Sunday, July 25, 2010

Windows Support Mode

After spending several hours repairing my wife's grandmother's computer from a trojan infection, I realized that, unless I want to spend more time on support, there needs to be a better solution for helping family members on their computers.

In this case, me wife's Grandmother has several behaviors that increase the likelihood that she will be infected.

  1. She installs random software that she downloads from the Internet.

  2. She often runs her programs using "Run as Administrator"

I am tempted to remove Windows from these computers, and install Ubuntu, but I think that this would be a steep learning curve for her, and I would still need to set up a way for her to run windows programs (Wine or VMWare)

If I had more time to dedicate to support, I could change her account to a non-Administrator account level.  But then, everytime she wanted to install some softeare, or run a Windows Update that prompts for administrator access, I would have to do that.  Unfortunately, we are local to her, and I don't have the time to manage all of these things remotely.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Windows Home Server Restore

Last weekend, I decided to upgrade the hard drive on our Dell XPS m1330.  I was pleasently surprised how easy it was to remove and replace the hard drive from the laptop.  Since I use Windows Home Server to back up all of our computers, I was expecting a similarly easy time to restore the data to the new hard drive.  Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

I booted the computer with the Window Home Server PC restore CD, with the laptop connected to the network, and attempted to have the restore software find the sever, but the software wasn't able to find the server.  It turns out that the restore CD didn't have the drivers for the ethernet interface.  The restore software can load any needed drivers from a floppy or usb drive.  I copied the contents of the CD that contains the drivers for the m1330 onto a thumb drive, and when the software searched for any needed drivers, it wasn't able to find any.

It turns out that Dell didn't put the ATA or ethernet drivers on the driver CD for the m1330.  I was able to download those drivers manually and put them on a thumb drive, and was able to restore the data to the new drive.

Now, I will just label the and keep the thumb drive for whenever I need to restore that computer

Chrome to Phone

Chrome to Phone is a pretty cool project.  With this Chrome extension and Android applicaiton, you can send links to web pages to your phone.  I use this for:

  • Sending a location from Google Maps to your phone, where you can easily get start navigating to the destination

  • Sending web page url to the phone, where it can be viewed