How do I wash Windows?

As many of you know, I mostly use Linux as my Operating System of choice. But with just a few programs to clean things up, I actually made my Windows quite useful. So here are the programs I use, to make Windows work for me.First off, the basic essentials:

  • Ad-Aware is a great program clean away away little spy programs installed by malicious websites and such.
  • Spy-Bot is another useful program for cleaning up your system (and offers a great Immunize option, but hasn’t been updated lately.
  • AVG Anti-Virus is a free, full featured Virus scanner and resident shield for your computer– ditch the expensive Norton and McAfee, and use this. Virus database updates about once a week, usually, so it’s damn up to date.
  • Mozilla Firefox is a web browser that puts Internet Explorer to shame. In fact, IE is so full of security holes, you should delete its icon and never use it again. Firefox is better anyway.

Then there are the less essential, but still useful, programs:

  • Aim Ad Hack is a little utility to patch AIM, so that it doesn’t have little pop up ads, or any of that other shit. Afterwards, you have a little clean contact list with nothing else obscuring it.
  • Winamp is a music playing software. It works great, and isn’t obtrusive… If you’re using Windows Media Player for music– gah! Get Winamp
  • ObjectDock is a little utility to give Windows a Mac OSX style dock/bar at the bottom of the screen
  • ObjectBar is a little more involved and less user friendly, but basically allows you to endlessly customize your desktop– putting your taskbar, menu, etc wherever you may want them

I guess that’s it for now. Anyone else have some suggestions?

8 Responses to “How do I wash Windows?”

a word of warning on Firefox (before Stephen can get to it…ha ha! :-D)…some websites won’t work with it. If you have a website that keeps sending an error about “active x” controls, then you need to view that with IE.

rightfully, stephen’s the one to have posted this as he discovered it after uninstalling IE from his aunt’s computer. but i’m willing to capitalized on his hard work!

i’m going to have to get that AIM plug-in…i HATE all the AIM pop-ups! i’ve got all the rest of the goodies, thanks once again, to stephen.

mallorn - August 25th, 2004 at 12:50 pm

I’ve had other sites just not work on anything Mozilla or Gecko based. I guess when IE has 90% market share, that’s what you design your site for.

Owen - August 25th, 2004 at 1:51 pm

What sites are these? Honestly, I do online billpay and, well, everything over the web, and I’ve never once seen an incompatible site…

But yeah- delete the icon, not the program. You never know when you may need it.

Paradoxdruid - August 25th, 2004 at 2:12 pm

P.S. If you do see a website that requires IE, send them a nice e-mail telling them about their “bug”, and mention you don’t use IE for security concerns. Lots of big companies are dropping IE internally because of the security issues it has, and reminding them that their customers may do the same is a good way to get things changed. Point of order, Wells Fargo used to be IE only, but they listened to their customers.

Paradoxdruid - August 25th, 2004 at 2:14 pm

Lots of security-protected sites don’t work for me (BCBS’s insurance application system, for instance, only worked on IE, which sucked ’cause my IE has an un-killable bug or two in it, so I did it from work.)

Owen - August 25th, 2004 at 4:44 pm

Wow. I’ll just be happy to have my computer in good working order again. I may take your advice on the anti-pop-up and anti-automatic-download stuff, though. I hate pop-ups to no frelling end. By the way, has anybody else been getting pop-unders? My programs can’t seem to keep these away and I don’t how they’re different from pop-ups . . .

ShortSpeedFreak - August 26th, 2004 at 7:58 pm

Okay, a couple of things. First, firefox is not invincible, they did have a remote root access but (effected windows only) that took them all of a day to fix. Seriously though, firefox, although significanly more secure, faster and more reliable than IE, isn’t having the same problem with security partially because it does only have a small percentage of the market. Granted, they fix their bugs in a very short period of time and the NSA and NIST have both endorsed using it as opposed to IE (they also say that if you do use IE you can make it secure if you turn off all scripting and ability to use Java). There are still quite a few sites that only allow IE, mainly because ActiveX is easy to do powerful things, like make rootkits, in it. As groups denounce the use of IE, like the NSA and NIST have done, more and more websites are removing the IE only content and replacing it with javascript so if you switch to Firefox you will be finding fewer and fewer sites that require IE. If you do remove the icon you can still run IE by using the run command in the start menu, then running iexplorer. You can’t technically unintall it because the Windows Explorer is Internet Explorer now. The uninstall command simply removes it from the toolbar, your desktop and the startmenu.

If you are concerned about securing your windows box, then go to the following web site.
That is the link to the NIST publication on securing your home computer so that it could get a government security certification.

The programs that Andrew linked to are all great but are not 100% effective. AVG, for those who want to know, is a enterprise level anti-virus program who give out their program for free for personal use so that people get used to it and want it for their corperation. If you system is infected with the trojan “btien” or the “betterinternet” adware, then you will have one hell of a time removing those programs. (If you machine is infected with one of those, then post what is going on and I should be able to help you remove them) I know this for a fact after spending hours removing them from my Aunt’s machine. AVG, Spybot and Ad-Aware will detect them but cannot remove them because they link their .dll to the program logon.exe which you need to be logged on. BTW, the quickest way to remove them is to get Knoppix Linux live CD and load the NTFS read/write module and delete them using Linux (DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU HAVE NOT BACKED UP YOUR DATA. YOU WILL LOSE DATA IF YOU USE THIS APPROACH).

Oh, more on Firefox. Under the “tools” part of the toolbar, there is a menu option for Extensions. Get adblock, use it and after a week you will not see another ad on you screen.

ShortSpeedFreak, to answer you question about pop-unders. If you can use Firefox, then you will not have any pop-unders. It blocks them 99.999% of the time. The problem with pop-unders is that there are commands in both activeX and javascript to open windows under the primary window. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem except that IE doesn’t seem to know how to differentiate between the “open-window-under” commands and the “click-to-request-new-window” commands. The company that produces WebWasher used to produce a program that prevents pop-ups, pop-unders and general advertising. They no longer produce that program (but the older versions still work very well), I think because they were sued by advertisers and websites that require advertising to live but I could be wrong. If you can find an old version of WebWasher (2000 version), then get it. The problem with the old WebWasher program is that it blocks the “click-to-open-new-window” windows if you are using IE because it merely looks at what IE interprets. Basically, if you want to have a (to the first and second approximations) full functional web browser without any pop-ups or unders, then use Firefox.

stephen - August 30th, 2004 at 12:06 am

i knew you’d manage to scoop me 😉

mallorn - August 30th, 2004 at 9:59 pm

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