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W2K, XP or Linux?

by medhead / August 23, 2006 2:22 PM PDT

So here's my dilemma. I've got a machine that is presently running W2K with a corrupt OS. IE6 "barely" functions. I also run (3) IE driven clones that use the IE6 web search engine; Maxthon, Avant and Advanced web browsers. The clone WB's also barely function (crash city!) as does the mother IE6 web engine. I can't repair and/or reinstall IE6, the loader file won't run. So here's my options as I see them: A) Re-install W2K B) Upgrade to XP C) Abandon Windows and install Linux. Machine specs: AMD Thunderbird Athlon 1400MHz processor; 512MB of RAM; All-In-Wonder 128 PRO AGP video card; Phillips Rythmic Edge Sound Card; 100GB HDD. Any and all constructive help will be appreciated. Thanks, Steve

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Personal choice
by john_mcdoogle / August 23, 2006 11:02 PM PDT
In reply to: W2K, XP or Linux?

Your problem stems from your use of Internet Explorer. It is a prime target for malware, and even if you keep on top of all the latest patches, there's always a couple of unpatched security holes with it that are being used. A lot of times this means malware can be installed on your system without any sort of interaction on your part aside from visiting a website. And not even large established sites are safe anymore. Most farm out ad banner functions to another company, and plenty of times those companies will sell ad space that includes a malware payload. Any IE6 (and probably 7 soon enough) based browser will suffer the same fate.

Whether or not you choose to continue using Windows or try Linux is up to you. I'd suggest a long hard look, because Linux is a radical departure from what most people are used to. It can provide you with a very stable, very reliable, and very secure setup, IF you're willing to put in the effort to make it so. Linux is not hard to pick up, it just takes some effort to "retool" your brain. In the end however, it's up to you to decide if it's right for you or not. So I'd suggest one of the LiveCD distributions. No installation necessary, you just download a CD image, burn it, and then boot your system from that CD. The entire operating system, and supplied programs run off the CD. Performance will be slow, but it will give you a taste of what Linux is like, and you can decide if it's for you without any risk.

If you decide to stay with Windows, do upgrade to XP. Windows 2000 has reached it's end of life stage, meaning Microsoft is no longer providing security updates for it. XP will still be actively supported for a few years yet.

Also, if you stay with Windows, be sure to stay on top of security updates AND instead of IE or IE based browsers, use something like Mozilla Firefox or Opera. I'm a Firefox fan myself, but Opera does have some interesting features. Both are free of charge and free of IE's malware issues. Think of them kind of like airbags in a car. They're not an excuse to do something stupid like wrap your car around a telephone pole, but they do provide some protection if you do.

The less you use IE or anything based on IE, the less chance you have of malware getting on your system. And I think once you figure out the power and utility of some of Firefox's extensions, you won't want to use anything else.

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W2K, XP or Linux?
by medhead / August 25, 2006 8:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Personal choice

Hi John,

Thanks for your very detailed reply to my forum post. This is the first time that I've posted on a forum so thanks for the great start!

Referring to your post, I'm running Opera 9.0.1 as I type this reply; I also have Firefox 1.5.0.6 installed on my machine. Interestedly, the Firefox browser is also disabled as are the IE driven browsers. Opera is my only functional browser as it appears to have no interaction with IE.

I though that I was doing "due diligence" with staying current on all MS/Windows updates; apparently not! My IE (and IE driven clones) started "falling apart" about 2 weeks ago. It didn't take long before "Can't find the requested web page" became the order of the day!

I run Super Anti-spyware and AVG anti-virus daily. I'm also running Comodo Firewall. Sometimes I think that all these "anti" programs are just Window dressings! (pardon the pun!)

I think that I'll move up to XP, it's the logical choice. I've visited some Linux forums, and at 60 years old, it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks!

Thanks again for your reply to my post.

Regards,
Steve

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Save a few bucks. W2K is still good.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 23, 2006 11:25 PM PDT
In reply to: W2K, XP or Linux?

In fact we still have over 1/2 our machines at the office on it. The security updates you read about are usually never for the actual OS but the browser. If you can get away from IE except for Windows Update you can avoid almost all the pests it allows in.

I think it's a red herring to write about the lack of security updates on Windows 2000 or even Windows 98 since the OS itself is very well beat up. It's that Internet Explorer (not the OS) that is suffering.

Bob

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Save a few bucks. W2K is still good
by medhead / August 25, 2006 8:29 AM PDT

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your reply. My issue with W2K is that it's coming to the end of the Window's life cycle. W2K was released in 1999; XP was released in 2001. With the release of Vista (sometime this century?), I'm thinking that MS is going to compress the life cycle of pre-Vista OS's. Personal opinion; a good copy of Vista isn't worth a corrupt copy of W2K!

I don't see Vista supplanting W2K or XP as the de facto Windows OS. Personal opinion; Vista is a pure money grab!

Since a re-install or upgrade is in order, I'm inclined to go with XP just on the time and effort involved to re-install W2K on my machine. Let's just say that I have a ''boatload'' of apps to re-install! I'm more inclined to do that with an upgraded OS!

BTW; I'm running Opera 9.0.1 at the present time, and I have Firefox 1.5.0.6 installed on my machine. Interestedly, Firefox was also affected by the IE meltdown! So far, Opera does not appear to be affected by the IE corruption (I should shut my mouth!)

Thanks again for for your post.

Regards,
Steve

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a consideration
by linkit / August 25, 2006 8:38 AM PDT

It may be a money grab, but I don't want to run an OS without security updates. XP security updates and other support is slotted to end at a certain amount of time after Vista introduction. It's similar to what just happened to Windows 98/ME.

OS support after Vista introduction:
XP Home: 2 years after
XP Pro: 7 years after

I'd move to Linux or Vista.

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I've heard this before.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 25, 2006 9:08 AM PDT
In reply to: a consideration

The security patches are for IE, OE and the addon programs and not the base OS. The base OS has not been seeing patches so I fail to see why we need to hurry up replacing the few hundred W2K installs we have.

Bob

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However
by john_mcdoogle / August 25, 2006 11:18 AM PDT

I don't believe IE7 will be made to work with Win2K, and I don't imagine MS is going to want to be putting out further patches for IE6 much after the launch of IE7, so any unpatched vulnerabilities will be left that way.

There are some IE security exploits that will work, even if you're not using IE. Those could prove to be quite nasty for places that continue to run Win2K.

Not that it's worth moving to Vista unless you're getting all new systems. The hardware requirements on that thing are monstrous.

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However
by medhead / August 26, 2006 10:55 AM PDT
In reply to: However

Hi John,

Thank for your forum reply. John, I don't believe that there was ever a though in Redmond, WA re having IE7 run with any OS except Vista! I doubt that you will ever see a final version of IE7 for XP or any other OS! The only versions of IE7 for XP are beta test versions. In my opinion, IE7 is a 100% Vista product! Also, in my opinion, IE7 looks an awful lot like Firefox and Opera in appearance and functionality! I run both non-IE browsers. I'm partial to Firefox; Opera can be a pain in the butt to run on certain web sites.

My machine is barely speced out for XP, let alone Vista! I'd need two of my present machines running in parallel to run Vista!

Regards,
Steve

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that makes sense
by linkit / August 25, 2006 1:04 PM PDT

That's a good point about the nature of current MS security updates.

What I meant was that since Medhead seems intent on dropping some cash on XP and not keeping Win2K, he should move to Linux or Vista instead.

MedHead, if you are worried about having to reinstall all those patches and updates to Win2K, you will only fare a little better with XP. XP has patches galore, too. It might get a little better with the rumored-but-still-not-confirmed SP3 release for XP.

Why not get to a fresh/working Win2K installation with all the current updates and then make a restoration CD with Acronis True Image or Norton Ghost. For about USD$20 you get to make a restoration CD of Win2K the way you want it. I see this as a better value than dropping USD$100-300 for XP.

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that makes sense
by medhead / August 27, 2006 9:30 PM PDT
In reply to: that makes sense

HI,

Thanks for your forum post. I have 4 considerations to re-installing W2K: W2K is coming to the end of it's MS life cycle and will loose update and patch support; I have a boatload of apps that would require a re-install along with the OS; I'd still have the same IE vulnerability; I'd be re-installing an 8 year old OS.

XP support is good for 7 more years with the Pro Edition and 2 more years with the Home Edition. I'm running W2K Pro Edition at the present time; I would want to run XP Pro Edition also. I'm sure that XP Pro will outlast my current machine!

My machine is not speced for Vista, it would run very poorly. The required upgrades would be more costly than installing XP Pro!

With the release of Vista (sometime this century!), XP prices will drop as vendors push the Vista OS. Since my core OS has not been affected by the IE corruption, I can survive running Firefox and Opera until XP Pro prices come down to my playing field level.

Regards, Steve

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I've heard this before
by medhead / August 26, 2006 10:40 AM PDT

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your forum reply. I agree that there is nothing wrong with W2K; I've been running W2K since April 06. As you say, the problem is not with the core OS, it's with IE. Unfortunately, the core OS can't be separated from IE. Billy Boy Gates knew what he was doing when he integrated IE into the core OS. They're like a matched pair of socks!

I would like to see IE as a plug-in to the core OS, that way, when IE becomes corrupted, as in my situation, you plug-in a nice clean copy! But then again, Billy Boy Gates would not have amassed a $50 Billion dollar fortune doing IE my way!

Regards,
Steve

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a consideration
by medhead / August 26, 2006 10:27 AM PDT
In reply to: a consideration

Hi,

Thanks for your forum reply. Thanks also for the life cycle numbers on XP Home and XP Pro; I would definitely go with XP Pro just for the extended support. Re Vista, money grab was a poor choice of words; "planned obsolescence for previous OS's" would have been a better choice.

My machine is not Vista speced; XP would be the choice. The original OS was W98 First Edition! It's been upgraded since then, but not to Vista specs.

Regards,
Steve

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