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Old 04-01-2013, 08:40 PM   #31
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Jave has been very insecure lately. Lots of updates, and lots of zero day exploits. Nothing in Windows will break if you uninstal it, but some web pages use it (and won't work without it). The good news is, if you discover you do need it, really need it, it's easy to reinstall, and generally, IIRC, you'll have a link for the web page you need it for.
There are also a few programs that use Java. The only one that I ever had was OpenOffice. When I stopped using that, I stopped using Java. Last that I saw LibreOffice was phasing out the use of Java and could mostly be run without it.

Just to add a thought about Linux, I've tried it on a couple of occasions and have always run into problems. Maybe my hardware doesn't like Linux. The last time I tried 64-bit Ubuntu. It looked great at first. Started stuttering and freezing. Ended up refusing to boot. I was running it from a USB stick.

I'm not computer illiterate but still found the installation procedure for Ubuntu to be annoying and overly difficult. The installation of Ubuntu gave me a number of options but never explained their significance.

"You didn't make a home partition. Would you like to continue without one?" It never said what a home partition was. I had to go back to the partition screen and create the partition myself.

I, unfortunately, have far too many physical problems to be heaping a bunch of digital problems on top of them. I've got an old laptop in storage somewhere. If I could find it, then I would try putting Linux onto that since I wouldn't care if it burned up (metaphorically speaking).
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:57 PM   #32
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There are also a few programs that use Java.
It is safe to use Java in programs like OpenOffice and LibreOffice since the programs themselves are trusted and you aren't retrieving untrusted code over the Internet. The problem lies with the web browser plugin, since that can retrieve Java code from untrusted sources. (Incidentally, most people could get away with running OpenOffice without having Java installed.)

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I'm not computer illiterate but still found the installation procedure for Ubuntu to be annoying and overly difficult. The installation of Ubuntu gave me a number of options but never explained their significance.
I actually find that statement curious since Ubuntu has one of the easiest installation processes around, especially when compared to older versions of Windows (e.g. XP). I'm also fairly certain that Ubuntu's default installation didn't use a separate partition for /home.
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:35 PM   #33
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I read all these posts and just want to thank everybody for the great information and wise counsel. Right now Linux is beyond what I'm looking to take on, but I'm sure if I keep hanging around you guys, one of these days I might give it a shot. Thanks again.
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Old 04-02-2013, 12:22 AM   #34
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There are also a few programs that use Java. The only one that I ever had was OpenOffice. When I stopped using that, I stopped using Java. Last that I saw LibreOffice was phasing out the use of Java and could mostly be run without it.
Mostly isn't really good enough. Mostly.

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Just to add a thought about Linux, I've tried it on a couple of occasions and have always run into problems. Maybe my hardware doesn't like Linux.
I've messed with the desktop versions (and Red Hat, waaaaayyyyy back), but never got it to do anything I really cared about. Server distros, on the other hand, are another matter. Been using a firewall distro for years, including command line stuff (and that included some custom iptables stuff). Currently testing a Samba domain server running on Ubuntu server, more or less successfully so far.

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The last time I tried 64-bit Ubuntu. It looked great at first. Started stuttering and freezing. Ended up refusing to boot. I was running it from a USB stick.

I'm not computer illiterate but still found the installation procedure for Ubuntu to be annoying and overly difficult. The installation of Ubuntu gave me a number of options but never explained their significance.

"You didn't make a home partition. Would you like to continue without one?" It never said what a home partition was. I had to go back to the partition screen and create the partition myself.
Just out of curiosity, how long ago was that? Because the defaults on installing the server version are for a completely automated install, other than stuff that can't be defaulted (like user name and password, and machine name). You have to actively avoid those defaults to do stuff manually.

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I, unfortunately, have far too many physical problems to be heaping a bunch of digital problems on top of them. I've got an old laptop in storage somewhere. If I could find it, then I would try putting Linux onto that since I wouldn't care if it burned up (metaphorically speaking).
Linux generally works pretty well on older hardware, up to a point. The firewall distro I use will allegedly still install on a 486, I think. Certainly a Pentium I. So long as you don't start installing memory intensive add-ons.
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Old 04-02-2013, 12:27 AM   #35
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I actually find that statement curious since Ubuntu has one of the easiest installation processes around, especially when compared to older versions of Windows (e.g. XP).
Depends on exactly what install disk you're using. The OEM disks are usually dirt simple. At most, you have to install drivers from a second disk. But even retail versions, so long as you have the drivers for hardware newer than the install disk, I don't get why people have so much trouble. The only issues I've ever had, from 98 on, was when I don't have a driver handy for a (built-in) network card. And that can be solved by throwing in a second card long enough to download drivers for the first one. Once you're online, all the world is at your fingertips, provided your hardware isn't so old that nobod ever bothered to write drivers for newer versions of Windows.
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:58 PM   #36
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Just out of curiosity, how long ago was that? Because the defaults on installing the server version are for a completely automated install, other than stuff that can't be defaulted (like user name and password, and machine name). You have to actively avoid those defaults to do stuff manually.
Sometime last year. I downloaded it from the Ubuntu site. Used the recommended program to put it on the stick. It had me make a partition. Asked me what file system I wanted to use. When I tried to move to the next phase I got the warning that I hadn't made a home partition. I was surprised at the lack of defaults or suggested settings since it's reported to be the EZLinux.

Once installed, everything worked. Video. Audio. Internet. Then it started stuttering and ended up refusing to boot. I put the poor thing out of my misery and wiped the stick.
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:57 PM   #37
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Depends on exactly what install disk you're using. The OEM disks are usually dirt simple. At most, you have to install drivers from a second disk. But even retail versions, so long as you have the drivers for hardware newer than the install disk, I don't get why people have so much trouble. The only issues I've ever had, from 98 on, was when I don't have a driver handy for a (built-in) network card. And that can be solved by throwing in a second card long enough to download drivers for the first one. Once you're online, all the world is at your fingertips, provided your hardware isn't so old that nobod ever bothered to write drivers for newer versions of Windows.
With something like Ubuntu, you install the operating system and your computer is usually ready to go: there are no additional drivers to install and the basic applications are there. If you want additional software, there's a nice package manager to show you what's available. The package manager also does it's job in a consistent manner and with minimal interaction. Even Windows 8 is nowhere near as simple, never mind Windows XP and earlier. Recent versions of Mac OS X are better in most respects, but most users will still find themselves tracking down software that's not in the Mac App Store.

Now I understand that things aren't always that simple in Ubuntu-land, but Canonical does a good job of making it that simple for most users.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:30 AM   #38
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With something like Ubuntu, you install the operating system and your computer is usually ready to go: there are no additional drivers to install and the basic applications are there.
Only if your install disk is newer than your hardware. If the hardware is newer, they probably won't be drivers that the installer can identify. It might be able to find them online (assuming, of course, it's not the network card drivers that are missing).

Mind you, unless you're using an old install disk, they do seem to keep things very up to date.

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If you want additional software, there's a nice package manager to show you what's available. The package manager also does it's job in a consistent manner and with minimal interaction.
It's been years since I messed with a desktop distro. But even in Ubuntu server, apt-get from the command line is prety simple. Usually. If you understand what you're trying to install. (Kerberos confused the hell out of me for a while.)

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Even Windows 8 is nowhere near as simple, never mind Windows XP and earlier.
Again, it depends on the disk you're using. I've been doing Win7 upgrades from XP lately, on Dell hardware that is a few years old. So far, there's been, I think, one computer that I had to go to Dell's web site to get a driver for, out of several dozen installs. And that's not with Dell install disks, that's with the OEM disk from Microsoft. How much simpler can it get than "boot to the install disk, put in a couple of pieces if information, and come back in half an hour and it's ready to use"? Because, in all seriousness, that's my experience. The Win8 beta I played with was exactly the same. I haven't yet had my Ubuntu install disk put itself in to the CD drive, nor read my mind from several feet away for that I wanted to use for machine name, user name, password, and so on. Maybe that's a feature of the desktop version? (Yes, I'm being snarky, but seriously, unless you've got hardware newer than the install disk, on either OS, it's pretty automated.)

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Recent versions of Mac OS X are better in most respects, but most users will still find themselves tracking down software that's not in the Mac App Store.

Now I understand that things aren't always that simple in Ubuntu-land, but Canonical does a good job of making it that simple for most users.
The one spot that Windows is easier, for the average person, than Windows, is when the installer can't find, or install, a hardware driver. If it's available, a Windows installer will be a .exe or .msi file you download from somebody's web site, and run like any other program with (probably poorly written) instructions on-screen and (more often than not) correct defaults. Just keep hitting Next, and odds are, you'll get it installed. That has not been my experience with manually installing hardware drivers in Linux of any flavor. Mind you, I haven't had to do so in years, though, as they do keep the installers current on drivers.
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:56 AM   #39
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You don't have to click on a link to get a virus. Banner ads can install viruses and stuff without you actually doing anything.
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Most of the drive-by are what's called "zero day exploits," which is to say, a brand new security hold that isn't in the AV definition files yet. You'll know if you get one, because stuff will be popping up on the screen, usually claiming to be anti-virus programs. A full scan probably won't detect it at that point. But an immediate system restore will usually get rid of it. Then do a full scan, and do another in a few days.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306084 should show you how to do a system restore. It can take while, but it's simple. Just be sure you pick a restore point earlier than the infection.
I got one of these just yesterday, just by going to a page from a Google link. The popup was from AVASoft Pro--extremely annoying, because it blocks any executable file. I hadn't clicked on the popup at all--I had tried to close the browser, though. I got rid of it by downloading Malwarebytes on another computer and running it on the infected computer from a flash drive.
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:02 AM   #40
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Checking out Linux. Thanks



Thanks cromag for the good explanation. What's "rarely" for those full scans though?



Good to know. Thanks.



thanks taustin. Good to know about the quick scan being good enough most of the time. So, the quick scan should identify the drive-by web viruses. Then do a system restore (which I don't know how to do--lol). Then a full scan?


Thanks. I've got to find out more about Linux. Is it that much of a defense against viruses? Is everybody using it?


What does Java have to do with it? (I have it because it gives me these updates. I have no idea if I need it or not.) (And I'm getting a scary totem pole.)


So just trust Microsoft Security Essentials to protect everything?
A good firewall.

The biggest security problem is the user.
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:35 AM   #41
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I got one of these just yesterday, just by going to a page from a Google link. The popup was from AVASoft Pro
Or so it claimed.

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--extremely annoying, because it blocks any executable file. I hadn't clicked on the popup at all--I had tried to close the browser, though. I got rid of it by downloading Malwarebytes on another computer and running it on the infected computer from a flash drive.
In many cases, you can boot to safe mode, or even to a different user account, to get in to System Restore. Though one that blocks exes is rather more serious than most drive-bys. It certainly doesn't hurt to have some kind of live CD or bootable flash drive with AV software on it, though. I do recall one, though, that by the time the AV software got rid of it, it has borked the network stack, and nothing short of a full formate and reinstall would fix it.
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:49 AM   #42
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Only if your install disk is newer than your hardware.
Agreed, a lot of it does depend upon the disk. Yet a lot of it also depends upon licensing. Linux distributions can afford to include virtually all of the available drivers and applications because the dominant licensing schemes permit it. Microsoft cannot do so unless they have the rights to do so, which means negotiating with third parties or sticking to the standards. The competitive nature of the commercial marketplace also creates headaches. Microsoft is not going to ship Windows with LibreOffice because it competes with their own office suite. Microsoft probably wouldn't get away with shipping Windows with their own office suite because it would be deemed as anti-competitive.

This spills over into other areas too. As an example: while Ubuntu ships with LibreOffice, they don't have any issues with including competing office suites in their package manager. Stuff like that makes Linux distributions a lot easier to use and maintain because the end user has control rather than the vendor.

Windows itself though is awfully temperamental. You mentioned things like having the right disk, which is often hard to come by because of copyright and licensing issues. Historically you could update your disk by slipstreaming, which was beyond the average user. Thankfully it looks like Windows 8 has started to address that issue by applying updates to USB installation media. Inconsistent installation processes are likely addressed by Microsoft's Store, yet that's nowhere near as comprehensive as Apple's Mac App Store (never mind the package manager of large Linux distributions).

I think the best way to summarize the difference between Linux and Windows in this respect is that Windows is uniformly difficult. With a decent Linux distribution, things are either super easy or super hard. That is to say, a Linux distribution that does what you need of it out of the box is significantly easier to deal with than Windows. The problems pop up when you ask it to do something out of the box, at which point things will become incomprehensible to most users. Whether you fall inside or outside of the box depends upon the needs of the user and the hardware that they own. Someone who does almost everything through a web browser, uses standard productivity and creativity applications, as well as well supported peripherals is not going to run into many problems with a distribution like Ubuntu. Someone who needs to use a particular application, wants access to bleeding edge features, or buys lots of poorly supported hardware is going to feel like gouging their brain out with a toothpick if they try any Linux distribution.
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:00 PM   #43
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Agreed, a lot of it does depend upon the disk. Yet a lot of it also depends upon licensing. Linux distributions can afford to include virtually all of the available drivers and applications because the dominant licensing schemes permit it. Microsoft cannot do so unless they have the rights to do so, which means negotiating with third parties or sticking to the standards. The competitive nature of the commercial marketplace also creates headaches. Microsoft is not going to ship Windows with LibreOffice because it competes with their own office suite. Microsoft probably wouldn't get away with shipping Windows with their own office suite because it would be deemed as anti-competitive.
I was talking about hardware drivers, not applications.

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Windows itself though is awfully temperamental.

I think the best way to summarize the difference between Linux and Windows in this respect is that Windows is uniformly difficult.
That is the exact opposite of my experience.
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:35 PM   #44
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In many cases, you can boot to safe mode, or even to a different user account, to get in to System Restore. Though one that blocks exes is rather more serious than most drive-bys. It certainly doesn't hurt to have some kind of live CD or bootable flash drive with AV software on it, though. I do recall one, though, that by the time the AV software got rid of it, it has borked the network stack, and nothing short of a full formate and reinstall would fix it.
I never even thought of System Restore. Don't know if I could have gotten to it.

I had the same sort of problem a few years back--the fake antivirus was calling itself by a different name though--and eventually I was able to use Malwarebytes to get rid of it. So this time I immediately went to Malwarebytes.
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:47 PM   #45
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hmm
You are still running Windows XP??
Windows 7 is more secure.
Don't use Internet Explorer. Try Chrome, much better, more secure.
--
For a really secure computing experience.
Try using your windows OS in a virtual machine, and reset the OS regularly, using snapshots of your OS. Partition the drive to have a persistent D drive for DATA C drive for Apps and OS.
Good luck!
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