Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ubuntu is Best Linux for Beginners

Ubuntu is one of countless Linux flavours. Users have plenty of choice when it comes to Linux, yet Ubuntu has become a clear winner. Why? There are many reasons, I'm sure each of you will have a different reason but for me apt-get is the killer app.

I first looked at Linux when Red Hat was King; I purchased Red Hat 5.1 in fact I still have the boxed set on a bookshelf somewhere. Things have changed since then; when I think back my biggest complaint and I think many novice users would agree was the hassle of installing software. Downloading and compiling from source was a sad state of affairs. On the other hand once you got comfortable with ./configure ./make and all that jazz you have dependancy hell to deal with. No wonder many were turned off by Linux. Some of you may argue rpm's helped, yes I would agree. But if there was a dependancy problem rpm's were rather useless. I recall countless hours of shear agony and frustation attempting dependancy resolution.

Enter Debian based Ubuntu with apt-get and its repository heaven.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Windows Explorer Not Starting at Boot

Recently I had an interesting experience with an infected laptop. A rogue Anti Virus product called Antivirus GT made it unusable. First off Antivirus GT is fake, it does not clean any infected files in fact it downloads nasty spyware to your computer. Secondly every time you boot, it displays a fake virus scan window (see image above) showing various infected files. Then it promises to clean all infections if you buy a license.

One byproduct of Antivirus GT is it screws windows explorer. Let me explain, once you remove Antivirus GT you'll find windows explorer is no longer available at boot time; result ~no desktop. At this point do the three finger salute (CTRL-ALT-DEL) start Task Manager and manually start windows explorer by executing explorer.exe from File, New Task (Run..) However what you'll find is Windows complains it cannot find explorer.exe in "C:\Windows" even though file is clearly there.

After Googl'ing for solutions, finding and trying many different things I found the answer. From my limited programming experience Windows has a Debug option by enabling the following registry key HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows NT/Current Version/Image File Execution Options/explorer.exe By enabling Debugging explorer.exe is not available, is not started by the operating system nor can it be started manually. I had to delete Debug Key, reboot and viola desktop loaded.