Compaq Laptop Virus Magnet from Best Buys


B

Bossman

I posted this in a Linux group and got to wondering if this is an
isolated incidence. But what I really want to know is if anybody here
has any information as to how major computer corporations can ship
computers with outdated OS software like indicated below? Actually I
am more interested in gaining a little insight into the workings of a
computer assembly line and how things like this get overlooked. Or,
can anything be done to prevent somthing like this, either with or
without MS software, or safety issues in place. My question is, where
is the os installed? On the harddrive prior to assembly? Or after the
machine is put together? Is it done here, or overseas, with the lowest
bidder getting the work? If it's the lowest bidder, is there a price
difference that MS charges for update software such as SP1, or has the
vendor not update the software Os for one reason or another?


Posted to a Linux group:

Sorry all for the win references, but heres yet another reason why I'm
learning Linux. Good friend found a Compaq 2.8 gig, 512ram, 40gig hd,
DVD/CD burner etc... for 599.00. Now this friend is 82 going on 30,
and couldn't pass up the sale, even though he doesn't actually need
the laptop. Bought the lap on Tuesday, took it home, fired it up and
logged onto the net. 5 min later it kept powering off. ( i'm thinking
sasser here ) Not wanting to inconvenience anyone(me), he brought it
back to the store Wed, and used his charm to get the tech's to remove
and reboot the os, free of charge. Compaq CS wanted 45.00 per hour to
try to talk him through removing the viruses over the phone, directly
from India. Went home and had the SAME thing happen that night. Back
to Best Buys and they swapped the unit out for another one. I told him
not to log onto the net until he brought it to me, and to bring me the
machine this am, as I had some time free, and would install basic
firewall, spyware stuff on it before he had any more problems. This
machine, just so you all know, is the second batch at this store, and
is supposed to be exactly the same as the first batch according to the
store manager.

Last night I burned a disk with zonealarm, and ad-aware, as I wanted
to install these before I logged onto the net with it. Since I had to
assume that he had picked up the sasser virus for the power on/off
problem , I knew we'd have to immediately make sure SP1 was installed,
as well as the rest. Since he has dialup at his house, we went to
Starbucks, and used my linksys card to download the updates. His other
machine is a desktop running Win98. He kept telling me how beautiful
the xp environment is, and that he wants to get a disk for the
desktop, as the laptop came with the software pre-loaded, and no xp
disk. I told him he would have to pay to install the os on the
desktop, and he didn;t immediately get the fact that he had to pay
again for an additional lic for it, even though his son HAD a disk he
would let him use for free. Took some explaining, but he finally got
the idea. His desktop, by the way, is not running any firewall
software on it, and has Norton AV, and has never had a real problem
with viruses or hackers.

Considering this machine is brand new, and comes with WinXP Home, I
figured that it would be relatively close to that on my XP Pro laptop
for hardware detection. It found new hardware, but didn;t know what.
Since I had the driver I downloaded as well for the card, I installed
the driver, and had to spend 10 minutes getting the machine to connect
the card . Finally got it working, logged onto the net, and went to
update software. There were 11 XP updates 22 service and critical
updates, and 7 driver updates. Installed sp1, and rebooted only to
have to manually re-config the wireless card again to work. Went to
download the linksys update as indicated, rebooted again, and same
thing. Next update, and the Internet Explorer wouldn;t open, just the
preferences tab. Had to use Windows explorer to access the net to use
my t-mbile account to finish updating. Next reboot I downloaded
Mozilla which changed my config for the wireless card. ( I doubt that
it did actually change the config, but... ) Total of all reboot/
reconfig took well over 3 hours. Only after final updates installed
did the laptop work fine. No way this guy would have been able to do
this at his house, and on dialup.

I had some similar issues with my Sony lap and XP pro, but couldn't
believe that system's this vulnerable go out into the real world every
day. This is a scary thought. I have always assumed that I am not like
the masses, and am overly cautious by first always installing AV
software with updated definitions, firewall software, then internet
stuff. What do average people do when this happens? Are they just
blind to the fact that this is apparently normal, and pay / deal with
the additional costs involved? Worst thing for me was when he asked me
to place the Office taskbar on the side, and I had to tell him he
didn't have one installed. Now he has openoffice, and I told him it
was an updated version of M$ Office 2000. He'll probably figure it out
sooner or later, but at least he can write his grand kids tonight..

Side note: My Sony laptop got Mandrake 9.2 installed on it Tuesday
night. It took all of 30 minutes, rebooted, and everything worked.
Linksys card and all. Nothing tweaked for it to work. Changed the
desktop, and installed KDE theme, and it crashed hard. locked up.
Reinstalled and had some installation disk read problems, but it's up
and running. Going back on to it after I send this .... Wine' s next
on the agenda.
 
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D

Dave

I don't know about the OS install process but from my experience of
working as a consultant for desktop support, I know that OS images that
get installed on HDDs don't get updated very often. I believe, but don't
quote me on this, is that the end user is responsible for updates to the
OS. I wouldn't expect a manufacturer to install all of the latest udpates
for the OS especially if the updates are recent. After SP2 comes out for
XP, I would expect that manufacturers would start to update their OS
images but after that, I wouldn't expect another OS update from them until
SP3 (if ever) would come out.

For my laptop at home, even though I have Win XP, I had to manually
download and install the drivers for my wireless card...per the
manufacturer's instructions...the drivers needed to get installed before
the card is inserted into the slot...
 
C

cquirke (MVP Win9x)

But what I really want to know is if anybody here has any
information as to how major computer corporations can ship
computers with outdated OS software like indicated below? Actually I
am more interested in gaining a little insight into the workings of a
computer assembly line and how things like this get overlooked.

The easiest way to set up PCs en masse was to simply copy the new
system's HD contents from a template. When this is done as a raw disk
image, it may allow optimal file content positioning too.

Even in the DOS days, there was a slight brittleness to this, in that
raw disk images have to match HD geometry and size. Switch from one
HD brand or model to another, even at similar capacity, and you may
have a problem.

This approach became a LOT more brittle with NT (each PC had to have a
unique security identifier or SID) and Win95 (Plug-n-Play dynamically
detects and resources hardware, may break image assumptions).

Today, large OEMs still use raw disk imaging, but with a wealth of
tools from MS and/or developed in-house to manage the problems and
conform with licensing requirements.

Small builders may still build by running various Setup.exe
interactively, as you would. This is the market MS caters for via DSP
(Delivery Service Partner) product. I'm a DSP, and modified
interactive installation is how I build PCs at the rate of anything
from none to 20 units a month.

Between these extremes are mechanisms to automate the interactive
installation process, e.g. response files that apply your options
choices so that you can do an unattended install and still have your
settings applied. This is the approach I use.

When you run the setup process, it can sanity-check things as it goes.
When you bypass that process via disk imaging, you open yourself up to
risks on an insane installation - i.e. one that is not rational for
the reality of the hardware it's installed on. This is why large OEMs
are often so inflexible when it comes to deviation from their
cast-in-stone model line, e.g...

"Can I have the Supremo X but with a 120G hard drive?"
' No, you'd have to go with out Supremo XL model for that '

Patches just don't fit in with a fully-automated build approach; they
are still extra work, but work more likely to be done in an
interactive build process.


There are two other considerations as to why PCs ship without fully up
to date patches.

Firstly, most volume builders won't include a patch until their own
in-house testing shows it to be OK. The more the brand "adds value"
through proprietary design, the more likely they will suffer problems
when applying new and untested patches. Mass-releasing dysfunctional
systems affected by such issues will swamp support capacity and create
opportunities for class-action litigation against them.

Secondly, you have to consider channel lag. A PC may be patched up to
date when it leaves the factory, but after sitting in a bulk/volume
reseller's warehouse a while, and then on the show room floor, new
issues may have been found, exploited and/or patched.


Resellers survive my marking up on what they source to sell. Some of
this margin is slurped off as profit, while the rest is plowed back as
value-add. Different reseller models add value in different ways - a
model that offers low prices, convenient central shopping mall
locations, ever-ready stock and personable sales staff is unlikely to
go overboard on actual value added to the PC itself, such as patching
it up just before it's delivered.


--------------- ----- ---- --- -- - - -
Tech Support: The guys who follow the
'Parade of New Products' with a shovel.
 
P

Plato

Bossman said:
I posted this in a Linux group and got to wondering if this is an
isolated incidence. But what I really want to know is if anybody here
has any information as to how major computer corporations can ship
computers with outdated OS software like indicated below? Actually I

There is no law that says if you sell pcs you have to include the most
recent OS with it. A pc maker can install dos 6.22 if they want to .
 
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A

Alex Nichol

Bossman said:
I posted this in a Linux group and got to wondering if this is an
isolated incidence. But what I really want to know is if anybody here
has any information as to how major computer corporations can ship
computers with outdated OS software like indicated below?

A machine made in the last 18 months or more would have SP1 on it, at
least. What is much more likely is that a 'bargain' like that has been
sitting on the shelf from way earlier, and the vendor has not thought of
any need to do anything about it.
 

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