6 was first released in 2001 and was no longer supported on July 13, 2010. Now Windows 2000 came with IE 5.5 and I do not suggest you keep that on your system.  Update to IE 6 SP1 and install all the updates for it, however, I do not suggest using it for daily browsing as Internet Explorer is not the best internet browser for Windows 2000.

As far as current major browsers that support Windows 2000 there is only one, Opera.  So which browsers are the best for Windows 2000 and are some of the lesser known browsers maybe a good choice in this case.

I will be running Windows 2000 in a virtual machine within Oracle VirtualBox.  It will be running on Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit.  I also have the latest versions of Flash, Java, and Silverlight that support Windows 2000 and you can read about how to get those and how to secure Windows 2000 better.

1. Opera 12.o2, being that this is the only major browser that still supports Windows 2000 it already is far ahead but it also supports major internet standards and supports plug-ins.  Opera in a way is like Netscape in that is supports other functions like e-mail and torrents. I also like its Tab Preview which just gives it a nice touch.  You can get it at  www.opera.com

Opera 12 in Windows 2000

Opera 12 in Windows 2000

2. QupZilla 1.3.5 is not very well-known but is a big help in Windows 2000.  It is a Webkit based browser like Google Chrome or Apple Safari and it is still being developed and updated.  This means it will get security updates and new features as time goes on.  QupZilla is pretty good at being compliment with web standards and it also has a tab preview which I just find to be a great feature, especially when you have multiple tabs open.  You can check it out at www.qupzilla.com

QupZilla 1.3.5 in Windows 2000

QupZilla 1.3.5 in Windows 2000

3. Firefox 12 is the last version of Firefox that works in Windows 2000.  I really suggest you use one of the two browsers above before using Firefox as it will no longer be getting any security updates.  Again use this browser with caution.  It is still very web standard compliant so it will not have an issue displaying today’s websites but as time goes on it will not be a good option.  You can download this version at http://www.oldversion.com/download-Mozilla-Firefox-12.0.html

Firefox 12 in Windows 2000

Firefox 12 in Windows 2000

4. FlashPeak SlimBrowser 6.01 Build 076 is a great option is you have websites that only work in Internet Explorer.  FlashPeak SlimBrowser uses the same rendering engine as Internet Explorer, however, it uses the one already installed on your computer so while FlashPeak SlimBrowser has a lot of great features like Facebook integration and tabbed browsing it will not load any websites any better than Internet Explorer.  FlashPeak SlimBrowser is being developed and updated so it will be safer to use than Internet Explorer and if you have to use it I suggest you give FlashPeak SlimBrowser a try.  I also like the weather update in the Status Bar.  You can check it out at http://www.slimbrowser.net/en/

FlashPeak SlimBrowser 6.01 in Windows 2000

FlashPeak SlimBrowser 6.01 in Windows 2000

5. Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1 (6.0.2800.1106)  Microsoft does not support this and does not have the modern security that Opera and QupZilla have.  Also, is does not display some pages properly and is slower than the others.  The user interface looks dated and old.  I would not suggest using this for your daily browsing, however, is you are still running an older version update to IE 6 SP1, it will help protect  you a little better and allow other Windows programs to get access to web features better.  You can get it at  http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=1e1550cb-5e5d-48f5-b02b-20b602228de6&DisplayLang=en

Internet Explorer 6 in Windows 2000

Internet Explorer 6 in Windows 2000

6. Amaya 11.4.4 is not a browser for everyday use.  This is made by the World Wide Web Consortium or the W3C, who decides what is and is not HTML.  Now this browser is really more for web developers as it really digs into a website to display many components.  It is pretty cool but it does not run any scripts so it is not good for everyday web browsing.  Check it out at http://www.w3.org/Amaya/

Amaya 11.4.4 on Windows 2000

Amaya 11.4.4 on Windows 2000

It is a good thing that Opera and QubZilla have paid attention to the fact that Windows 2000 is still being used to this day.  Windows 2000 is past its prime and I do suggest updating to at least Windows XP as soon as you can, remember all support ended for 2000 on July 13, 2010, and that includes IE 6 SP1.  I will write more articles about Windows 2000, (Like Making Windows 2000 more secure with Free Anti-virus) (And installing Windows 2000 in Windows Virtual PC) As I can see some people still use it.

Also, check out the Best Internet Browser for Windows XP

And check out the Best Internet Browser for Windows Introduction

The Best Internet Browser for Windows Vista 64-Bit

I want to take another look at the best internet browser for Windows Vista 64-bit as I wrote this article shortly after starting Useful Windows.  Let’s just say a lot has changed between now and then.  Windows Vista helped to make 64-bit computing a household name and today almost every computer comes with a 64-bit version of Windows.  Since then Vista has been replaced twice, so let’s look at the best internet browser for Windows Vista 64-bit.

1. Opera 19, Opera has come a long way and the latest version is very fast.  They moved from the Presto engine to Webkit (like Google Chrome and Apple Safari) and have done a nice job making Oprea one of my favorite web browsers.  If you are starting to question if Google is watching your browsing habits then check out Opera.

Opera 19 on Windows Vista 64-bit

Opera 19 on Windows Vista 64-bit

2. Google Chrome 32, While Google has been put under scrutiny recently, I have to admit that on Windows Vista Google Chrome is very fast and works great.  I am not always happy with some of the updates that Google pushes out but it is updated very often.  You can not look at web browsers for Windows Vista and not take a look at Chrome.

Google Chrome 32 on Windows Vista 64-bit

Google Chrome 32 on Windows Vista 64-bit

3. Mozilla Firefox 26, Firefox dared to challenge the dominant player years ago and has never stopped.  The current version is still just fantastic and if the other two browsers are not your thing then you need to consider Firefox.

Mozilla Firefox 26 on Windows Vista 64-bit

Mozilla Firefox 26 on Windows Vista 64-bit

4. Internet Explorer 9 64-bit, While Internet Explorer 9 has been a great improvement over earlier versions it is not as standards compliant as the newer versions available in Windows 7 and 8.X.  That being said it is still a great option for Windows Vista as most sites work fine in it.  For the sake of security, even if you do not use Internet Explorer you need to keep it updated since it is part of Vista.  I suggest you download Internet Explorer today.

Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Vista 64-bit

Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Vista 64-bit

5. KDE Konqueror 4.10, Konqueror will be familiar to many Linux users.  It does not have a standalone installer but is part of the KDE software, however, you can choose to just install the base apps.  While the new version of Konqueror is better than versions past I think all the other browsers listed above do a better job.  Still, if you want to check out the KDE on Windows Initiative.

KDE Konqueror 4.10 on Windows Vista 64-bit

KDE Konqueror 4.10 on Windows Vista 64-bit

There are still great options for Windows Vista and I think you will find the best internet browser for Windows Vista 64-bit that works for you.  I also want to thank my friend Ed W. who let me use his computer running Windows Vista 64-bit years ago when I first wrote this article, I am glad to have the resources today to write these articles but I am even more glad for friends like him.

Check out the best internet browser for Windows Vista 32-bit

If you are still using it, check out the best internet browser for Windows XP Professional X64 Edition

Looking to upgrade, check out the best internet browser for Windows 7