Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Computer Cleanup

One thing leads to another. New laptop for youngest son arrived via DHL yesterday. Son was overjoyed, but he is off at college, 7 hours away by road. So son asks if I could start it up, make sure it truly has XP and not ugly Vista. And then could I do some of my Windows XP speedup magic to it?
So, first thing is to port Zone Alarm (free firewall) over from my desktop, so new machine can go on the internet without instant virus infection. According to the trade journals, a new Windows machine will be infected within 10 minutes of going on the net without a firewall. So I gotta burn a CD to move all the goodies off my desktop (Blackbox by name) over to son's new laptop (InlineSkater) It's been a while since backup to CD, so let's kill two birds with one stone. I'll backup and then install Zone Alarm and other goodies from the backup CD.
So, to save time and CD's I always do a bit of disk cleanup before backup so as to avoid wasting CD space on trash. And avoid confusing myself if I ever have to restore from the backup CD. For disk cleanup I still use an ancient piece of freeware/shareware called EZCleaner. The ancient version is free, the programmer, a young kid in Finland, is now charging money for his handiwork. Being a cheap bastard I keep running the freeware version to save a couple a bucks. It's good stuff.
EZCleaner zapped a 100 megabytes of stuff, and I blew away a backup of daughter's laptop and few DVD movies by hand. Freed up four gigabytes of disk. Then I started up my freeware/shareware CD burn program (DeepBurner) . Loaded the last burn script, and Deep burner informed me that I needed a 1 gigabyte CD to fit everything on. Hmm, plumpness has infected my 200 GB hard drive.
Some time later, I managed to fit everything I cared about one two CD's, 0.6 Gigabytes apiece, Saved two new burn scripts, and two freshly burned CD's.
Now that the urge to clean is upon me, I ran my freeware antivirus, F-Prot. It's an old DOS program, it's free, and it even automatically downloads new virus definition files. DOS programs run like lightening compared to Windows programs. I got into F-Prot after Norton Antivirus expired some years ago. I tried to renew Norton, but all that happened was my credit card took a hit, but Norton never worked again. Later I ran into a weirdo bug caused by old dead Norton .dll files left on my disk. Although some googling was able to fix the bug, I have sworn off Norton for the duration.
So, last trick, run Lavasoft Ad-Aware, a freeware anti malware program that specializes in ad programs that slip into your machine via the net. Step one for any malware scan program is to update the malware definition files that drive the program. After clicking on "update malware definitions" the program trundled along and after a decent interval announced that the download failed. So I tried the alternate manual update procedure listed in the help file. No dice.
Some googling revealed that "Ad-Aware SE" was now obsolete and no longer supported, but "Ad-Aware 2007" was now free and supported. A direct attempt to download Ad-Aware 2007 thru the Lavasoft site led into a cul-de-sack that required me to sign up for expensive junkware in order to get the anti-malware software I started out for. Fortunately more googling got me to a site that let me just download "Ad-Aware 2007" and run it.
The Ad-aware run proudly discovered 343 tracking cookies (fairly innocuous items) and I duly zapped them all. Program reminds me of my cat, which proudly brings back every mouse, chipmunk, and bird that she catches to show them to me.
Thus endeth computer cleanup for today.

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