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Old 03-31-2013, 08:00 PM   #16
taustin
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All good points. There are equivalents for many Windows programs, though (and some run on Windows and Linux), and you could dual-boot or run from a live CD or USB to try it out.

How difficult the switch would be largely depends on what programs you currently use, how you use them and how happy you are to using something equivalent. I suspect it's more work than the OP was expecting or wanting, though
Yeah, it all depends. For someone just surfing the web and checking their email, something like Unbuntu is pretty easy to figure out, and has a live CD to play with, without messing with the existing set up. There are equivalents to Microsoft Office, though none that is entirely compatible with it (despite claims to the contrary, I've never seen one that doesn't have at least a few issues with formatting, and few even try to run MS macros, which aren't all that uncommong for business stuff).
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:02 PM   #17
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Unless you want to, you know, run programs and stuff.
There are a lot of programs avaiable for Linux. The vast majority of them entirely free. And a lot of Windows programs will run just fine under WINE, which is pretty easy to set up from most of the desktop distros. And there's a Linux version of Steam now, IIRC, for some of the more popular games.

Linux still deserves its reputation for being expert tolerant, but nowhere near as much as it used to.
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:50 PM   #18
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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.)
Java has had a ton of security problems. Some have wondered if Oracle is trying to kill Java for some reason.
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:38 PM   #19
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thanks

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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.
Wow, taustin, thanks. I made a screen shot of your instructions and now will have a plan the next time something comes up. (I went to the link too--it does look easy.) In fact, it (a virus) already happened a couple of years ago, this faux av program kept coming up, asking for $ to let go. I didn't know what to do. (And I ended up taking the computer off-line and using it as a word processor.) Now I do. Thanks so much.
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I suspect it's more work than the OP was expecting or wanting, though
OP confirms your suspicion! lol (thanks)

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Java has had a ton of security problems. Some have wondered if Oracle is trying to kill Java for some reason.
Thanks Fluribus. I attached a screen shot of the Java I've got. When I get the Java updates my av always warns me (not a comfortable feeling) about Java, but Java says its stuff make the computer do all this wonderful stuff. What do you think? I can remove the program but I don't want to if it's going to cause problems (obviously) with the computer's functioning.
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:46 PM   #20
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Linux is (very, very closely) based on UNIX. As an old Bell Labs guy I love it!

I run Windows (reluctantly) on my desktop since there is one program I use that does not have a good Linux alternative -- Diamond Cut software for restoring and editing audio files.

My netbook runs Ubuntu, a Linux "distro" (distribution -- the underlying Linux is nearly identical among most major distros -- the user interface, desktop, etc. vary).

I don't have experience with Windows 7 or 8, but the Windows systems I'm familiar with will happily run anything that ends in .exe, .bat, or any one of many other file extensions without ever even mentioning it to the user. This is a little like a kid who happily runs up to every stranger he meets and asks for candy.

Linux doesn't need file extensions, and generally needs you to tell it to run something before it will run it. Even then, it won't even allow you to run something that will make system-wide changes without prompting you for the system password. That's the first hurdle a malware writer has to jump.

Next, different operating systems will use the same hardware very differently. A virus written for a computer running Windows cannot affect that same computer running Linux. So, malware writers would have to write twice as many viruses to cover the field. It's generally not worth it -- too many people and businesses are happy to run the computer they bought and never mess with the OS. (The big exception to this is for network servers, which make great distribution systems and where a significant percentage run Linux based Apache software. It's still pretty tough to do, though.)

When my daughter started using her computer for homework assignments, back when she was in 5th grade, I wiped Windows from an old desktop and installed Ubuntu. Sure enough, one of the sites she was directed to for a homework assignment ran an infected banner ad. She flew into a panic. The ad used Javascript to hijack her browser (Javascript on Linux runs anything that Javascript on Windows runs), and popped up a fake alert that she had malware installed and a fake virus scan. However, the real malware payload DID NOT INSTALL. She got panicky and asked me to help. I pointed out that Linux does not call it's hard drive C:, that she didn't have any of the Windows specific directories, dlls, etc. Closing the browser solved the problem. It worked fine when she opened the browser again.

To test-drive Linux get a Live CD or download. It will run the Operating System from RAM and it will not mount your hard drive, so you cannot affect anything there -- unless you choose to install. There are tons of very professional home and office software available, most free, including office suites, music and videos, Skype, etc.

I've attached screenshots of my daughter's fake attack. Her computer had no infection but some of her classmates, running Windows, got nailed.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:23 PM   #21
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I've got to find out more about Linux. Is it that much of a defense against viruses?
It's fair to say yes. It's partly because of the nature of Linux, partly because of the techie skills prevalent in the Linux user community, and partly because, with the possible exception of Calibre, all the software you need comes with the initial install. So you wouldn't run the risk of installing infected software.

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Is everybody using it?
On servers, a lot are. On desktops/laptops, Linux market share is under two percent:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_s...rating_systems

Why? Because there is a significant learning curve. I have a dual-boot system with OpenSUSE Linux and Windows 8. Windows 8 is easier to use. To get an idea what I mean, read the text here:

http://calibre-ebook.com/download_linux

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So just trust Microsoft Security Essentials to protect everything?
If I was a Microsoft lawyer, i'd be afraid to answer yes, because of the anti-trust implication. But since I don't work for Microsoft, the answer is yes.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:21 AM   #22
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Checking out Linux.
It's a big leap if you do decide to use it. Personally, I wouldn't suggest jumping ship for Linux unless you have a real life friend who's willing to help you out. They'll be able to help you install Linux as well as suggest great Linux applications to replace your old Windows applications. Once you're setup, everything should be fine.

Linux is worth it, but it is a hard jump to make in isolation.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:38 AM   #23
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It's a big leap if you do decide to use it. Personally, I wouldn't suggest jumping ship for Linux unless you have a real life friend who's willing to help you out. They'll be able to help you install Linux as well as suggest great Linux applications to replace your old Windows applications. Once you're setup, everything should be fine.

Linux is worth it, but it is a hard jump to make in isolation.
Seconded

Roughly ninety percent of the worlds computers run a Windows operating system
The remaining ten percent is shared between Apple and Linux

I fix computers for computer club members, hardware and software, in my humble opinion the OP would be better served in upgrading to Windows 8 while it's still available at a reasonable price

Microsoft Security Essentials is built-in, using Malwarebytes or SuperAntivirus as an adjunct for security and downloading programs through Ninite.com to ensure toolbar free and ad free downloading of programs the OP's computer should be close to bombproof !
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:41 AM   #24
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I've got Microsoft Security Essentials and the full scan takes three and a half hours. A MS tech once told me to download Malwarebytes scanner but to make sure to just run the scan and then dis-install the Malwarebytes. Does anybody know if the Malwarebytes scans faster? And I would need the "on-demand" version, right? And could I download that onto a flash drive and would that be sufficient so I wouldn't have to be dis-installing it every time I run a scan? And (last question I promise) if I get the on-demand one for a pen drive, do I want the "portable" version? And (okay, it was the second to last question) does anybody have a link for the exact Malwarebtes one that would fit my needs? Phew! Thanks!
necessary and sufficient is guide
Malwarebytes necessary on occasion
Malwarebytes not sufficient

use Bitdefender always
run Malwarebytes on occasion

always run full scan on downtime

Last edited by forsooth; 04-01-2013 at 03:44 AM.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:10 AM   #25
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Thanks Fluribus. I attached a screen shot of the Java I've got. When I get the Java updates my av always warns me (not a comfortable feeling) about Java, but Java says its stuff make the computer do all this wonderful stuff. What do you think? I can remove the program but I don't want to if it's going to cause problems (obviously) with the computer's functioning.
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.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:14 AM   #26
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It's a big leap if you do decide to use it. Personally, I wouldn't suggest jumping ship for Linux unless you have a real life friend who's willing to help you out. They'll be able to help you install Linux as well as suggest great Linux applications to replace your old Windows applications. Once you're setup, everything should be fine.

Linux is worth it, but it is a hard jump to make in isolation.
There might also be a local Linux Users Group. There's even a small chance they might view newbies as welcome new members of the community, instead of someone to feel superior to and make fun of. If they have a mailing list, you can get a good idea of the culture of the group withing having to deal with them in person, even.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:17 AM   #27
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Seconded

Roughly ninety percent of the worlds
Desktop.

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computers run a Windows operating system
The remaining ten percent is shared between Apple and Linux
Servers, it's more like 50/50, last I heard. Even lower (for Windows) if you consider appliance type devices (like home routers and access points) to be servers (which, technically, they are).

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I fix computers for computer club members, hardware and software, in my humble opinion the OP would be better served in upgrading to Windows 8 while it's still available at a reasonable price

Microsoft Security Essentials is built-in, using Malwarebytes or SuperAntivirus as an adjunct for security and downloading programs through Ninite.com to ensure toolbar free and ad free downloading of programs the OP's computer should be close to bombproof !
Note, however, that Windows 8 is a very different interface. More like a cell phone or tablet. Simple enough, but it takes some getting used to.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:36 AM   #28
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There might also be a local Linux Users Group. There's even a small chance they might view newbies as welcome new members of the community, instead of someone to feel superior to and make fun of. If they have a mailing list, you can get a good idea of the culture of the group withing having to deal with them in person, even.
I've seen very supportive Linux Users Groups, but would still recommend friends or family. A lot of Linux users are a bit zealous about their choice of operating system and that sometimes taints their perspective. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good reasons to use Linux. It's just that you should look to someone who is invested in you as a person, rather than you as a convert, when making the jump. Sometimes you'll need that extra energy. Sometimes they have to be willing to say, 'Linux isn't working for you, why don't you go back to Windows.'
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:55 AM   #29
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I've seen very supportive Linux Users Groups,
I'm sure they exist. I'm not sure how comon they are, compared to . . . the other kind.

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but would still recommend friends or family.
The question being, which is more likely to be available to a given person? You can choose your LUG, but you can't choose your relatives.

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A lot of Linux users are a bit zealous about their choice of operating system and that sometimes taints their perspective.
I was thinking about trying the local one here, so I signed up for their mailing list to check them out. About five minutes later, a holy flamewar erupted between several obvious long-time regulars. Not over what is the best OS, but over which was the best Linux distribution. And by flamewar, I mean just shy of death threats. I quietly unsubscribed.

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Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good reasons to use Linux.
There are. And there are a lot of good reasons not to, as well.

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It's just that you should look to someone who is invested in you as a person, rather than you as a convert, when making the jump. Sometimes you'll need that extra energy. Sometimes they have to be willing to say, 'Linux isn't working for you, why don't you go back to Windows.'
Ideally, sure. But if you don't have a relative who knows Linux, a LUG is something to think about.
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:47 PM   #30
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One other thing to keep in mind is the various frontends for Linux. KDE is arguably the most Windows-like and definitely the most resource consuming, with Gnome and xfce being more GEOS-like if you remember and liked it on the C64 and Apple II. LXDE is something of a fish-nor-fowl interface, being somewhere between Windows and GEOS.

And then there's Unity, which is being pushed by Canonical. I'm not a big fan; it still lacks what I'd consider basic features and feels like it was rushed into release early.
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