Which to do 1st, Vista updates or security s/w?

  polymath 20:53 27 Oct 2008

I have a new(ish) desktop & laptop, both preinstalled with Vista Home Premium (probably needing all the updates, as I bought them last November). They've only been on the internet for 1 brief test dialup connection (as my phone line then got too bad to connect with their USB modem; I'm using the old 98SE machine for the internet).

After a year of false starts, the local wireless broadband scheme (from a mast) suddenly got me connected the other day. I saw it working in the laptop, then disconnected again immediately as I haven't yet got internet security sorted (I presume it's as necessary whatever kind of broadband?)
What sequence should I follow to be secure on broadband while getting security in place?

So far, I've just removed the preinstalled Norton Internet Security trials (ready to install preferred security software), and cleared some preinstalled clutter that might interfere (eg stuff from UK ISPs, not usable here in Ireland).

I think I've gathered (mostly from PC Advisor magazine & forums) all the info I need about the sequence & method of getting Vista updates including SP1, and about which 3rd-party anti-malware apps to go for. But from the security point of view (or any other reasons), does it matter which I do first?
I guess that at least I should have Windows Firewall on from the start, except if & when advised to turn it off during Windows updates/other security software installation?

The preinstalled Internet Explorer worked immediately with the BB test (not needing any online registration) so I can use it to start with (and activate Firefox etc online later).

I have some or all of the security apps on fairly recent PC Advisor disks, but of course some updates online will be needed.

The BB won't be left 'always on' here. The house is open-plan, and also attracts lightning, so I turn computer stuff off after each session and disconnect it (that'll include the broadband cable, as the receiver outside could be struck).

  polymath 21:01 27 Oct 2008

Forgot to say don't be offended if it takes me a while to respond (my phone line's more often dead than alive in this weather!)

  iscanut 21:06 27 Oct 2008

If you are behind a router, that will have a firewall to protect you. I would be inclined to get all the Microsoft updates downloaded and installed first then set up your Anti Virus and Spyware and software firewall if you want one.

  bluto1 21:24 27 Oct 2008

My first thought is security. Put that in place first then download and install updates. Better sure than sorry.

  bluto1 21:27 27 Oct 2008

I'm not sure about your statement regarding your firewall. You simply do not switch it off. You are defenceless if you do. (I hope I'm not showing too much paranoia)

  AL47 21:38 27 Oct 2008

first thing after i reformat, after drivers is security, ie, firewall, antivirus, get it off the web, updates come after sometimes way after, like days,

before my last format i had MS updates months old that just wouldnt load

  ventanas 21:52 27 Oct 2008

I frequently set up new installations, and never bother about security of any kind until Windows, .Net Framework, Office etc are all completely updated. I find it less prone to hold ups, and in any case XP SP3 always fouls up an installation in the AV we use (Eset) is installed first. I've never had any problem.

  polymath 20:01 28 Oct 2008

Thank you all for the helpful info!

I could get behind a router, having bought one with networking in mind. I haven't installed it yet, but gather I could use it to route the broadband through (and network the connection), independantly of networking the computers (I have info about networking, to do later). It's a Linksys Compact Wireless-G broadband router, compatible with Wireless-B (802.11b) and Wireless-G (802.11g); I expect I'll find out what that means as I go along). It has 4 network ports (apart from the 'cable/DSL' one), and I have Ethernet cables. (The new desktop & notebook are wireless-enabled, but I gather it's easier to do it wired first).

Any thoughts on the router's firewall versus Vista's? (apart from being able to protect the 98SE computer, if in the network, with the router one?)

I wasn't thinking of being online with the firewall off, unless something needs it temporarily disabled, eg Windows updates/reputable security apps. Perhaps they never do? I was remembering having to turn off antivirus for the occasional task. I've never had broadband access before, and this dialup's probably too slow for most modern malware to operate! (4.6 kbps sometimes).

It would seem more practical to do security app(s) first. AL47 reminded me of reading somewhere that Vista updates won't come all at once, and I'm keen to start using the web soonish!

Before the internet security's in place, I guess just a firewall is ok if I only visit the security app sites (and/or Microsoft)?

If Vista SP1 too can foul up existing antivirus apps (or if I haven't checked that by SP1 time), I suppose I could temporarily uninstall the antivirus just for the SP1 download/install (if I know it's coming, that is!). I think I'd rather have holdups than nagging uncertainty about security (in any case a friend's dialup connection, at about 33kbps, feels like broadband to me!)

Forgot to say, re lightning/power outs, that I do also connect all computer stuff through surge bars (including phone line/broadband-receiver power cable). But where I live it's inconvenient to have to replace things, eg a zapped surge bar.

  polymath 21:08 10 Nov 2008

Just reporting back, in case it helps anyone else with a propensity for jumping in at the deep end (like, from 98SE to new computer with 1st Vista ver. & no updates, + 1st broadband experience, + new security apps to install, all at the same time).

In practice, the answer in my case was "A mixture; it depends"!

I was going to do the security software first. Rather than trawl through the bewildering choice of security apps that will/won't get along together, I simply followed the suggestions in the Security section in December's PC Advisor.
I first tried to install AVG Free 8 (from the cover disk), but it halted because it needed a particular Vista update in place (KB929547) in order to avoid connection problems.
Not knowing if getting that would cause the wrong sequence of updates, I just let Automatic Updates download & install what it deemed suitable, which was about 60 of them (successful apart from 4 optional ones). The computer was then declared up-to-date. (No SP1, but I gather it'll come along sometime).
KB929547 wasn't among the updates (must be an optional one), so the next step is to get that one, then hopefully AVG will install smoothly, then SiteAdvisor etc (Ccleaner etc comes later; nothing to clean up after yet). It seems a good idea to then update/get the latest version of software & drivers (especially as it's nearly a year since buying the computers).

Thank you for your help!
I've had the firewall on all the time (apart from the offline AVG installing) but it would be just my luck to get a malware attack in the first moments of broadband connection (let's just say I would have good at finding bugs in software!). So I started the Windows updates offline, let it tell me I wasn't connected, then simultaneously plugged in the connection and hit the 'try again' button. I don't know if it makes any difference though.

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