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Windows whine OTD

2009-05-28 13:53:18.759537+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

Argh. Charlene and I are involved in the COTS Family Connection program. One of the agreements of the program is that we can give time and advice, but no money or goods.

Yesterday I was asked to look at our family's computer. The first hint that things were likely to be very very wrong was that I saw Limewire on the computer. It's got a couple of extortionware systems, I can manually configure the network interface to work, but that doesn't do anything for IE which is still trying to dial out or set up a VPN or do anything but use the TCP/IP interface which is working from the command line. Something's replaced C:\Windows\regedit.exe with an app that claims that my administrator has denied access to the registry. It's a bad scene.

Can't get to http://housecall.trendmicro.com/ from it. I'm sure the original disks are long lost to history. The "no money or goods" rule kind of precludes me from just going and buying some sort of software to bail this system out, and I'm not even sure that such software exists.

I'm still pondering whether to undertake the educational process of putting Ubuntu on the computer and making it usable for them again.

[ related topics: Microsoft ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-05-28 15:28:09.046872+00 by: Larry Burton

What do they use the computer to accomplish? And would Ubuntu be considered "goods"?

I find Ubuntu with KDE to not be that much different from using Windows. If these folks aren't that sophisticated of computer users to begin with I doubt there would be much retraining involved.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-05-28 15:43:16.8236+00 by: Jack William Bell [edit history]

My suggestion? Go ahead and install Ubuntu. That will result in their getting a friend to re-install a bootleg of Windows, letting you off the hook for doing that or fixing their self-borked install. Three to six months later their computer will be in the same state it is now, but you won't get the blame.

At least that is my experience in such things...

#Comment Re: made: 2009-05-28 15:52:33.088399+00 by: ebradway

That machine is toast. You may be able to pick up some of the pieces with UBCD for Windows. At the very least, it should let you copy data off to a USB drive without fear of corrupting the destination drive. Of course, building a UBCD for Windows disk is a bit of an exercise. I can give you an ISO later today.

Next step is extracting the Windows License Key to use with some other media (unless the box still has a license key sticker). Wipe the drive. Install whatever Windows version you need from scratch using the original license key.

Of course, this may be more effort than you were wanting to put in. Probably the worst part is hunting down a Windows install CD that matches the license key. Microsoft has released maybe 100 different WinXP installs that all use different keygens.

Doing Windows tech involves having a big binder full of CDs - UBCD4Win on top - followed by a dozen or so flavors of WinXP, Vista, etc.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-05-29 02:11:17.696395+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Install Ubuntu. Arrange some icons on the desktop for common apps. Install VLC and all the Ryhthembox dirty encoders and such.. Install Miro.

Make sure OpenOffice can print, etc..

Then: Tell them it's a secret hacker geek operating system and you really should not give them such a powerful thing. Ssssshhhhh....

Install Nexuiz if you think it is apropos. :)

#Comment Re: made: 2009-05-29 13:41:06.052556+00 by: andylyke [edit history]

Another vote for Ubuntu. Unless they're using some 3rd pty software that requires Windows, I (not a very computer savvy person) find ubuntu running KDE to be responsive and easily understood by anyone who can use MS Windows. (except at this precise moment, when I'm trying to load U on an old laptop.)

Karen, who's even less computer savvy than I, strongly prefers Oo to MS Office as well.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-05-29 19:48:50.49731+00 by: meuon

re: Oo to MS-Office. Office/Word/Excel 2007 is radically different from previous version. No big deal to newbies, but old school power users seem to be preferring Oo.

The sad part is, they buy MS Office 2007 one way or the other, "just because". So MS still gets the money.