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Got Spyware? Throw out the Computer! 591

Posted by Zonk
from the nonsensical dept.
geeber writes "The New York Times (reg. required) has an article about a new response to spyware - throw out the computer and buy a new one. The notion is new computers can be had for $400 so it's a cost effective and 'rational response.'" From the article: "While no figures are available on the ranks of those jettisoning their PC's, the scourge of unwanted software is widely felt. This month the Pew group published a study in which 43 percent of the 2,001 adult Internet users polled said they had been confronted with spyware or adware, collectively known as malware. Forty-eight percent said they had stopped visiting Web sites that might deposit unwanted programs on their PC's. Moreover, 68 percent said they had had computer trouble in the last year consistent with the problems caused by spyware or adware, though 60 percent of those were unsure of the problems' origins. Twenty percent of those who tried to fix the problem said it had not been solved; among those who spent money seeking a remedy, the average outlay was $129."
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Got Spyware? Throw out the Computer!

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  • by RichardX (457979) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @02:41PM (#13082364) Homepage
    Surely you could at least just reformat the harddrive?
    Throwing out the whole PC seems a bit excessive..
    • No no, I'm okay with this.

      Just as long as they give me their "old" computer.

      :)
    • some people who don't know what the problem is, wont try this because they
      1. don't know how
      2. don't think it will fix it

      either way, they pretty much know a new computer wont have those problems (at least to start)
    • Because mom and pop know how to reformat a hard drive, reinstall windows/drivers/software, and recover their data/settings because...?
      • Because mom and pop know how to reformat a hard drive, reinstall windows/drivers/software, and recover their data/settings because...?

        Isn't windows supposed to be real easy though? Isn't that why it's marketshare is so much higher than that of Linux?

        Of course, as a previous poster said, I'm not going to argue with throwing them out. I'll even recycle the old machines for them because I'm such a nice guy.

    • But try to explain to my mom or sister how to reformat the hard drive. They are likely going to end up with an unbootable PC in the end. Hey wait a minute: Maybe we're on to something here....
    • Sssshhhh! (Score:5, Funny)

      by jdavidb (449077) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @02:46PM (#13082419) Homepage Journal

      Don't tell anybody! I'm counting on this new idea to cause a glut in the market of used PC's. I can pick them up real cheap for extra Linux boxen.

    • I'd love to see this recommendation factored into Microsoft's get-the-facts pricing for the TCO of windows.
      • Average lifespan of a windows computer - 4 minutes [usatoday.com]
      • Average lifespan of a BSD computer 10 years.

      Which do you think has a better TCO.

      At $400/minute, I think even BillG would consider windows expensive.

      • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @02:54PM (#13082483)
        Average lifespan of a windows computer - 4 minutes
        Average lifespan of a BSD computer 10 years.


        So the choice is between a computer that turns into a zombie in 4 minutes, or a one that keeps on dying for 10 years is it? :-)
        • GEEK: Bring out your obsolete boxen!
          Bring out your obsolete boxen over here!
          [clang] Bring out your obsolete boxen over here!
          [clang] Bring out your obsolete boxen over here!
          [clang] Bring out your obsolete boxen over here!
          [clang] Bring out your obsolete boxen over here!

          NETCRAFT: Ah! Good, Good! Here's one for you -- and here's your one gig of porn.
          *BSD: I'm not obsolete!
          GEEK: What?
          NETCRAFT: 'S Nothing -- here's your one gig of porn now.
          *BSD: I'm not obsolete, I'm not!
          GEEK: Oy, what's this here? He says he's not obsolete!
          NETCRAFT: Oh, Yes, Yes, he is.
          *BSD: I'm not!
          GEEK: He isn't obsolete.
          NETCRAFT: Yes, Well, he will be soon, you see. He's dying.
          *BSD: No I'm not! I'm gaining market share!
          NETCRAFT: Oh no, you're not -- you'll be stone dead and useless in a moment.
          GEEK: Oh, I can't take him like that -- it's against regulations y'know.
          *BSD: I don't want to go in the dumpster! I don't want to go in the dumpster!
          NETCRAFT: Oh, don't be such a baby. It's just like being on Hibernate!
          GEEK: I can't take him like that.
          *BSD: I feel useful! I feel useful!
          NETCRAFT: Oh, do us a favor... c'mon.
          GEEK: I can't.
          NETCRAFT: Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't be long. Less market-share than Punch-cards and Paper-tape.
          GEEK: Naaah, I really got to go on to IBM's -- they've lost OS/2 this week.
          NETCRAFT: Well, when is your next round, then?
          GEEK: Oh, I won't be back around here till next Thursday.
          *BSD: I think I'll go do a compile, now!
          NETCRAFT: You're not fooling anyone y'know. Look, mate, isn't there something you can do here?
          *BSD: I feel useful... I feel useful. I'm just gonna do a little compile!
          [bzzzzzzzzzzzzttttttt]
          NETCRAFT: Ah, thanks very much.
          GEEK: Not at all. See you on Thursday.

    • I'm amazed how many people seem incapable of reformatting and reinstalling Windows. People are bringing computers to me at work all the time asking for virii or, more often, spyware to be sorted out. Takes me about an hour while doing other things and I tend to get paid for it.
      • by bhtooefr (649901) <bhtooefr@bhtooef[ ]rg ['r.o' in gap]> on Saturday July 16, 2005 @03:09PM (#13082577) Homepage Journal
        Well, put yourself in Joe Blow's shoes.

        You put in the "Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 2" CD from your Dell, reboot, and it shows this weird blue screen that takes forever. It then comes up with some weird confusing stuff. If you get past that, then there's even more confusing stuff - stuff about NTFS, FAT, and partitions.

        Get that somewhat right, and it finally gets easy.

        Look at the easier Linux distros - put the CD in, boot, and it goes into a graphical setup that you can pretty much click Next on. Linux has surpassed Windows in ease of installation...
        • "You put in the "Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 2" CD from your Dell, reboot, and it shows this weird blue screen that takes forever. It then comes up with some weird confusing stuff. If you get past that, then there's even more confusing stuff - stuff about NTFS, FAT, and partitions"

          No, you don't. Most OEM PCs don't come with an install CD - they come with a "restore" CD that puts the disk back the way it was "out of the box". It's generally pretty easy to use, actually.

          "Linux has surpassed Wi
    • Surely you could at least just reformat the harddrive? Throwing out the whole PC seems a bit excessive.

      In fact, for Average Joe it can be quite a good solution - provided that the replacement computer is a Mac instead of just another Wintel. Seriously, if you use Windows and you are just a person with no technical understanding of computers, spyware will inevitably return.
    • The whole reason why they would throw out the computer is because the 'cost' of 'fixing' it is higher than the cost of a new one. Some computer repair places work like car mechanic joints. A basic diagnostic takes $25, plus whatever else they might do in addition to the $50 or so hourly labour rate. Depending on what they think the problem is and how much time it takes them to reinstall all the software, and fix the drivers, it might as well exceed the cost of a basic celeron ECS computer with 256MB ram and
    • It does sound excessive, but for people who can't fix it on their own it may make economic sense to. According to the summary "among those who spent money seeking a remedy, the average outlay was $129.". Frys was selling PC's without a monitor for $150 so for people who can't format the drive and reinstall themselves it is very nearly as cheap to buy a new PC as it is to pay someone else to fix it.
    • Sure you could. Back up your personal data, reformat the hard drive, reinstall OS and apps.

      Most of these people would be more comfortable performing an appendectomy on themselves then reinstalling their OS, however.
    • This seems to be a opportunity for Linux. Especially Ubuntu.

      As they are talking about older machines and the hassle of disinfecting them versus just a new computer (it actually sounds like an excuse to get a flashy new computer), I can't imagine anybody too happy about throwing their old boxes away but would they want to give it away infected or with all their data on it.

      I could see the box easily getting a second life and go to that person's little brother/sister, kid, what have you.

      Ubuntu would be the
    • Sounds rational to me.

      1. You throw out a computer.
      2. I go trash diving.
      3. ???????
      4. You buy a computer from me that is identical to your old computer for half the price. A win-win situation.
      5. Oh, profit!!
    • by Jasin Natael (14968) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @04:04PM (#13082922)

      Most people can't do that on their own. I do this for my longtime customers as a service, and it usually costs about $125.00-$150.00 to rent me out for an afternoon and get a full reformat. Some local screwdriver shops do this for about $50.00, but you have to leave your PC with them, you're solely responsible for backing up what you want to keep, and most of your applications will be missing when you get it back.

      However, I think that this article is indicative of an awful amount of waste that goes on in this country. Computers are some of the most environmentally harmful products to produce and/or dispose of, and here we've got someone advocating throwing a computer away and buying a new one just because they don't like what's loaded into it? It's not just our corporations that think with their wallets and damn the whole world, there are plenty of consumers who think that way too!

      Jasin Natael
      • It's not just our corporations that think with their wallets and damn the whole world, there are plenty of consumers who think that way too!

        In my opinion, throwing out a computer for such reasons doesn't even qualify as thinking with your wallet: As inexpensive as computers may be nowadays, it should still be cheaper to pay the local computer shop for a 'tune up' than to buy a completely new machine. Instead, it's acting on the basis of laziness, which I consider a far worse thing...

    • Surely you could at least just reformat the harddrive?
      Throwing out the whole PC seems a bit excessive..


      Reformat the hard drive. AND re-install the operating system. AND the virus scanner. AND the applications. AND download the patches.

      What is your time worth? Whenever I install a new system from scratch, it takes me about a day to get it the way I want it. If time is worth $50/hour, 8 hours of time alone is $400. So one is left with two choices:
      1) spend $400 in labour to fix the box, or 2) spend $400
    • I agree. According to the article a CS professor claimed "his two teenage sons were balking at spending the hours needed to scrub the old one clean of viruses, worms and adware."

      Reformatting a hard drive (and maybe installing Linux?) doesn't take hours. Maybe his sons were balking at keeping a 2-year-old computer when their dad was willing to buy a new one.
  • by jleq (766550) * <jleq96@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday July 16, 2005 @02:42PM (#13082375)
    Yeah... then your $400 new computer is going to get infected, are you going to throw it out and buy yet another? Average Joes don't want to run Linux, because their programs won't run on it (if they even know about Linux in the first place, chances are, they don't). Mac Minis don't count, because they're over $400. Hence, whoever wrote TFA could use an extra helping of logic.
    • by jleq (766550) *
      I'd also like to point out: shouldn't a PhD be able to keep spyware off of his computer in the first place? I don't have a problem on mine, thanks to the use of Mozilla Firefox. Hell, I don't have a problem at work either with the combination of IE + Microsoft AntiSpyware.
    • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @02:49PM (#13082443)
      Yeah... then your $400 new computer is going to get infected, are you going to throw it out and buy yet another?

      It does get your 20 minutes [theregister.co.uk] per PC though.

      My suggestion is: buy 24 $400 computers and switch every 20 minutes. That way, you can get a solid 8 hour day of work. When you're done, return them to the place you got them from and ask replacements, so you're good to go for another day :-)
    • "Average Joes don't want to run Linux, because their programs won't run on it"

      While you're pretty damn right, you know you can get hung around here talking like that?

      You need to badmouth SCO or something.... balance man, balance.
  • Of course! Genius! Throw out the computer!

    Rinse, lather and repeat as soon as the new computer is infected.

    Intel/Dell/etc must love this advice.
  • I knew it (Score:4, Funny)

    by VikingDBA (446387) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @02:43PM (#13082383)
    I knew the hardware companies were installing windows for a reason, repeat sales.
  • And remember... (Score:5, Informative)

    by pwnage (856708) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @02:43PM (#13082384)
    ...that once you throw out that old PC, remember to replace it with a Macintosh. Problem solved.
  • Bill says "thanks" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mistersooreams (811324) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @02:44PM (#13082400) Homepage
    Of course, when you throw out the PC, you then have to purchase a new copy of the operating system. In 99% of cases this is Windows. So you reduce the incentive for Microsoft to fix the spyware problem; in fact, you reward them for not fixing it! Quite brilliant! In fairness to Microsoft, Windows now does have a pretty good resistance to spyware, IF you run as user. The problem is that most people don't know what this means, how to do it, or anything of the sort. Education is the only solution. Note that I declined to make a "??? PROFIT!" joke in this post.
    • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @03:01PM (#13082523) Homepage
      In fairness to Microsoft, Windows now does have a pretty good resistance to spyware, IF you run as user. The problem is that most people don't know what this means, how to do it, or anything of the sort.

      Those that know, don't need to, and those that do, shouldn't even if they wanted to. I run as admin all the time, because it is simply much much easier. Running as a normal user is annoying at best due to all the stupid Windows software. A typical example (Win2k):

      User:
      1. Log out, log in as admin
      2. Install as admin
      3. Log back in as user
      4. ???
      5. Manually create shortcuts, menu folders, menu items, quicklaunch item and such for user.

      Admin:
      1. Install as admin

      It's amazing how many programs that still haven't clued in that installing account is not always identical to user account. That is not counting every other stupid problem, like some programs requiring admin rights to run or other stupidity.

      Kjella
      • by Eric604 (798298) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @03:37PM (#13082756)
        Most of time you can shift-click and select run-as on the installer. (also on 'windows update' and 'computer management'). If you need to do more complicated stuff you're ofcourse not a 'normal user' and should run as admin like you do.
      • It's amazing how many programs that still haven't clued in that installing account is not always identical to user account.

        Word of cheer(!) to the would-be switchers: Macs have this problem too.
        The installer of MacOS is assumed to be admin, the first acct created. For a single user machine the question is, should Joe-six-pack then make himself a non-admin acct. for everyday use, does he know how, and could he be bothered?

        Mac application installers can be just as stupid as Windows. Apple have provided
    • by mrchaotica (681592)
      No, the problem is that Windows is still so braindead that it defaults to administrator instead, and lots of Windows software is so braindead that it requires an administrator to install and run.

      If it were the user's problem, then Mac OS would suffer it also -- but it doesn't.
      • The big problem with that is that in order to break the vicious circle, somebody has to act - but nobody wants to go first.

        Microsoft doesn't want to default to unprivileged accounts when software is abundant that relies on administrator rights; software companies will continue to make use of administrator rights as long as they're available.

        The real problem here is that neither of them - nor Microsoft nor third-party software companies - actually feels the effects of the problems these invariably causes.
    • Before the subject gets taken out of context, let me explain. Reading the article, almost all the examples given are "my 4 year old Dell" or "my 4 year old HP." Four whole years ago, Windows ME was the most recent hunk of junk to come out of Redmond, so it wouldn't surprise me if all these repeat infections are occuring on Win9x systems. Also, machines of that era generally shipped with 64 or 128mb of RAM.

      As long as the computers are running Win9x, they will undoubtedly become reinfected, as Microsoft w
      • WRONG! (Score:3, Informative)

        by mrchaotica (681592)
        Thus, the only real way to ensure enough protection is to upgrade the operating system to the more secure XP.
        That's not the only way. Another (better!) solution would be to get a Mac instead.

        Granted, I expect you to ignore me since you profit from people not knowing about this option...
    • by dpilot (134227)
      Don't forget that when you replace that PC, you're throwing money at more than Microsoft. You're throwing it at Intel, at Maxtor/Seagate/Hitachi/WD/etc, at Dell/Compaq/etc, at ATI/nVidia, etc. Think of all the jobs you're helping create. Think of the CHILDREN! (of those people filling those jobs.) Think of the boost to the economy. Don't think of it as wasteful, think of it as Patriotic!

      On a slightly (but only slightly) more serious note, I wonder how many hardware makers stop to think about how many PCs a
  • ...add a bit more for adware/anti-virus software, or you will be "needing to" buy another (if you threw out a computer every time it got infected)?
  • Perfect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by platypus (18156) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @02:44PM (#13082405) Homepage
    Lazy/stupid people driving the IT economy ...

  • People are morons (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arthur B. (806360) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @02:45PM (#13082411)
    Still crawling to use a computer. Computers will soon look like fucking game consoles or TVs... people juste aren't into customization and advanced features. Sad but true. Technology has advanced to a point where average human intelligence begins to fail to keep up. -- moded -1 for despise ?
  • One solution (Score:2, Informative)

    Stop using IE and switch to Firefox.
  • So, you can throw out a crappy PC and buy a new one for $400 every year, OR you can buy a MacMini for $500, and use it for at least three years.

    And frankly, if you're spending $400 on a PC, the GPU is not going to be able to run many cutting-edge games anyway. So it's hard to see what a MacMini couldn't do for the average home user that a $400 POS Wintel box could...

    • Depends on your profession. There are a ton of vertical market apps that don't have Mac versions, which means at best they still have to shell out for VirtualPC with Windows XP. At worst, VirtualPC won't be sufficient and you'll have to buy a low-end PC anyway.

      For people who can't or don't telecommute, it's usually very easy to move over to the Mac. For people who do telecommute, VirtualPC usually worms its way in unless you work in a Mac shop.

      My dad pines for the kind of capabilities I have with iLife '0
  • Antibitrot (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196)
    I keep all my Windows installers archived in a respository, and repartition/reinstall periodically as an "end run" against viruses. I restore my data from backups. I wish config data, which can be infected (like the Registry) could be easily separated from "content data" - and I wish all my data were in a SQL database, so I could easily restore only the less-vulnerable content data, or at least review config data separately before restoring.

    Linux could have an even better system than this. I'd like a list
  • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @02:50PM (#13082455) Homepage
    ...how many continued their stupid practices, so they were instantly reinfected? I've seen people reinstall the exact same crapware after a clean-up, because that was stuff they "wanted". With that kind of model, your new machine will be infected instantly.

    Besides, hardware is only a tiny fraction of it. Transferring all data, installing all programs and configuring everything to the way you are used to, that is what takes time. Even with a pre-installed Windows, people want all their various gadgets (one driver CD each, which they can't find), e-mail, bookmarks etc.

    The only upside of that is that your old computer can serve as your back-up until you transfer it to the new one. Helluva expensive way to buy back-up on, though.

    Kjella
  • Rich and stupid? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by agi (17926)
    If you don't know how to clean your computer and it's cheaper to throw it away, please find some charity or way to make your computer available to those that can't even afford one.
    Probably their new owner will be willing to do the cleaning job or won't have internet connection to make spyware such a 'big' problem.
  • WTF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hector_uk (882132) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @02:51PM (#13082463)
    throw out the pc and buy a mac maybe but throw out the pc and buy annother cheap POS pc thats just stupidity. if you go out and buy a car and acid rain eats all the paint off and your car falls apart do you go and buy the exact same one? hell no you go buy an acid rain proof car.
  • Gas prices too expensive? Turns out that when your car runs of gas, it's more cost effective to simply trash your current car and buy a new one. Dealers will commonly give you the car with a full tank of gas.
  • Works for me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Craig Ringer (302899) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @02:52PM (#13082471) Homepage Journal
    Don't throw them out. Donate them to any of the number of PC refurbishment and training charities that you'll find. They can always use good gear.
  • Well, now I know where I'm going to get my next PC... the curb!

    I'm going to pick up every junked-by-idiots PC I find and reformat them, and implement some basic protections, and then sell them back to the idiots' neighbors.
  • If you're too incompetant to fix a PC, at least give it to a charity (or to me) where some use might be made of it.
  • by canuck57 (662392) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @02:54PM (#13082484)

    ...has an article about a new response to spyware - throw out the computer and buy a new one.

    The best solution I have ever seen is a tech walks into your office with a CD, Ctrl-Alt-Delete - boot to CD-ROM, enters your user ID and walks away saying keep the CD for next time you infect your machine. It boots from the CD re-installing the entire system.

    Users hate it as they store stuff on the local drive but soon learn corporate no-tolerance policy for keeping critical data on the local drive and loading unapproved often unlicensed software. The raw fact still remains, 90% of the corporate spyware issues can be tracked back to the users (mis)behavior.

    Tossing out the computer prematurely has several disadvantages, the logistics of disposal, acquisition and software licensing. It is unlikely replacing the system with the same Windows operating system is going to change much. Mind you if the replacement was a locked down system where the user could not load software.... That would have some obvious benefits.

  • Throw out the computer?

    What do they think will happen to the next computer? Be magically immune?

    Go to distrowatch and for a couple of bucks, order a linux cd of some flavor^_^ Cheaper and it will get rid of all your spyware and malware. Even the MS branded stuff! Something that ad-aware and spybot refuse to detect and correct for some reason^^

    Or go with Knoppix and have a decent boot-up cd so you can start up your computer and see what's wrong with it.

    Seriously, as if anyone were to buy a computer j
  • I need to upgrade my linux firewall - a quick reformat and Novell linux install will solve that problem for good. Heck, the PC they are tossing out is probably more powerful than my server.
  • Just pay $50 to somebody that can fix the computer (f.e. a geek). I think $50 will do it if you are too dumb to install AV ans AS scaners.
  • There's not alot... maybe some shit talking,e tc.... and writing spyware/malware.

    It's the most craptastically lowbrow malicious deceitful business model that really F's alot of people. I have so many friends that are just destroyed by this crap. Serious financial damage.

    So yeah, I'd deck a punk for it.
  • My mom did this! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jafac (1449) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @03:02PM (#13082528) Homepage
    Yeah, when her winxp computer got sogged up with spyware, after weeks of attempts to clean it up, she got rid of it and bought another computer;

    A Mac.
  • This is great! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fsck! (98098) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (redle.bocaj)> on Saturday July 16, 2005 @03:02PM (#13082534) Homepage
    This means more people buying Mac Minis, and more free year-old computers for the Linux community to develop, test, and play on. Bring on the competition for the two best alternatives to Microsoft's hegemony.
  • I think a good solution for these folks is to sell them this bundle:
    1. A CD that boots and automatically formats your hard drive.
    2. A Knoppix CD.

    Tell them to put the first CD in once. Afterwards just boot off the 2nd CD. Modify Knoppix so that it will save all your personal files to the now formatted hard drive and would only start programs off the Knoppix CD.

    Market the bundle for $15.
    Profit!
  • The article ignores the hidden costs of discarding your prior work with the PC you are throwing away.

    You will have to:

    1. Reinstall your applications (including a new XP license).
    2. Locate your critical data files from the earlier disk.
    3. Move said files to the new computer in such a way as to retain their function.
    4. When hidden dependencies that you haven't accounted for produce errors, you must deal with them and run the risk that failure to have done so has already corrupted the state of your new install.
  • I picked up a decent Compaq Desktop for $5 today at a garage sale, the woman said it 'was running slow' It came with the system restore disk, never opened.
  • Here's the recommended procedure for 2007:


    1. Give away malware-infested PC to local Linux geek
    2. Buy Intel-based Mac
    3. Enjoy malware-free MacOS computing
    4. (optional) if you still need to run Windows programs, install VMWare and run them on the virtual machine. If (when?) the virtual machine becomes infested with malware, delete it and create a new one.

  • by nukenerd (172703) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @03:18PM (#13082644)
    People buy new PCs not necessarily because they have spyware or spam bots - many would not realise it. They just find their PC is slow so they think they need a new, faster one.

    Even if they knew they had spyware, they would not have a clue how to remove it anyway. They might "rationalise" a new PC with arguments about the cost of their time, but that is just a comfort factor thrown in. Maybe they fancied a new PC and this is an excuse to the wife.

    I once worked in a research lab. One day someone building electronics dropped a resistor on the floor. Four of us, professional engineers, then spent the next hour debating whether or not it was cost effective for one of us to spend 5 seconds picking it up. I argued that it would take just almost as long to reach for a new one from the rack. I don't remember if it was picked up in the end.

    Such debates are sterile - in the end you argue yourself into never doing anything.
  • by pe1chl (90186) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @04:19PM (#13083010)
    throw out the computer and buy a new one.

    A Dutch public prosecutor did exactly this. He bought a new computer after his old one got infested with malware and viruses. He put the old one out on the street as garbage.

    That got very nasty. Ultimately it cost him his job, because confidential correspondence was leaked when someone picked it up and examined the disk.

    In the end he was lucky not to be prosecuted himself, for having child pornography on the system. However, that set some nice precedence: apparently it is no problem to have something on your system when it has gotten there "unintentionally".
  • by xs650 (741277) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @07:06PM (#13083871)
    Let's see if I have this right.

    1. Clueless user gets rid of old Windows PC
    2. Clueless user installs or has installed the same old software he had.
    3. Still clueless user continues same behaviors he was doing, only on a new computer.
    4. New computer becomes infested or otherwise hosed up.
    4. Repeat.

    One of the definitions of insanity is repeatedly doing the same behavior and expecting different results.
  • by tfcdesign (667499) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @07:57PM (#13084073) Journal
    Not only do new computers strain the environment, but old computers need to be disposed of. It costs a great deal more than $400 to make a new computer, make the old computer, and dispose of the old computer.

    But what to you expect from the NY Times? Shortsighted and made up is their motto.

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