Friday, June 23, 2006

Windows Replacement 
Been out of commission for most of this week thanks to a dead hard drive. Went back to my spare laptop - the one I had in Iraq - and am working and writing off that one. It was so riddled with viruses though it was barely functional. McAfee got rid of some of it, but there are some Spyware and other crap programs that even an updated McAfee couldn't get rid of. The computer was barely functional.

I finally gave up on Windows altogether and installed Mozilla's Firefox. Or Firefox's Mozilla. Whatever.

It's an easy install and an elegant looking interface. It seems to have imported my cookies and passwords and stuff from Windows no problem. I love the tab feature - I think it will save me a lot of time once I get used to using it, and I can't believe MSFT hasn't adopted something so obvious and convenient.

Not having the same crap popup windows or delays from the virus-infested Windows program either. Everything seems to display just fine. Only downside I see thus far is it seems to have a hard time with Hotmail and with embedded search programs in web pages sometimes. But that may be because I just haven't added the right plugins yet.

But overall, it's like having a new computer.

It would be nice if Microsoft were more serious about virus eradication - why should you have to rely on Norton or McAfee to do what Microsoft ought to be doing itself in order to preserve the integrity of its flagship product?

Further, I think it's time for some serious class action suits against the companies responsible for some of these malware programs. Seems like a better idea than setting off bombs in their lobbies.

Splash, out


IE 7.0 has the tab feature. You have to be running Windows XP Service Pack 2 to run the beta of 7.0. Its stable for a beta.
Glad to see that you discovered Firefox, Jason!
I'm a computer tech who's a big fan of your work.
If you need to recover stuff from your old hard drive, you might want to try www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk for repairs or www.knoppix.org for recovery.
For spyware removal...sometimes its quicker just to backup up your files and do a clean install of Windows. I've had good luck with www.spybot.info and running a combination of spyware and antivirus scans under safe mode in Windows. When you reboot, hit F8 on the keyboard just as the Windows splash screen shows itself and choose 'safe mode with networking'.
If you'd like further computer consulting, drop me an email at nameisnuh@hotmail.com
http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/6/d/56d20350-afc8-4051-a0df-677b28298912/MSRT - Progress Made Lessons Learned.pdf

Unfortunately when you have 90% of the market share you have a big target on your back so most exploits are written for that target. Windows Vista, Defender and this Live One Care MS are launching soon will address much of this. (I’m using beta version of several of these products and utilities now) UAC which is a system in Vista that will try and get people to stop running their machines as Admins will also clean up a lot of the problem. So the answer is they are working on it, they have taken too long, but they are working on it.

As to your situation if you have an extensive compromise of your system I'd reinstall Windows it is the only way to be sure that you get rid everything. And give IE 7 a try and Windows Defender a try if you do you may like the changes.
Jason -

I too, am a tech who works in law enforcement and also likes what you post. Keep up the good work.

I've also dropped using the MS outlook infavor of the Mozilla Thunderbird email program. It was as easy to install as Firefox.

Regards - Don in Michigan
Some good firefox extensions if you're just starting out:

AdBlock Plus: block specific ads, block ads by keywords, or block entire domains. You'll never have to see another advertisement again, if you don't want to.

Bug Me Not: bypasses website registration by automatically inputting a username and password from the Bugmenot.com collection.

IE View: if the page you're looking at doesn't work in firefox, this will let you open it in IE with just two clicks.
If your PC can boot from a CD...

Download DamnSmallLinux 50mb

Burn the iso CD

Reboot with the CD in your PC

dsl toram (min 128mb) & you can browse the

internet from linux using the ram of your

pc as a VERY fast disk drive...
I'm also taking a long look at Linux - Xandros for me. My system is still dual-booting between Windows and Xandros but the 4.0 version of Xandros may put me over the top to leave Windows behind. I'm tired of all the aggrevation!
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