Safe browsing/downloading in a PC DAW - can two separate...

"… Can two separate “places” be “quarantined” from each other for safety? "

I didn’t use the words, “Separate Partitions”, or “Dual Boot”, because though I’ve looked them up I’m not sure I completely understand what they are, so didn’t want to confuse the issue …

But what I’m wondering is, in a new potential PC tower or laptop, is there a way to “quarantine” a general use area (email, downloads, browsing, etc.) from the DAW portion so that even if the worst case scenario happens and the general use partition is brought down by a virus/trojan/evil-thing-of-the-month, the DAW can still hum along like nothing has happened?

The reason I ask is that my main home computer is looking like it’s going to die soon, so I’m hoping maybe I can buy one computer and safely use it for DAW work AND general use.


Hey, thanks for that Steve.

My DAW is almost an internet virgin after 8 years, but my home computer, even older, gave me a BSOD the other day, so I figure it’s a sign it needs replaced. So, I was thinking about killing two birds with one stone, and combining a “civilian” computer with a DAW.

Don’t mind the hassle of a dual boot, if it saves me the price of one machine!

I’ll go look up dual boot …

Thanks -

How about running “general use” system in a virtual machine (like Sun’s VirtualBox)?

Thanks, Jarno! I have been looking at what I think is one of those, . It sounds reasonable, though I think the weak link is when one downloads files, as they have to be stored on the real machine.

I think W7 is very safe, if you :

  • don’t use Internet Explorer.
  • don’t install Java.
  • don’t use email client program and use something like Gmail. (don’t download local copies of e-mails)
  • use Firefox and block ads, popups, and redirection
  • check where the links are taking you in status bar before clicking every time.
  • don’t open attachments from guys you don’t know.
  • don’t download and install free software that would install some “extras”. (You can google and see if the installer may do something weird before downloading.)
  • read up on what’s updated in monthly windows updates, and install as necessary.
  • use legit software.
  • use page previews for Google search results before actually clicking on the links.

I have been using my W7 x64 PC just like I used to use my Macs in the past, and I really don’t see any reason to fear internet. I use 64bit Firefox Nightly as well - nobody would bother to exploit something with such a small user base. :laughing: I do have MS Security Essentials on my machine just in case, but I think Firefox and Gmail pretty much blocks anything bad from happening.

My DAW is connected 24/7. DPC latency @ idle hovers around 15-20 micro seconds on my machine. I’ve thought about dual booting my machine before I assembled it, but I really don’t see the need after 2 years of constant use.

If you really think it’s necessary, you might as well go Linux for the general use partition. W7 & W8 are said to be more secure than OS X, though, and I seriously doubt that you need to worry about viruses like on XP.

Even XP is very safe if you follow your suggestions.