Jump to content
  • Who's Online   0 Members, 0 Anonymous, 8 Guests (See full list)

    • There are no registered users currently online

Windows, the Disposable Operating System


The Highlander

Recommended Posts

 

Windows, the Disposable Operating System

 

I guess most of us have know this for many years but now even the creators of Windows have admitted it - Microsoft Says Recovery from Malware Becoming Impossible "When you are dealing with rootkits and some advanced spyware programs, the only solution is to rebuild from scratch. In some cases, there really is no way to recover without nuking the systems from orbit," Said Mike Danseglio, program manager in the Security Solutions group at Microsoft.

 

If that wasn't bad enough Robert X. Cringely wrote :-

 

Last week, a Microsoft data security guru suggested at a conference that corporate and government users would be wise to come up with automated processes to wipe clean hard drives and reinstall operating systems and applications periodically as a way to deal with malware infestations. What Microsoft is talking about is a utility from SysInternals, a company that makes simply awesome tools.

 

The crying shame of this whole story is that Microsoft has given up on Windows security. They have no internal expertise to solve this problem among their 60,000-plus employees, and they apparently have no interest in looking outside for help. I know any number of experts who could give Microsoft some very good guidance on what is needed to fix and secure Windows. There are very good developers Microsoft could call upon to help them. But no, their answer is to rebuild your system every few days and start over. Will Vista be any better? I don't think so

 

 

find that really sad. Like many of us I own a large collection of music and movies which are still usable 20+ years later but the data on your PC will be lucky to survive a year or two without a backup. Some copy protection systems will even forbid you to make backups or transfer to another PC so when your PC finally dies, your stuff goes with it. The only good side to all of this is you will be forced to buy your music/movie/game collection all over again and some media exec will finally get that 3rd yacht.

 

Its for that reason I don't use Windows for anything serious these days but when I did I would always create separate partitions on my hard drive; one (C:) for Windows and programs and the other (D:) for all my stuff. Each time Windows had become unusable mainly due to 'WinRot' (A special feature of Windows to slowly degrade after about 12 months of use), I could safely wipe my C: drive, re-install Windows and programs with out losing anything valuable. I used to set-up my customers PCs in much the same way. I suspect many other engineers used similar strategies but what about the person who buys a PC from a shop? Most of those will have everything on the C: drive so if a wipe+reinstall is needed due to a crash/virus/root-kit/etc, the owners are likely to lose everything if they have not done a backup.

 

I expect many people reading this would regard it as just another PC problem but I have been using Linux and BSD for about three years now and have yet to see anything like this, although Linux isn't without its problems too. When I upgraded from SuSE 9.2 to 9.3, I noticed a 'feature' of SuSE Linux called 'Update-Rot' which silently removed a few critical programs. As this was the free version I guess I cant complain and I managed to get them all back, so all was well.

 

They say the worst equipment makes the best engineers so I certainly got a good education from the 6 years I spent using / fixing Windows, especially in recovering data from crippled Windows machines. So here are a few tips :-

 

1.Its not a question of 'if' your PC crashes, its a question of 'when'. If you are using an earlier versions of Windows it will be much sooner than you think.

 

2.Keep any valuable data on at least one other device. There are plenty of options like CD-RW, USB drives and NAS (Network attached storage). Even an old PC could be used to backup valuable data via a network.

 

3.Identify where your data actually is. If you are using Linux or BSD most of your data including email, favourites, documents, music, photos and even program settings are usually kept in your personal folder. If you are using Windows things are a lot more complicated as a lot of your data will scattered across several folders or embedded in the Registry.

 

4.Think security. Only install software if you trust the author and really need it. Make sure you have a decent virus scanner and firewall. As an added precaution use an 'ADSL modem+router' combo to access the Internet instead of just an 'ADSL modem'.

 

5.There is also a rumour going around that the new version of Mac OS X will be able to run native Windows programs (a bit like VMWare, Xen or WINE) – just imagine being able to run your favourite programs without the security woes. Could be worth a look when it comes out.

 

It has been estimated that when data lose occurs, most companies only last about two years. I wonder how many companies have been decimated by simple Windows crash. That's why I use Linux and FreeBSD: They rarely crash, and if they do, I know I can recover my data quite easily because its all in one place.

 

Pete Blue has been a software developer for many years on systems like Linux, FreeBSD, Windows, UNIX and even DOS.

 

 

Link to full artical

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My solution:

 

-use a small partition for Windows like Cringely does, and install all my codecs, drivers, and stuff on it

-back it up with Ghost and keep this nice clean backup image

-avoid all interaction with Diabolical Digital Rights software

 

When Windows gets bloated or falls over, restore the Ghost image (saves rebuilding)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My solution:

 

-use a small partition for Windows like Cringely does, and install all my codecs, drivers, and stuff on it

-back it up with Ghost and keep this nice clean backup image

-avoid all interaction with Diabolical Digital Rights software

 

When Windows gets bloated or falls over, restore the Ghost image (saves rebuilding)

I too live off ghost, and have an operating partition and then after i have tinkered with windows or i have beta'ed a product or if what ever happends , i just right click the ghost icon and restore a clean system back....love the product,,, hate the new version, Power quest V2I re-badged as ghost, but if you have got version 2003 or older, it works like a dream

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5.There is also a rumour going around that the new version of Mac OS X will be able to run native Windows programs (a bit like VMWare, Xen or WINE) – just imagine being able to run your favourite programs without the security woes. Could be worth a look when it comes out.

If you partition the computer and add Windows, your computer is then vulnerable to all Windows problems, incuding malware. It may or may not stay on the Windows side. Even tho it is a Mac, you need all the protection for your system for Windows if you have Windows installed.

 

That said, I've never had a crash on the Win98 SE since I blocked Word 97 (and its upgrade to 2000) from thinking it can access the Net - well, it still thinks that, but the Firewall has other instructions. True, I had a non-reboot when I turned it off to put in a 2nd Hard Drive, which is why I now have a WinXP (and the 2nd HD is in there, and the WinXP has Ghost), but I've had no real problems with it, and a lot less frustration than with the "no poken Sie die Fingern in der Settings" attitude of WinXP.

 

But the few outside programs I have inistalled (Norton FW and SW, Office, some language programs; software & drivers for printer, scanner, Zip drives, Flash drives) was all out long enough to be debugged before I bought it. And Roxio ECDC 5 works nicely, but I do my burning these days on the 2.4GHz computer to save stress on the 400MHz computer. (Mmmm ... ok, I downloaded some players, like QuickTime, LiquidAudio, RealAudio - when the compuer was new in March 1999.)

 

The WinXP hasn't crashed either, but I don't use it much. And I don't download (other than updates) or test. (OK, I have about 100MB of mp3 music on the Win98 SE, about 75% from CDs and much of the rest from one day in July 2001 - and I have the CDs for a lot of the stuff from the day in July 2001 by now.)

 

Lynn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would agree with Paul---Acronis True Image really gets the job done !!

If MS suggests that you re-install the entire operating system every couple of weeks, days or what, what happens to MS's Windows "Activation" process ? After all of MS's security updates, I think they finally have come to the reality that there is NO way they can keep up with all the mal-ware and other virus strains out there. I have never had a computer crash going all the back to the DOS versions, and that's been ages ago. So when one says it's not will it happen, it's just when, I guess I am probablyt due :)

 

Frank....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have used Acronis True Image a few times, but i just like the ghost product, really the same way Lynn likes her Windows 98?, its just something i know backwards...

 

As to your question Gary?

WinXP SP3??? Is that something coming out soon?

From my sources inside MS, the answer is yes soon.

but there are also sites that make service pack 3 un-official versions as well, and that can be very helpful if you have done a clean build and then you have to wait wile 100's of megs of updates from Microsofts on line update site.

 

The two best programs are these :

 

 

Windows Unofficial service pack 3 from Hotfix (Info Here) (Download Here)

 

The other good updater is called AutoPatcher

 

 

Here you will find all the info on what it is (Info Site here)

And here you can download AutoPatcher from below the Info site link above.

 

I personally use and love AutoPatcher and it has a very easy almost automatic install if you have no idea what you are doing,

But it also has some cool custom installs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest mlpasley

All good suggestions, but there's a potential fatal flaw in any backup.

 

You have to know that the backup is completely free from viruses, spyware or malware that may be causing the problem.

 

Otherwise, you're just restoring the system to a state that may have caused the problems originally.

 

I firmly believe that backing up DATA is essential.

 

You can reinstall the OS and all your programs, but if you've not backed up your data on another media that you physically remove from the computer (on CDs\DVDs or another hard drive), you risk having it scrambled by any one of the nasty critters that can infect your computer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...