File sharing for Forumites.

Hi Guys,

Noticed a bit of discussion going on regarding the use of Kazaa etc to share files between forumites. Of course, as several of us would like to use this kind of facility for transfering spreadsheets and property research info ;) I thought I'd suggest a few other methods.

There are several application around the net that can be used for this purpose. Get into your favourite search engine and look up these:

Kazaa - (wouldn't use it, it's full of adware... The lite version isn't too bad on the ads although I find it often sharing out files that I don't want shared out.

EDonkey - No adware, easy to use interface, can be hard to get connections sometimes and the way downloading is done can be painful for large downloads.

WinMX - Much nicer, easy to use, fast downloads. Great for those mp3 spreadsheets ;)

If you'd like to share files amongst yourselves I suggest you get yourselves into the chat room, I'm on most nights and I'm sure us IT guys can show you how to send files direct through an IRC client.

If you're really serious I can help people out on how to set up their own ftp server for direct file transfers.

I prefer the last two methods as you don't have to share out files to the open internet for everyone to see.

Hope to see ya in the chat room!



If I catch anyone using any of this software without also having a recent version of some virus scanning software installed and operational with the latest virus updates applied, I will personally come around to your place and poke you in the eye.

I would also strongly recommend a personal firewall product as well.

Don't come crying to me if you get infected or hacked after using this file transfer type of software without adequate protection, and that includes transferring files via IRC !

You have been warned :p
/me would like to inform Sim that the latest versions of both Zone Alarm and Vet are installed...


asy :D

Can you recommend a good personal firewall and virus software? Is it better to buy a commercial product on CD in the store or are there good downloadable products?


PS I'm running Windows ME & IE5
Dear Mike,

Good firewall. Personally I use Winroute Pro and it is a great commercial product that I use on my LAN. You can get a free one month trial of it from kerio.

Alternatively the Zone Alarm that Asy uses also comes highly recommended and it is free.

After you install it make sure that you check it with "shields up" which tests whether your ports can be hacked for free.

Virus killers. The real thing with virus's is I am sure that most of them are written by virus killer companies to produce more business for themselves. However it is now a sad reality that we do need them. have a good free one but it does not provide permanent protection.

I currently run mcafee virus scan central. Would recommend that you check this out. But seriously checkout the subscription after the trial period ends to get continuous protection.

Personally although I think most Norton products are great, I was not impressed with Norton Antivirus. It always seems to find the virus's but had a lot of problems in trying to actually be able to remove them. McAfee did not have the same problems for me.

Hope this helps.




My home setup includes a NetGear RT314 NAT router for sharing my broadband connection between my multiple PCs - that is the first level of defence... not strictly necessary, but incredibly useful.

Be careful buying a broadband or dialup router which claims to be a "firewall" product. Many of them are not true firewalls - NAT (Network Address Translation) is NOT true firewalling - you need features such as stateful packet inspection.

All in one devices such as these are not necessarily the best solution for all your security needs - you need to protect your PCs as well - especially from things such as trojans which you may inadvertantly let into your system. Firewalls stop attacks from the outside - but most of them do nothing to stop trojans communicating from WITHIN your network to the outside world !

Which is why, I have the latest version of ZoneAlarm Pro on ALL my PCs, and Symantec Desktop Firewall on my work laptop.

If you have a LAN at home, I recommend you buy ZoneAlarm Pro rather than using the free ZoneAlarm, Pro works much better with LANs.

I concur with Sunstone's recommendation that you test your setup with Sheids Up from Gibson Research.

Finally, I use Norton Antivirus with autoupdates on my PCs and Norton Antivirus corporate edition on my work laptop.

Most virus scanners these days are pretty good. The key features that you MUST have are

1. regular virus updates
2. the ability to schedule the software to automatically check for updates and download them for you - this means you are always up to date
3. email scanning - this is probably the most important feature - especially if you use Outlook for email.

I'm quite aware of, and use, virus scanning software.

I'm OK on the IT stuff generally, but not up with the firewall biot.

Can you point at (or post, if applicable) something which would tell me why I would need a firewall on my home PC, and how it would be useful?

Sorry to be a pain- but I suspect the topic might be of use to other forumites.

Another forum might be overkill- unless it was a mods only posting warning.


Thanks, Asy, Sim & Sunstone for your help. This forum is great for off-topic Q&As. Thanks for including Coffee House as a forum, Sim.



Oops... didn't answer all of Mike's original question:

Norton products of course can be found in any good computer store.

For those of us in Australia, Harris Technology have the latest version (2003 - which I haven't tried yet) for $93 on discount at the moment - you can purchase that over the web, or go into one of their stores.

ZoneAlarm products are not available in stores... you can download (and purchase the Pro version) from

For some reviews of products and a testing utility, try Gibson Research's Leaktest at

Just be warned that Steve Gibson is a bit of a scare-monger with some topics, so take some of what he says with a grain of salt - get a second opinion. That being said, what he says generally has merit - especially in regards to computer security... so it's worth reading and paying attention to.

Another very good and balanced source of information and reviews is Scot Finnie's newsletters (which I subscribe to):


Originally posted by geoffw
Can you point at (or post, if applicable) something which would tell me why I would need a firewall on my home PC, and how it would be useful?

Sorry to be a pain- but I suspect the topic might be of use to other forumites.

Another forum might be overkill- unless it was a mods only posting warning.

No, as Mike said, this forum is perfect for this type of off topic discussion. If there is an issue which impacts on all forum users immediately, then I will post in the Announcements forum, but for general stuff like this - the Coffee Lounge is the place to be.

And you are right, it is a very useful topic, thanks for asking about it !

So, why would you need a firewall ? Go and read the following:

Gibson Research: spend some time browsing through the site - especially on the topics of LeakTest and ShieldsUp, they explain how these things work and why they are important.

Some VERY interesting reading can be found at:

which is Steve Gibson's account of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on his website and network. Quote: "Nothing more than the whim of a 13-year old hacker is required to knock any user, site, or server right off the Internet."

The point of the story for general users is not about how to protect yourself from DDoS attacks - generally you will never be the target of one. The point is that in order to facilitate these attacks, the attackers utilised hundreds of "innocent" PCs scattered all over the internet. They hacked or got a trojan onto those machines, which unwittingly became involved in a crime !

Note that you don't just have to be using broadband (Cable/ADSL) to be vulnerable... people on dialup links are just as vulnerable and your machine can be used as a launchpad for access to other machines - all without you knowing it.

Steve Gibson has more information at , which describes another DDoS attack which hit them. Well worth the read.
To sum up Sim's prevous post, a firewall is one of the tools which helps to prevent hackers gaining unauthorised access to your machine.

I can recommend ZoneAlarm Pro. It's well worth paying for and you can get it bundled with other software for search and destory missons on spyware etc.


Right on PT_Bear.

Of course, being the pedant I am, I would go one step further...

A firewall is one of the tools which helps to prevent hackers gaining unauthorised access to your machine, and a good firewall is one of the tools which also helps to prevent trojans from compromising your machine from the inside.

Dear Guys,

Have found a worthwhile free site that improves the performance of your computer and is a bit of a computer doctor. Very reliable and I have used it for the last nine months or so.



How useful is Ghost or Go Back? Is it worthwhile using these as well as firewall protection?