Idiot proof a computer?

canadianvice

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Jul 25, 2012
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Hello everybody,

So, I know the old adage about foolproof things. Let's just try to get it as close to that as possible.

My situation is I'm fixing a computer for a friend, or rather, I fixed a computer for a friend. Less than a day with it and it's back to being borked and likely through no fault of my own. Yes, they torrent a lot. I understand some here take issue with that, but frankly, I'm being paid to fix it, so not really my concern.

Anyhow, here's my issue: they keep getting adware (browser based) and other issues, likely from installation of rando programs. Does anyone know of any effective policies and tools I could implement on their system to help prevent this from happening?

I'm tempted to offer up linux as a solution, but they're lost enough with Windows. So with Windows I will stay for the time being. Anyhow, my basic issue is: how do I give them enough control to do things like watch movies and browse the web, but not enough that they inadvertently break something?
 

MarkW

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Install a good anti-virus program. One that not only watches for viruses, but also for malware.

And tell them to quit pirating things. It is literally costing them money they could have used to buy the stuff they are stealing.
 

thor220

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The best thing I could recommend that could drastically cut down on your intervention is buy Kaspersky Internet Security and turn the protection level up to the maximum. It can be restrictive but it will save you some serious time.

I've use it at the behest of other "low knowledge" clients and it works very well from protecting them from themselves.
 

thor220

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This is so true. Who would trust a piece of software from some random person with all the keyloggers, bitcion miners, and network scanners hanging about. Don't think I'd ever purchase anything on that machine myself until I rewrote the bios and hard drive.
 

okcnaline

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A more expensive option is to get Windows Server 20xx, and throw some Active Directory Domain Service settings onto his computer. Oh, upgrade him to Windows Professional. Now you can block what websites he goes on, along with what software is allowed to start. ;)
 

thor220

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The problem with this is that there are always ways around restrictions like that. Ever see kids in the library try to get around the school block? It's going to happen, even on the most restrictive systems, especially considering this user is going to have complete control over the PC.
 

canadianvice

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They are very basic users - they don't want to get around things, but they just don't want the stupid <mod edit> they do to break it.
The irony of it is, I really don't think it's the torrents..... the last time I fixed this it was conduit, which is usually part of a software install.

To quote the person, her husband "just clicks through things without reading anything." and her tone suggests it's not something that's going to change anytime soon. I need to try and prevent that.

Which means they downloaded some software (legally, probably) to do something and got Conduit. All they torrent is movies, and I'd hope the AV would do the work in stopping them from doing something stupid. I don't know what they'd need though - I got them bittorrent, I got them VLC, I got them chrome, and they have Kaspersky IS 2015. I have no idea what additional software they could be needing/want.

I'll up that setting. My other idea is to segregate admin/standard user accounts and see if that helps any. Christ, I really wonder if Linux is an option.....

Oh, and a most un-Canadian thing of me, so I'll do it now, but I forgot to say thank you. I appreciate your assistance.
 

Saga Lout

Olde English
Moderator
If they're struggling with Windows,, perhaps they should give up and put all their learning efforts into a decent Linux OS or stop torrenting and buy legitimate films.

I fix PCs for a living in England and I tell torrent users that next time, my charge for removing all the risky crap will be doubled. Still they do the same and still they come back. I just don't get it.
 

Crashmaster

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Do not install any anti-virus software it will just help destroy the PC.
Use adblock plus on all browsers.
Teach him not to use unknown torrent trackers and only dedicated websites.
For a torrent client use utorrent and reinstall the client when the updates come out (do not update).
Teach him how to check every installation from the web for different unwanted software or adwares.
 

Saga Lout

Olde English
Moderator


A comment such as that in a respected technical advice forum just has to be challenged.

What is your evidence to back your remark?

 

Crashmaster

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Experience while working with end users.
In all my years I have never seen anything more than USB viruses that create shortcuts.
Adware is not blocked by Antivirus software only by specialized plug ins.
Any other software that is installed with the user allowance will not be stopped by an antivirus software.
Antivirus is a waste of resource.
Adblocker blocks any pop-ups and weird cookies and as long as you don't visit dubious websites you are safe.
Windows Defender is an exception since it's a low profile antivirus and will not consume resources.
 

Onus

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Some anti-virus programs are better than others, but it is definitely true that they do not block malware, which is the kind of thing the OP is describing here.
Get the PAID version of MalwareBytes from www.malwarebytes.org. The free version does not provide real-time monitoring, only scans. It works well, but the torrenter in this case needs something that will block the poo before it hits; MalwareBytes will do it.
 

okcnaline

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Or you can Hackintosh and pretty much skip over >80% of all viruses, malware, adware, etc. Though it's a gray area.
 

thor220

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I don't get that line of thinking either. People like this continue to put themselves at serious risk of identity theft and yet they continue anyways.

@Crashmaster

Many Anti-virus companies have caught onto the browser plugin issue and Kaspersky Internet security has had a browser plugin for a few years now. Maleware is covered and so is firewall. For the most part, Internet security is what most PC users should be installing and not just anti-virus.

@canadianvice
As others have said, switching to chrome or linux could work but I don't know if the user would like the program restrictions. IF you already have Kaspersky, and UAC set to max, not much more you can do aside from turning the account into a guest with no permission to install programs.
 

canadianvice

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Fair enough. I segregated admin vs. user and upped Kaspersky to max. The pity is I left them explicit instructions on how to avoid this situation, but evidently they were not read. As for linux, my only major concern is that I've never gotten it working consistently on my own machine (audio randomly malfunctions) and so if I want it worry free Linux is probably not great from that perspective.

Oh well, I appreciate the feedback and I'm wiser for the future. They can keep torrenting, I don't care, but if they don't want to follow my common-sense advice on how to avoid getting viruses from the activity, well, they can keep paying me to fix it. I'm doing this particular one as a freebie, but not happening afterwards.
 
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