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Windows Users

Over 250,000 in a single day.

No Apple OS X systems were compromised by botnets or infected by malware today but over 250,000 Windows systems were. 250,000. Each and every day. The same as yesterday, the same as tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow. And the day after the day after tomorrow. And the day after the day after the day after tomorrow.

When it comes to security there's really not much of a difference between Windows and other platforms anymore. Windows is just as secure as any other system. And if the detractors tell you their platforms are safer, just remind them it's because they don't have the same market share. So yes, it's probably safer to stay with Windows. WINDOWS RULEZ!!111

New client. PC was blue-screening. It referenced a module, NDIS.sys. I looked it up on the Internet, and it's part of Windows. It apparently is also targeted by some malware. So I copied the file from their other PC and managed to copy it over in Safe Mode with Networking.

Besides, I like to play games. And a lot of the sites I visit require ActiveX.

So it still blue-screened, but without any reference to a particular module. But it still started up in Safe Mode, with or without networking. OK, time to call Dell Tech Support, not that I expected anything to come of it. I actually spoke to someone who actually seemed to have two cooperating brain cells. We ran through some steps via MSCONFIG which - no big surprise - didn't help. We went over procedures to back up and attempt a repair.

Why is it you hate Bill Gates anyway?

The system is a Dell 8200 running XP Home. It's vintage 2002. It was 'protected' by Norton AntiVirus 2002. As far as I can tell, no Windows Updates have ever been run. Nor did they ever subscribe to Symantec updates. No firewall, though it was accessing the Internet through a router, so it had some built-in protection. Not very much.

Everyone I know uses Windows. What you're saying is that Microsoft are some sort of evil empire and I just don't buy that. Microsoft - they're our friends.

They have personal files (pictures, music) and are running a business (accounting and income tax). No backup system, other than paper copies of completed work. No backup. No firewall. No software updates. Out of date antivirus. No anti-spyware. In short, a nearly naked PC.

Bill Gates is one of the great benefactors of our world. He's met the Queen. He got an honorary PhD from the Royal Institute in Stockholm Sweden.

After backing up their data, I tried restarting with the last known good version, and actually got the system up and running. No blue screens, no freezes (we had a bunch of those, too). Windows Update wouldn't run. Internet Explorer kept crashing. Various and sundry other problems I won't bother going into. I downloaded Firefox, then Grisoft's AVG, which found something like 68 trojan-infected files. It deleted all but one of them.

What's a botnet anyway? I don't have time to care about that.

But now the system won't access the Internet. It's talking to itself (169.xxx.xxx.xxx). So it's a mess, and it's time to reformat and reinstall, or replace. It's going to be a fun conversation. Another call to Tech Support, remove stuff from the Registry and reinstall TCP/IP.

If Windows is so bad then why are they selling it? I'm sure they'll fix it. If I switch platforms the same thing will happen. Besides, I like Windows. I like Minesweeper and Solitaire and Notepad.

So far, about 120 virus-infected files. Over 600 pieces of spyware. Windows Update won't work. Without upgrading Windows, I can't run some of the other anti-malware software I'd like to run.

I have work to do. I don't have time to learn how to use a new system. Can I still run Word?

These people are technically clueless. It's easy to criticize them for their ignorance and their failure to inform themselves. It's easy to say they deserve whatever happens to them in consequence.

What you're telling me is just too bizarre. There's no way that could be true.

They're working out of their house, so they don't have a technical staff to advise them. Their interests obviously don't extend to PC Magazine or even David Pogue in the New York Times.

All our friends use Windows. They have no complaints. There aren't any risks. I don't know what you say you found, but I didn't put that on my computer. I don't know how it got there.

Dell didn't tell them about the risks. Microsoft certainly didn't. If they'd bought the system in a retail store, nobody would have, other than to sell them a copy of Norton Systemworks or suchlike.

It doesn't really matter what we use. It's going to end up the same way sooner or later.

I don't mind holding them partially responsible, but I do have a hard time holding them totally responsible.

OK OK OK! But don't blame us - we had no way of knowing.

Oh, and lest I forget, the creators of the worst operating system on the face of the planet deserve their share and then some.

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