Amusing andecdote - good for a laugh


K

Kevin

As I read the innumerable posts regarding loss of product ID's, product
CD's, mysterious virus infections, forgotten passwords, SP2 calamities and
other tales of woe, I can't help but chuckle quietly as I jump from one
desperate post to the next. I've been working with computers for a while
and I'm not even close to being as knowledgeable as some of the old-timers
here like Carey Frisch, Bruce Chambers and Larry Samuels. I help out my
friends and some private clients with their computing problems on a casual
basis.

A friend called and said he had an office worker who was having problems
with her home computer and asked if I could take a look and see if I could
help her out. I said sure, and she called me and we arranged a time for me
to come over to her place and check out the machine.

It was a brand new Dell Dimension 8400, the box was sitting in her hall.
She had cable internet service, professionally installed. She told me to
sit down and see what I could do to fix it. I hit the power button and
nothing. I hit it again and still nothing. I asked her if this was the
problem and she laughed saying that it turns on just fine, kneeled down on
the floor by the desk and flipped the power switch on a multi-plug surge
protector. The computer, printer, scanner, monitor, cable modem, web camera
and speakers all fired up at once! I must have looked amazed because she
asked if there was anything wrong.

Over the din of the machinery coming to life I explained that a power strip
was not the way to start up your system or its peripherals. When I returned
my attention to the monitor, I could see that I was in for some real
trouble. The poor thing was finding new hardware left and right and trying
to install everything in the book. It crashed, of course. I asked her if
this was the problem she was having and she said no, it usually started a
couple of times before she could get on the internet.

After I disconnected everything but the monitor, modem, mouse and keyboard,
I started the system up. A few of the "hardware not found" popups later, I
got to the desktop. It appeared to be normal (thankfully) with the usual
Dell stuff littered about. I found the Internet Explorer icon and hit it to
connect to the internet and see what was going to happen. At this point,
she pointed to the screen and said to watch closely. As IE came up, so did
the first of what would turn out to be over a dozen popups. Everything from
the usual pornography to plain, blank windows. Then the RPC shutdown, of
course!

She jabbed her finger at the countdown box and said that this was the main
problem, she could only stay connected for a minute at a time. This seemed
to annoy her to no end as it meant she could only surf to sites that would
load in under a minute and only get one email at a time! What kind of
internet was it that would only let you on for a minute at a time? It was
difficult to stifle my laughter at this point. I got the countdown stopped
and made a quick recon of her system.

No anti-virus enabled, even though Dell had shipped the unit with McAfee.
No anti-spyware software. No firewall enabled. In fact, no security
measures of any kind. I asked her if she knew about the built in Windows
firewall and she said yes. She didn't know that it had to be enabled to
work. When I asked her if she had turned on the McAfee anti-virus suite she
said she didn't know that it had to be enabled to work, either. I asked her
if the technician who installed her cable modem had mentioned any of this
stuff during his visit. She said yes, he had said that Windows XP can take
care of all of that for her, not to worry.

I grabbed my utilities CD, containing copies of Ad-aware, Pest Patrol,
Spybot Search and Destroy and Spyware Blaster. I installed all of them, ran
the updates, then browsed over to get her a copy of AVG Anti-Virus and Zone
Alarm. With a cable modem connection, AVG and Zone Alarm were downloaded in
just a few minutes. While I waited for the serial number to come down from
AVG, I installed Zone Alarm, the free version, and started scanning her
system.

At this point, it was just a matter of sitting through the scans and
allowing the applications to find and delete the incredible number of files
that had installed themselves. After about an hour and a half, her system
was clean. I had to do a Google search for the Blaster.exe fix because I
couldn't remember where I had found it myself. McAfee had identified it,
but couldn't delete it for some reason. She was delighted. I explained
what I had done and what she had to do to keep her system from getting
infected again. She wondered if some of those emails she had been getting
had something to do with her system problems.

I remember thinking to myself that this had to be a bad dream. She had only
been able to see a part of her email so she had only opened a few of them.
When she explained that she did not know who these people were, but wanted
to see what they were emailing her about, I had to laugh. I couldn't help
it. I told her not to do that again, only to open mail from people you know
and are expecting to hear from. As I explained each of these problems I
encountered to her it was obvious that she wasn't stupid, she was getting
the point, it was just that no one had ever bothered to help her. All the
information was making sense to her, now that she was getting exposed to it.

Once I had made sure that her machine was truly clear and clean I showed her
how to use the Windows Update feature as I had to leave for other business.
Of course, it was a huge list, the machine being new and the version of XP a
few months behind the updates. She understood that some updates would
require a reboot and she felt she could handle it. She was extremely happy
that someone would take the time to help her.

On my way out, I pointed to the pile of paperwork and CD's on the coffee
table and told her not to lose anything. She laughed and said that she got
the message, loud and clear. My work here was done.

So, people, listen up! The point of this is you have to get the knowledge
you need to operate your computer properly. Save all the paperwork that
came with your system. Save all the CD's and any packaging they were in.
Install, update, and configure a firewall, anti-virus software and
anti-malware applications. Save your receipts! Save and read the
installation instructions for your computer and anything else you connect to
it. Register your system so you can take advantage of the makers warranty,
and do take advantage, you paid for it! But, most of all, ask questions.
This is what these newsgroups are all about. Thanks to all the old-timers
for all the help! Happy computing.
 
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L

Larry Samuels

Hi Kevin,

If you managed to make it through all that, successfully cleaned the
machine, and did not crack up in the process--you are indeed a professional
even if you don't admit it <G>

Thanks for a great post illustrating why it is important to keep up with all
materials, and the absolute necessity of keeping the PC updated and
protected.

--
Larry Samuels MS-MVP (Windows-Shell/User)
Associate Expert
Expert Zone -
Unofficial FAQ for Windows Server 2003 at
http://pelos.us/SERVER.htm
 
N

noitnsnotme

I would be amusing except that 10 yrs ago you did not
need to know any of this, five years you did not need to
know most of this and two years ago it was not a 10th as
bad as it is now. Something has got to be done about
people putting things on peoples computers without there
ok or you are going to see less and less new user of
computers.
Most unlike a few of us have not used computers for years
and buy one thinging it will work like a tv. I am sure
that computer companies will realize the problems new
user are having and along with the companies that make
the software like ad-aware and others will start having
it installed when they get it. To think a company like
dell would still being shipping pc without a firwall
installed and working along with antivirus is amusing.
 
R

Rod

What a lovely story heheh :)
-----Original Message-----
As I read the innumerable posts regarding loss of product ID's, product
CD's, mysterious virus infections, forgotten passwords, SP2 calamities and
other tales of woe, I can't help but chuckle quietly as I jump from one
desperate post to the next. I've been working with computers for a while
and I'm not even close to being as knowledgeable as some of the old-timers
here like Carey Frisch, Bruce Chambers and Larry Samuels. I help out my
friends and some private clients with their computing problems on a casual
basis.

A friend called and said he had an office worker who was having problems
with her home computer and asked if I could take a look and see if I could
help her out. I said sure, and she called me and we arranged a time for me
to come over to her place and check out the machine.

It was a brand new Dell Dimension 8400, the box was sitting in her hall.
She had cable internet service, professionally installed. She told me to
sit down and see what I could do to fix it. I hit the power button and
nothing. I hit it again and still nothing. I asked her if this was the
problem and she laughed saying that it turns on just fine, kneeled down on
the floor by the desk and flipped the power switch on a multi-plug surge
protector. The computer, printer, scanner, monitor, cable modem, web camera
and speakers all fired up at once! I must have looked amazed because she
asked if there was anything wrong.

Over the din of the machinery coming to life I explained that a power strip
was not the way to start up your system or its peripherals. When I returned
my attention to the monitor, I could see that I was in for some real
trouble. The poor thing was finding new hardware left and right and trying
to install everything in the book. It crashed, of course. I asked her if
this was the problem she was having and she said no, it usually started a
couple of times before she could get on the internet.

After I disconnected everything but the monitor, modem, mouse and keyboard,
I started the system up. A few of the "hardware not found" popups later, I
got to the desktop. It appeared to be normal (thankfully) with the usual
Dell stuff littered about. I found the Internet Explorer icon and hit it to
connect to the internet and see what was going to happen. At this point,
she pointed to the screen and said to watch closely. As IE came up, so did
the first of what would turn out to be over a dozen popups. Everything from
the usual pornography to plain, blank windows. Then the RPC shutdown, of
course!

She jabbed her finger at the countdown box and said that this was the main
problem, she could only stay connected for a minute at a time. This seemed
to annoy her to no end as it meant she could only surf to sites that would
load in under a minute and only get one email at a time! What kind of
internet was it that would only let you on for a minute at a time? It was
difficult to stifle my laughter at this point. I got the countdown stopped
and made a quick recon of her system.

No anti-virus enabled, even though Dell had shipped the unit with McAfee.
No anti-spyware software. No firewall enabled. In fact, no security
measures of any kind. I asked her if she knew about the built in Windows
firewall and she said yes. She didn't know that it had to be enabled to
work. When I asked her if she had turned on the McAfee anti-virus suite she
said she didn't know that it had to be enabled to work, either. I asked her
if the technician who installed her cable modem had mentioned any of this
stuff during his visit. She said yes, he had said that Windows XP can take
care of all of that for her, not to worry.

I grabbed my utilities CD, containing copies of Ad- aware, Pest Patrol,
Spybot Search and Destroy and Spyware Blaster. I installed all of them, ran
the updates, then browsed over to get her a copy of AVG Anti-Virus and Zone
Alarm. With a cable modem connection, AVG and Zone Alarm were downloaded in
just a few minutes. While I waited for the serial number to come down from
AVG, I installed Zone Alarm, the free version, and started scanning her
system.

At this point, it was just a matter of sitting through the scans and
allowing the applications to find and delete the incredible number of files
that had installed themselves. After about an hour and a half, her system
was clean. I had to do a Google search for the Blaster.exe fix because I
couldn't remember where I had found it myself. McAfee had identified it,
but couldn't delete it for some reason. She was delighted. I explained
what I had done and what she had to do to keep her system from getting
infected again. She wondered if some of those emails she had been getting
had something to do with her system problems.

I remember thinking to myself that this had to be a bad dream. She had only
been able to see a part of her email so she had only opened a few of them.
When she explained that she did not know who these people were, but wanted
to see what they were emailing her about, I had to laugh. I couldn't help
it. I told her not to do that again, only to open mail from people you know
and are expecting to hear from. As I explained each of these problems I
encountered to her it was obvious that she wasn't stupid, she was getting
the point, it was just that no one had ever bothered to help her. All the
information was making sense to her, now that she was getting exposed to it.

Once I had made sure that her machine was truly clear and clean I showed her
how to use the Windows Update feature as I had to leave for other business.
Of course, it was a huge list, the machine being new and the version of XP a
few months behind the updates. She understood that some updates would
require a reboot and she felt she could handle it. She was extremely happy
that someone would take the time to help her.

On my way out, I pointed to the pile of paperwork and CD's on the coffee
table and told her not to lose anything. She laughed and said that she got
the message, loud and clear. My work here was done.

So, people, listen up! The point of this is you have to get the knowledge
you need to operate your computer properly. Save all the paperwork that
came with your system. Save all the CD's and any packaging they were in.
Install, update, and configure a firewall, anti-virus software and
anti-malware applications. Save your receipts! Save and read the
installation instructions for your computer and anything else you connect to
it. Register your system so you can take advantage of the makers warranty,
and do take advantage, you paid for it! But, most of all, ask questions.
This is what these newsgroups are all about. Thanks to all the old-timers
for all the help! Happy computing.





.
 
A

Al Smith

I would be amusing except that 10 yrs ago you did not
need to know any of this, five years you did not need to
know most of this and two years ago it was not a 10th as
bad as it is now. Something has got to be done about
people putting things on peoples computers without there
ok or you are going to see less and less new user of
computers.

This is dead on the money. Windows XP should be designed in such a
way that anybody can surf the Internet, read e-mail and use a chat
program without compromising their security or messing up their
system. This kind of problem isn't the user's fault. It is
Microsoft's fault.

When, oh when, is there going to be a class-action lawsuit against
these smug Microsoft bastards? They are knowingly selling an
operating system that is inherently unsafe, and getting more
unsafe by the day, with the certain knowledge that many of their
customers are going to lose valuable data as a result. This isn't
a possibility. It is a statistical certainty.

When grandma loses a precious and irreplaceable photo because she
ran Windows as it is configured out of the box, Microsoft should
have to pick up the tab for it. They are the ones responsible, not
grandma. When Uncle Joe's tax records go zap, Microsoft should be
compelled to pay for their replacement. Every some user loses a
week because he has to reformat due to viruses, trojans and
malware, Microsoft should be force to pick up the bill.
 
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N

Niels

There is just one thing I whoul'd like to say.
Let's see what happens when the other "manufactures" get more users.
Let's see what linux does, for example.

It's so easy to yell at MS, but why should everyone be able to surf the
Internet ? Why is it that you have to learn to drive and fly and not
learn to surf. Except that the Internet is not a safe place when you
don't know what you're doing...

As long as there are people that think you have wireless Internet when
you have an AP in your home and think that Internet Explorer IS the
Internet, nothing is gone change...

Sad but true...
 
A

Allan

Great story. Reminds me of my fater. Getting use to a new
system and what it does is just a matter of searching the
web and also reading all the papers that came with the
computer. I am no expert but have had to learn things the
hard way, self taught I guess. Bet that made you day
though.
Allan
 
M

Mike H

That would be like asking Ford or GM to be responsible for bad drivers.. car
manufacturers have no control over the end user, and nobody would expect
this.. when a person buys a computer from a store, that person has
responsibility for whether they can 'drive' it..
 
B

Bruce Chambers

Al said:
This is dead on the money. Windows XP should be designed in such a
way that anybody can surf the Internet, read e-mail and use a chat
program without compromising their security or messing up their
system. This kind of problem isn't the user's fault. It is
Microsoft's fault.


Utter nonsense. People need to learn to be responsible for the
consequences of their own actions. It's your very attitude of
entitlement and "everything is someone else's fault" is exactly what
is wrong with society today. Are gun manufacturers responsible for
how some idiots misuse their products? Is Black and Decker at fault
because some idiot cuts through the power cord of the saw he's using?


--

Bruce Chambers

Help us help you:



You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on
having
both at once. - RAH
 
B

Bruce Chambers

Kevin said:
As I read the innumerable posts regarding loss of product ID's,
product CD's, mysterious virus infections, forgotten passwords, SP2
calamities and other tales of woe, I can't help but chuckle quietly
as I jump from one desperate post to the next. I've been working
with computers for a while and I'm not even close to being as
knowledgeable as some of the old-timers here like Carey Frisch,
Bruce
Chambers and Larry Samuels. I help out my friends and some private
clients with their computing problems on a casual basis.
Snipped....

So, people, listen up! The point of this is you have to get the
knowledge you need to operate your computer properly. Save all the
paperwork that came with your system. Save all the CD's and any
packaging they were in. Install, update, and configure a firewall,
anti-virus software and anti-malware applications. Save your
receipts! Save and read the installation instructions for your
computer and anything else you connect to it. Register your system
so you can take advantage of the makers warranty, and do take
advantage, you paid for it! But, most of all, ask questions. This
is
what these newsgroups are all about. Thanks to all the old-timers
for all the help! Happy computing.


I commend you for your patience.

--

Bruce Chambers

Help us help you:



You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on
having
both at once. - RAH
 
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S

Shane

It's so easy to yell at MS, but why should everyone be able to surf the
Internet ? Why is it that you have to learn to drive and fly and not
learn to surf.

Because that's where the billions of dollars of profit comes from.


Shane
 
D

DILIP

Why should Microsoft pay for your family's stupidity? That's like making
car cos pay up for your 2 year old driving the car and crashing it. If you
don't think you can use it, don't! It goes the same for any device you buy.
You buy a knife and cut off your fingers - Does the manufacturer pay for
your incompetence? The MS EULA was perhaps created with psychos like you in
mind - Which is why it's so long.
 
F

Frank

Little old ladies should be able to go to the grocery
store without getting their purse snatched. I suppose
this is Microsoft's fault as well.
 
G

Guest

I suppose this is Microsoft's fault as well.

You do?

Though I agree with Al, I can't imagine how MS would be at fault if the
'Little old lady' gets her purse snatched.
 
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A

Alexander Grigoriev

What's wrong with the stock installation:

1. Users are created by default as Administrators: invitation to install
malware.
2. Firewall not enabled by default.
3. Very easy to launch and install malicious attachment.

People should not have to know that they need to tune their Windows. It
should arrive secure by default. Finally MS realized that, after watching
several years how millions Windows systems are turned into spam-spewing
zombies. But users are still created as admins, and the users don't know
that it's VERY BAD.
 
C

cquirke (MVP Win9x)

On Fri, 1 Oct 2004 20:16:25 -0700, "Alexander Grigoriev"
What's wrong with the stock installation:
1. Users are created by default as Administrators: invitation
to install malware.

This business about "admin" vs. "limited" is overrated, and there are
reasons why one might avoid multiple and/or limited accounts.

1) Limited accounts are not safe either

If you have the right to edit data, any process running with your
rights will have the right to delete or overwrite your data. So
simply running as a limited user is NOT safe, in itself.

There are many ways for malware to escalate rights beyond the
limitations applied by the account type. Furthermore, several
intrusion methods bypass these limits entirely.

2) Multiple accounts complicates management

Each account is, in some senses, another installation that has to be
managed all over again. For example, using anti-virus or anti-cm
tools to clean up the system may only clean the currently logged
account, requiring the process to repeated for each account. The same
thing applies when applying risk management settings.

If the account cannot be accessed - say, because the password isn't
known, or the settings are on a server that's inaccessible from where
the PC is being managed - then that can act as an uncleaned source of
re-infection. These things favor the KISS of one account for all.

3) Account settings lost when lowering rights

This may have changed somewhere between XP "Gold" and SP2. When I
first tried reduced-rights accounts, I found a number of settings fell
back to MS duhfaults and could not be changed. Many of these settings
had clear risk significance; hidden file name extensions and paths,
hidden files not displayed, etc.

So as I'd be swapping one set of risks for another, I decided to dump
the whole "account rights" thing in favor of a safer UI.

Re-testing this in SP2 shows that settings are now respected when an
account is dropped from admin rights, when tested by dropping the
rights while not logged into the account being changed.

4) Some apps don't work unless admin

Yes, we know this is the fault of bad application sware development,
but it's a fact of life nonetheless.

Software developers are quick to use features that suit them, e.g.
exploiting new ways to foist commercial malware through IE's holes,
whether "by design" e.g. "Install on demand" or code defects.

But when features suit the user instead, developers simply can't be
bothered. Even modern software still treats file associations as if
Win95 never happened, and we were still chained to Win3.yuk's "ook,
see file; ug, open file with rock" simplicity.

So it's hardly surprising that even after years of XP, software
developers still behave as if user account rights never happened.
2. Firewall not enabled by default.

Yup. Wouldn't matter as much if XP wasn't a "network client" deployed
as-is. More on that later...
3. Very easy to launch and install malicious attachment.

Yup; the OS goes out of its way to assist commercial vendors and sites
in their quest to nail down and rape the user. It's got so bad that
Netscape and Moxilla have been born again, pursued by users wanting a
browser that does *less* than the de facto IE standard!
People should not have to know that they need to tune their Windows. It
should arrive secure by default. Finally MS realized that, after watching
several years how millions Windows systems are turned into spam-spewing
zombies. But users are still created as admins, and the users don't know
that it's VERY BAD.

As long as MS remains insufficioently clued, you cannot simply "leave
it to MS". As long as MS takes an OS designed to allow corporate IT
to remotely "administrate" over the user's head, and sells this as-is
as a consumer solution, I'd consider then insufficiently clued.

"Home" should mean something more than "Pro with some bits cut out",
but if SP2 is anything to go by **, it's more likely that MS is set to
drop the Home vs. Pro distinction altogether on the basis that one
size fits all. Bodes poorly for clue attainment.

** SP2 no longer displays Home vs. Pro on bootup


------------------ ----- ---- --- -- - - - -
The rights you save may be your own
 
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S

SlowJet

It's like any religon. The book is written as hard fact law after the crazy
men invent a new metaphor for some mysterious symptoms occuring between
their ears. ;)


There are lot of new Metaphors to replace the Registery and Users Rights but
the MS Book won't be out until
Windows Homeland 2010 gets 50,000 preachers trained. ;)

In the beginning there was DOS.
And the DOS said let there be Virual Memory.
And the GUI said it is ... we're working on it! :)

SJ
 
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