Leaving Dell Dimension 8300 running 24/7 ...?

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Thomas G. Marshall, Feb 12, 2005.

  1. (XP SP1 / Dim 8300 / 3.0 GHz / 800 MHz FSB / 512 meg / bla bla...)

    I seem to be getting a virus here and there found by NAV2003 that makes its
    way in through the auto-protect. In this case I got a couple of circa 2003
    Trojan.ByteVerifies. Don't know how the heck such a simple file can land on
    my system, particularly since it's such a well understood virus.

    I am considering leaving the system on 24/7 and establishing a daily viral
    sweep.

    Questions:

    1. Is the 8300 cooled enough or otherwise built for staying on? I'll of
    course use power options to shutdown unnecessary things and brown down
    perhaps the motherboard or something. I'll have to learn more about
    this---I'm half ignorant on all things power control except for hibernation.

    2. Am I leaving myself open statistically to more infection simply by
    staying on? I'm running SP1's firewall. SP2 is not an option currently
    because of software incompatibilities.

    3. Any thoughts on what I might have to worry about, in general and/or
    specifically to the 8300?

    Thanks!
     
    Thomas G. Marshall, Feb 12, 2005
    #1
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  2. Thomas G. Marshall

    Colin Wilson Guest

    2. Am I leaving myself open statistically to more infection simply by
    Quite possibly - how are you connected to the net ?

    If you`re on broadband, i`d *strongly* recommend a router, as it will
    stop port scans or other attacks from getting through to your machine by
    dropping the packets if your machine hadn`t actively requested them.
     
    Colin Wilson, Feb 12, 2005
    #2
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  3. Thomas G. Marshall

    Ted Zieglar Guest

    I can count on one hand the number of times over the last 2.5 years that I
    have turned my computer off. I have cable broadband. I take all the proper
    precautions, which is why I have never been infected by a virus or spyware.
    I don't have a hardware router - yet - but I agree that it's a good thing to
    have. Not absolutely necessary, but it's another layer of protection, and
    there's nothing wrong about that.

    Ted Zieglar
     
    Ted Zieglar, Feb 12, 2005
    #3
  4. Thomas G. Marshall

    kurt wismer Guest

    it lands on your system through your browser... you visited a website
    that had it and i the process of loading the page the file was saved to
    disk in your jvm's cache...

    being on your system doesn't necessarily make your system compromised,
    however... you need a vulnerable jvm for that to happen...
     
    kurt wismer, Feb 12, 2005
    #4
  5. Thomas G. Marshall

    Roger Wilco Guest

    "Thomas G. Marshall"
    I well understand that it is not a virus. It is, as stated, a "trojan".
    It is an exploit trojan (if your Java is up to date - no worries) that
    gets downloaded as a result of normal browsing (to evidently
    untrustworthy sites).
     
    Roger Wilco, Feb 12, 2005
    #5
  6. Thomas G. Marshall

    User N Guest

    If the machine is operating properly, free of cooling obstructions
    (dust/lint), and operated in a room that is within environmental
    requirements, it should be fine.
    There are alot of net discussions regarding the pros/cons of leaving on
    vs turning off. A google web and/or groups search (keywords: leave
    computer on turn off) would be worth performing.
    Assuming your computer remains connected to the/a net and is responding
    to network traffic and executing software, probably. For you're being
    exposed to [potentially] hostile traffic for longer periods of time, you won't
    be in a position to observe unusual behavior, etc. However, if your box
    is properly secured and you promptly respond to new threats, the increased
    risk would seem to be minimal.
    Well, promptly applying security updates to your OS and applications is
    rule #1 in my book. If you haven't already, investigate those issues and
    see whether you can make said software work with SP2 (without turning
    off SP2 security features). In some cases, a firewall exception will do the
    trick, in others, adding a "mark of the web" to local javascript and/or
    Active-X utilizing html files will do the trick, etc.
    Whether you keep your system on 24hrs/day or 2hrs/day, the same
    safe computing practices apply. If you aren't well schooled in such
    matters, do some googling/reading and brush up.

    BTW, Microsoft's Baseline Security Analyzer can be a usefull tool:

    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/tools/mbsahome.mspx

    Its MS newsgroup is: microsoft.public.security.baseline_analyzer
     
    User N, Feb 12, 2005
    #6
  7. Thomas G. Marshall

    Ben Myers Guest

    1. You might try the free download of Zone Alarm. 1000% better than Windows
    XP's flimsy ten-cent excuse for a firewall, even the SP2 firewall.

    2. I agree with the notion that a router provides added protection.

    3. A software firewall plus a router improves protection, but it is still not
    perfect. Worth doing, though.

    4. A computer powered down or physically detached from the internet is
    impervious to any intrusion from the outside yet designed.

    5. As a matter of course, we power down all computers before going to bed, or
    when we do not expect to use them for a number of hours.

    6. The debate about leaving a computer powered up 24/7 or powered down when not
    in use centers around wear-and-tear. Those who prefer to leave a computer up
    24/7 point to the wear-and-tear on system electronics due to the zero-to-60
    effect of a sudden surge of current after a total absence of power. Those who
    prefer to power down a computer point to the wear-and-tear of the bearings on
    rotating motors, notably fans and the hard drives. For me, the hard drive AND
    its contents are the most important part of my system, even with regular
    backups. I can always replace a blown power supply, motherboard, CD-ROM drive,
    memory, or ANY other part of a computer. But I cannot replace the data. So I
    am in the power-it-down camp... Ben Myers
     
    Ben Myers, Feb 12, 2005
    #7
  8. Thomas G. Marshall

    Molly Guest

    I would also suggest free Ad-aware SE, and SpyBot.
     
    Molly, Feb 12, 2005
    #8
  9. Thomas G. Marshall

    steve Guest

    For many, many years I worked for a company with thousands of
    computers ranging from PCs up to high performance multi-processor
    systems. The admin systems were switched off every night. The
    development systems were left on all the time. The systems that were
    never switched off had a much lower failure rate than the ones that
    were switched off and on daily. The failure rate of hard drives was
    also greatest in the systems that were switched off every day.

    So I'm in the leave it switched on camp.
     
    steve, Feb 13, 2005
    #9
  10. Thomas G. Marshall

    Conor Guest

    1) Yes.
    2) No. But you'd benefit from using Sygate Personal Firewall or
    ZoneAlarm.
     
    Conor, Feb 13, 2005
    #10
  11. Thomas G. Marshall

    Hank Arnold Guest

    1. The system is perfectly suited for staying on 24/7. Whether it's better
    to keep it on vs. powering it off is an ongoing (decades, now) debate with
    no clear winner... Do what is best for your situation.

    2) Short answer is "Yes". However, reality these days is that it can take
    as little as 15-20 minutes (or less) for an unprotected system, on the
    internet to become infected with some kind of malware.... Having the
    firewall from SP1 is, I guess, better than nothing. But not by much. To
    protect your system you should, at a minimum:
    - Install a software firewall (a real one).
    - Install Spyware detection programs. Several of them.

    I'd also recommend you get a hardware router for the additional protection.
     
    Hank Arnold, Feb 13, 2005
    #11
  12. Roger Wilco coughed up:

    Ok. As an aside though, I no longer go through the effort to
    conversationally differentiate between the various bad thangs, so long as I
    identify any particular one by it's proper NAV or McAV or KAV name.

    "Virus", right or wrong, has conversationally become an umbrella term.

    *Thanks* though. Your (and Kurt Wismer's) point underscores the point that
    this trojan is not as harmful as I might otherwise have thought.
     
    Thomas G. Marshall, Feb 13, 2005
    #12
  13. User N coughed up:
    Fair enough. Is this advice specific to the 8300 though? Some machines are
    not configured for internal air travel properly. Some of the earlier
    dimensions (my IT guy pointed out once) were known for not bringing enough
    air by the default HD bay, and memory. Apparently in the memory case, it
    was because the CPU heat sink was upstream. {shrug}.


    Always do---good advice. Doesn't replace a usenet discussion (nor should
    it). Virtual *talking* with you all is by far the most informative.

    ....[rip]...

    Perfect! Thanks for that!
     
    Thomas G. Marshall, Feb 13, 2005
    #13
  14. coughed up:
    Clarification: You say "much lower" failure rate. Is this accurate, or
    would you say it is more like "lower", sans the superlative?

    BTW, your empirical evidence like this is incredibly useful--- *thanks* !
     
    Thomas G. Marshall, Feb 13, 2005
    #14
  15. Thomas G. Marshall

    Roger Wilco Guest

    IIRC the maximum wear on the harddrive is during spinup and warmup.
    Less, not more, wear occurs if left running.

    ....but that's for another group.
     
    Roger Wilco, Feb 13, 2005
    #15
  16. Thomas G. Marshall

    Roger Wilco Guest

    Yes, the "zero to sixty" applies to motors and bearings as well as many
    electronic parts. Your anectdotal evidence backs this up.
     
    Roger Wilco, Feb 13, 2005
    #16
  17. Thomas G. Marshall

    Roger Wilco Guest

    Almost a contradiction of terms - unless you are talking about something
    like this
    http://www.smoothwall.org/

    A "real" firewall is a separate device and not an application running on
    the "protected" machine.
     
    Roger Wilco, Feb 13, 2005
    #17
  18. Thomas G. Marshall

    steve Guest

    Yes, it was "much lower". Computers that were left on 24 * 7 hardly
    ever failed.
     
    steve, Feb 13, 2005
    #18
  19. Thomas G. Marshall

    w_tom Guest

    Whether the heatsink was first or last in-line makes little
    difference - means only single digit degrees. Case air flow
    is mostly hyped by those who first did not learn the numbers.
    Numbers that must come from the theory AND be confirmed by
    experimentation. These are requirements as taught in junior
    high school science.

    Serious complication in airflow that causes heat problems is
    dead space. Most every component is cooled sufficiently by an
    air flow so little that your hand cannot detect it. The
    difference between that airflow and dead space is a massive
    increase in component temperature. Too often without first
    learning these basics, then some will demand "More Fans". One
    80 mm fan of Std CFM is more than sufficient airflow through a
    chassis.

    But what makes it sufficient? That one fan is sufficient
    when room temperature is 100 degrees F. If you computer is
    crashing due to heat, the solution is not more fans or where a
    heatsink is located. Solution to hardware failure is heating
    that component with a hairdryer on high to find and remove the
    100% defective hardware. Heat is not a problem in a chassic
    with one 80 mm fan. And heat is a diagnostic tool to locate
    defective components.

    Again, with only one 80 mm fan, that system should operate
    just fine in a 100 degree F room. Why more fans for a system
    in a 70 degree room? Junk science reasoning.

    The IT guy's conclusion was correct ... as long as we don't
    apply numbers. Apply numbers. Those few degrees of
    temperature increase makes no difference. IOW without
    numbers, then junk science conclusions are easily assumed.
    Defined is the benchmark between myth purveyors verses those
    from the world of reality. One who cannot provide the numbers
    is most often from the junk science world. A few degrees
    temperature difference means virtually nothing to heatsink
    cooling - where tens of degrees are being discussed, and where
    critically necessary air flow is so gentle as to not be
    detectable by a human hand.
     
    w_tom, Feb 13, 2005
    #19
  20. Thomas G. Marshall

    w_tom Guest

    We would demonstrate this 24/7 solution as a myth and
    demonstrate why they jumped to erroneous conclusions. Let's
    take fans as example. Why does a fan fail? Power on surge?
    Myth. Unless the person has performed a forensic analysis,
    then he is only wildly speculating that power on caused the
    failure. One we learned underlying facts, then the '24/7 to
    perverse life expectancy' myth was exposed.

    Again, that fan. What causes it to fail. Hours of
    operation caused bearing wear, dust buildup, and so called
    'power cycling' damage. What is that 'power cycling'? Number
    of times circuits turn off and on. IOW the fan that runs
    constant is exposed to far more power cycles because it power
    cycles so often only when on.

    They ran the machines 24/7. Then when the machines were
    powered off, those machines did not start. That proves that
    turning machines off causes failure? Wrong. Failure from
    excessive wear most often appears on startup. And when do
    fans with too many hours most often fail? When powered on.
    Therefore technicians *assumed* startup was destructive rather
    than first learn *why* the failure occurred. Failures due to
    power up were repeatedly traced to 'hours of operation'.
    Excessive wear due to leaving a machine always on was being
    misrepresented by technicians who did not first learn the
    facts. They did not first discover why failure happens; then
    jumped to wild conclusions.

    Why did that fan not start? Bearing was so worn from 24/7
    operation as to not start after one power off.

    We know routinely that power cycling has minimal adverse
    affect on electronics and their mechanical devices (ie fans).
    Manufacturers also say same in their detailed spec sheets.
    That's two sources - real world experience AND manufacturer
    data. Some devices do have power cycling limits. That means
    they fail 15 and 39 years later if power cycled 7 times every
    day. Who cares after 15 years.

    Best one does for computer life expectancy is to turn system
    off (or put it to sleep or hibernate it) when done. The 'turn
    it off' myth comes from those who only see when a failure
    happens and failed to learn why it happens. Without
    underlying facts, those who advocate 'leave it on' demonstrate
    why statistics without sufficient underlying facts causes
    lies.

    The most wear and tear on computers is clearly during
    excessive hours of operation. That even includes 'wear and
    tear' inside the CPU. CPU is constantly power cycling only
    when running.

    Power cycling can create failure. And then we apply
    numbers. Power cycling seven times every day should cause
    component failure in a soon as 15 years. They are correct
    about the destructive nature of power cycling until the
    numbers are applied. After 15 years, who cares?
    Furthermore, start up problems are often created by damage
    from too many hours of operation. This made obvious once we
    dug into technicians claims - and exposed facts they never
    first learned.
     
    w_tom, Feb 13, 2005
    #20
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