Friday, April 5, 2013

Alternatives to Windows Maintenance Chores


Recently our Computer Club president gave an excellent talk on how to maintain Windows integrity to avoid problems.  Lots of routine things to do.

These revolve around using utilities like  Ccleaner, Malwarebytes, Defraggler, and Windows Defender, all of which can be downloaded on internet.  Using them can be burdensome.  It can also be risky.

For those who would rather avoid such efforts, or suspect they already have malware or viruses, here are some alternatives.

Above all, consider reinstalling your operating system.     It will take less time and insure that vestiges of malware do not remain on your system and compromise it later.

If most of your files and applications are already on the cloud, then reinstallation will be easy.

If your computer has XP, you may want to upgrade to Windows 7.  Windows 7 makes it easy to find files to keep safely elsewhere.  Windows 7 puts like files into libraries, greatly speeds searching, and lets your preview files easily.   Windows XP will not be supported much longer.

If your computer is slow anyway, it may be better just to install a clone of Windows which looks just like Windows and lacks virtually all the maintenance problems: Zorin.  This way, Windows problems will not come back on you.

Or, if you  are a smartphone user, and know the Android system (or iPad), you could just connect a ”PC stick” to your (HDMI input) TV (or computer display) and let that TV/display be your computer.    Your old keyboard and mouse will work with it.   These cost about $60..

Or just switch to a tablet.   These are getting cheap and some even also work like TV sticks.

If that old computer hardware is still physically working, but Windows no longer works well or at all, you could still also keep it going for some of your work with Zorin above, while buying a tablet for most of your work.

I suggest these alternatives because Windows is getting more and more problems you cannot avoid easily, or avoid at all, such as from Java.    I am seeing them every week.  I am seeing them coming back after reinstalls.   Java has deep roots in Windows and Mac.

Especially, if you still want to do maintenance faithfully, and want to follow the procedures outlined in the talk mentioned above, be very careful WHERE you get the maintenance software.

Malware sites offer the legitimate tools and send malware into your system along with legitimate tools.    Even routine Adobe and Java updates carry malware exposures with them’ ’regularly.

Apple’s McIntosh offers an alternative, though, to Windows.   The Mac is also exposed to Java malware, and residents here come back with reports of poor support from the local Apple store. (I have approached Apple about the problem.)

Now that your only other Windows alternative in a new computer is Windows 8, also confusing to use, it may still be better to avoid Windows altogether.   Time will tell.

Want a new machine and avoid both Windows and Mac?  Consider a ChromeBook, starting at $200 for a slick light laptop.    You MUST have a good WiFi connection to use it.   How to get that WiFi working well?    Keep tuned!!!

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