Home Messages Index
[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Author IndexDate IndexThread Index

Re: [OT] Windows security and ease of use

__/ [Aragorn] on Wednesday 30 November 2005 22:17 \__

> Recently, my brother and his wife have purchased a new PC.  I'd say that
> it's a white-box PC, eventhough it's actually black... ;-þ

Windows is said to be a 'black box'. Little would you like to know what
actually goes on inside....

> The machine came with Windows XP Home on it, and it was set up - I don't
> know by whom - with five user accounts; one for my brother, one for his
> wife, and one for each of the kids.  All user accounts had
> administrator privileges.

It takes (at least) 5 people to maintain Windows. If only it was as simple as
replacing a lightbulb...

> My brother had recently asked me to remove Kazaa from the machine -
> which I suspect was put on by his wife's brother - because he now has
> cable Internet just like I do, and our provider maintains quota: a
> maximum of 10 GB traffic per 30 days, of which a maximum of 15% may be
> upstream traffic.
> The kids had been playing a lot of on-line games and more importantly,
> had been uploading a lot of files via Kazaa, which caused my brother to
> exceed his upload quota, with as a result that he was penalized
> appropriately by his ISP, i.e. they put him on narrowband again until
> his average traffic of the last 30 months had dropped to below the
> quota restrictions.
> Now, as all user accounts had administrator privileges, one of the kids
> - they point the finger at eachother - had downloaded and reinstalled
> Kazaa again without my brother's knowledge.  When my brother discovered
> this, he decided to remove it again, but being quite the
> computer-illiterate he is, he couldn't find any other way to do so than
> by simply finding the directory in which Kazaa was installed and
> erasing that.

Kazaa installs many things along with it, some of which are merely invisible.
Expect a significant system slow-down.

> As I had promised him to come and take a look at things and make sure
> everything was properly uninstalled - which I suspected would not have
> been the case - I went over there this evening.
> The first thing I did was create a dedicated administrator account.
> Then, I transformed all other existing user accounts to unprivileged
> accounts.  So far so good.
> Next, I attempted to use /regclean/ to clean out the registry, as I
> suspect that my brother's "brute force" removal of Kazaa had left some
> traces behind that still needed cleaning up.
> Well...  Surprise, surprise...  I could not use /regclean/ because I
> apparently didn't have access... while logged in from the administrator
> account.  So the administrator does not have the rights to clean up the
> registry...  Hmm...  You don't suppose I should have /rebooted/ first,
> do you?

Uptime is not a priority for the home computer. That is in fact why stability
and durability have never been strong among products from Microsoft. Servers
suffer from the same issues.

> Three other things that I've noticed...:
> (1) Even with mouse acceleration and resolution set to the maximum, the
> mouse was incredibly slow and low-resolution.
> (2) While trying to adjust mouse acceleration, I had to pass incredibly
> obnoxious and complicated screens, with "wizards" that had the most
> peculiar descriptions I have ever seen - and this was a _Dutch_ XP
> version!

I never found KDE/YaST to be far trivial.

> (3) Shutting down the computer took an irritatingly long time.  I only
> shut down my system here when there is an announced power break, but if
> I type...
>         shutdown -h now
> ... and press *Enter,* it's only a matter of some 5-10 seconds until
> power-off.  I also still have that old Pentium MMX 200 MHz - which I've
> gotten for free myself and which I'm preparing for a friend - with 32
> MB of physical memory and Windows 98 SE sitting around here, and
> shutdown takes about 10 seconds there.  On my brother's PC - an Athlon
> something with 512 MB RAM - it took at least 30 seconds to shut down.

It needs to do plenty of stuff, but what it actually is remains vague.
Efficiency, yet again, is not a priority and I have come across cases where
shutdown takes a couple of minutes.

> So yes, Windows is so very "userfriendly", so very secure "out of the
> box", so very maintainable by a system administrator and so very
> fast...  Not!

Who said it ever was? I believe Macs to be the most user-friendly, but Linux
is just about on par.

> Considering that they only use that machine for some browsing, MSN and
> e-mail, I may be able to convince them to check out GNU/Linux.  Maybe
> just as a dual-boot to begin with.  They're not too accustomed to
> Windows or Microsoft-conditioned, so it shouldn't be too hard to teach
> them how to do their stuff under KDE or Gnome. ;-)

For a family computer, I find that difficult. They need to suffer a good
miserable data loss and revolve around town trying to remove a virus before
they decide they must boot into Linux.


Roy S. Schestowitz      |    /earth: file system full
http://Schestowitz.com  |    SuSE Linux     |     PGP-Key: 0x74572E8E
  5:10am  up 1 day  2:37,  3 users,  load average: 0.28, 0.35, 0.45
      http://iuron.com - next generation of search paradigms

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Author IndexDate IndexThread Index