Sunday, October 09, 2011
A local business woman had just installed Windows 7 and was disturbed by what she was being told on the screen. After installing Win7, she went about installing all the applications she used to conduct her business. The computer she had been using ran Vista Business and she had come to depend on this group of freeware apps to do her job. Of course, she had a licensed copy of Microsoft Office 2007 along with some Adobe apps.
But now, after she installed her freeware apps, Microsoft Security Essentials was giving her dire warnings about viruses...three or four of them according to her and would I come and look at her computer.
What had happened is all too common in the Windowsphere. Many of the developers for freeware apps she used had signed deals with advertising and marketing agents. Developers have to eat too, but in order to do so, these apps now come bundled with "toolbars". My customer insisted that she had check marked against "Install MyWebSearch search bar."
Along with other nuisanceware offered to her in the other programs.
I guess in this case, no doesn't always mean no.
This is nothing new, but this had not been present in the apps she had installed on her computer 3 years ago.
Some of these bars are tough to get rid of...even to the point of editing the registry, but after an hour or so, I had both MSSE and Malware Bytes reporting a clean machine.
While I took the time to do the security and service pack installs, I told her about Linux and how it could save her a lot of headaches. I explained to her that she could run her Windows7 in a virtual machine or use Wine or Codeweaver products to get individual Windows apps working in Linux. Once I had the machine updated, I slid in a Linux live CD and gave her the tour.
One thing I notice over and over when showing people Linux...they cannot wrap their heads around the whole "No antivirus needed" thing. I take the time to pull up various articles encouraging computer users NOT to use Windows to do their banking. That usually does it.
She told me that even if she could not run her apps in Linux, she would like Linux installed as a dual boot so she could bank with confidence on the Internet.
That should be the end of the story but it isn't.
She told me that stability was essential to her business and that she did not want any further changes made to her computer. She asked me if there was a way to make sure updates did not occur without her knowledge. I explained to her that Microsoft had a nasty habit of changing the option back to daily checks and installs but we could set it up anyway. I had her watch me as I did it.
She called me yesterday, absolutely livid. Not with me, but with Microsoft. Windows 7 had indeed went in and changed her options for updates. She had spent two hours on hold or on the phone with MS support and the eventual answer was that it might possibly be a pirated copy of Windows. In all likelihood, Windows had sniffed this machine as having a pirated copy and changed the settings to install the infamous KB971033.
Livid turned to near-rage as she spit the licensed serial number out at the tech. She had paid 130 dollars at Best Buy for the licensed copy and could not believe someone would accuse her of having put a pirated copy of Windows on her computer. She asked for a supervisor and was told that if she wanted to file a complaint, he would give her the URL to do so.
With that she slammed down the phone and called me back.
Unfortunately, one of her most counted-on apps will not run in Wine or Crossover. Efficient PIM is a great little all-around calendaring app with a ton of features. She has now upgraded to the full version just so she has a license, should she ever have to reinstall. I had a legit license for WinXP SP3 and I installed it via VirtualBox on her Linux side.
From what I understand, she is now working more than half the time in Linux. Microsoft is in the position to abuse their customer base this way because people think they have to endure it to access their computer.
I am glad to report there is one less of them today.
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 11:24 AM