MY OPINIONS ABOUT THE NEW MOVE BY UBUNTU

In recent blog posts, it is made quite clear that Ubuntu intends to collect user data. This option will be opt out at installation, but It will be kept fine print because Ubuntu really wants that information. Windows 10, Mac OS and even apple’s own iOS making news with shady privacy and performance hitting stuff lately, this was bound to happen eventually. Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, the popular Linux distribution for new users, have proposed to collect hardware and software information from fresh installs of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. With this data, they have agreed to only use it to make Ubuntu better, but when given how much information they will be collecting and considering what other companies have done with our data in the past, is it really a great choice to trust Canonical with our information?

Derivatives can potentially say no to this. There are options for developers of other distributions underneath Ubuntu’s umbrella. Linux Mint, Bodhi, etc. These distributions have their own say on what goes in or comes out every day, assuming that this ubiquity installer could be forked like any other software is no stretch. Also, if the developer team didn’t want to change the installer completely, they could opt to use a slightly older installer in the mean time, there are even other installer options available. Manjaro, Arch, Antergos, all have installers that are in no way connected to Ubuntu. A Linux youtuber recently raised the question, “What are you going to do?” with regards to the individual develoers behind such derivatives of the popular operating system. It is a good question indeed. A few distributions that are currently unaffected by this change are Manjaro, Antergos, Arch Linux itself, Apricity and Debian(The distribution that Ubuntu is based on). There are many forks and derivatives of Debian that were not mentioned, but the idea is the same for those as well.

While Ubuntu’s intentions might be good, it’s no small thing that they mentioned this right as all of this other data collecting and obsolecense is going on. Right on the heels of Windows 10 and MacOs, so too is Ubuntu progressively taking a step in the same direction. While it is understandable that this information might make things better in Ubuntu, there are plentiful users out there now who would gladly turn over a brief text file of system information to Canonical if the user has the control of the situation. At the end of the day, it’s up to you as the individual on whether you would keep trusting Canonical or not, but for the most part, Manjaro is a great and stable option for those who just want the spying and telemetry to end. Debian is also an option for new users. Debian is stable and doesn’t have Popcon and Apport like Ubuntu does. Not to mention, Debian is quite shy about allowing just any software into its repositories. While there is a testing branch, it is probably still a safer bet at this time than Ubuntu 18.04 if the proposal indeed passes. More on this as it becomes known.

VIVALDI BROWSER REVIEW AND SHORT TUTORIAL

For people in 2018 who are looking for a fast, stable, and flexible browser, Vivaldi more than does its share in that department. Vivaldi is a browser built by Norse company Vivaldi AS in Oslo, Norway. Vivaldi hasn’t been around as long, it was only released in 2016, but even at time of release, many users found it to be almost on par with every other long-lived and stable browser on the market. Vivaldi is built on open source software Chromium, with a more proprietary finish on top. They often rely on chromium codecs or codecs found on your system to handle playback, for this reason, Vivaldi might take some tweaking to get fully working on some Arch systems.

Vivaldi doesn’t track its users, the founder of Vivaldi was the co-founder of Opera and many of his beliefs during his time at Opera came to Vivaldi with him. In Norway, there are stronger regulations dealing with tracking and the like as opposed to the United States. Not to get too political in this review, but the founder of Vivaldi himself has been cited saying that there needs to be better regulation with regards to the immense level of tracking that goes on these days. Note, Vivaldi doesn’t track users, however, they do collect platform information to determine the userbase across Windows, Mac and Linux, if this bothers you, you can choose another browser, but most browsers these days collect copious amounts of data.

Vivaldi browser is feature rich out of the box, something that many browsers today are lacking, it has innovation, changeable and configurable interface design. The browser at time of writing is based on Chromium 64, the latest version to date. Both versions of Vivaldi have that in common. Yes, for those who want bleeding edged software, Vivaldi has a Snapshot option that caters to you. Vivaldi-Snapshot features all the usual configurations and tab stacking with the added sync feature. Sync is a feature that Opera has had for a while now and Vivaldi only recently started implementing it. The reason was always that Vivaldi wanted to do it correctly before passing it on to mainstream. As far as I can tell, the feature really does do what it says. I have yet to notice any complications. The browser opens quick in the new Snapshot version which is version 1.15 on their website(my version is 1.15.1099.3). For all other users, there is a 1.14 version that is currently the stable channel.

Upon start up, Vivaldi has a quick setup menu which runs you through a few steps to make Vivaldi look the way you want it to, but it doesn’t go very in depth. To get more settings, you have to click on the V icon in the Left-top-corner of the browser window  and go to Tools > Settings. The Settings dialogue pops up with various settings. Each configuration has its own separate tab. Themes, Appearance, Start Page, etc. Under appearance, I usually check the box that allows settings to open in a new tab.  This will make settings take a full page next time. If you want performance over crazy effects and features, the settings tab under Appearance might also have benefits for you, This tab also lets you set or unset animations and use native window management(Adds a native looking border around window). This might be helpful on lower spec systems. Also disabling fast forward buttons in address bar might help as well.

When it comes to features, Vivaldi definitely has something for everyone, a browser built with power users in mind. Vivaldi also offers keyboard and mouse gestures. The browser allows for tab stacking and rearranging which is something that other browsers don’t seem to have at the current moment. Vivaldi has a function that controls audio in tabs, but sadly, doesn’t let you pause background tabs which play video out right. To do this, you kind of have to go into the tab bar and right-click and look for Hibernate Background Tabs option. This will essentially slowdown, or completely stop running tabs in the background which is fantastic if RAM and processor power are important to you. Vivaldi is definitely a fine replacement for Chrome and Firefox as of 2018. For more information, go to their website, link below.

Link to Vivaldi website: https://vivaldi.com

Link to podcast featuring Jon von Tetzchner: https://vivaldi.com/blog/jon-speaks-to-the-community/?utm_content=buffer573e9&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=VivaldiSocial

FOLLOW UP TO THE EARLIER ARTICLE ABOUT THE MELTDOWN/SPECTRE VULNERABILITY

Earlier today, I published an article here on my blog about the recent flaws found in kernels and processor firmware. I was a bit vague and unclear, but after doing more reading, I can give you a small set of instructions in regards to possible workarounds for now. These are just temporary and they may include a potential increase in RAM usage for those using these applications. Google-Chrome has yet to release their own workarounds inside the browser for the mentioned vulnerabilities on their side, however, the Chromium project released a small post about how users could reduce the attack vector in the browser by enabling one or two possible back end features themselves. Here I will attempt to better explain what this is and how to reduce your own vulnerability, assuming that you’re on Chrome or another chromium based browser.

The recent vulnerabilities are targeted at all processor architectures and as I previously mentioned, do make use of Kernel memory via going through the User as before now the kernel had no way to stop this, but recently, it appears that AMD has increased their own security on the issue and the Linux kernel now uses something called KPTI(Kernel Page Table Isolation) Which essentially allows the kernel to separate itself from Userspace in memory. It’s like a wall between what a user is doing on a PC and what the PC is doing in the background. This is only further boosted when certain mitigation techniques are taken inside of net facing applications. Google- Chrome has a back end flags page which holds a wealth of experimental security and performance enhancing features. This same back end applies to both Opera as well as Vivaldi.

To enable this feature of Site Isolation or Strict Site Isolation you must do the following:

  1. Open up Google-Chrome, Opera, or Vivaldi

  2. Go into the address bar and type Chrome://flags or Opera://flags for Opera

  3. Search for enable-site-per-process

  4. Next to Strict “Site Isolation”, click enable

  5. Relaunch the browser

Most all chromium based browsers now have this setting at the moment. I wouldn’t count on this being there forever though, each update with Chrome and something changes. This is a good temporary adjustment that you can do to limit the amount of sites being opened in a single process. This will increase memory by possibly as much as 20% though. As I said earlier, future updates in the next week or so will include other workarounds inside the browser that effect buffer array and timing which are a couple of things that this attack would rely on.

As I mentioned in the last article, Pale Moon was not vulnerable as far as I can tell. The developer always does great work securing certain features that the Mozilla team haven’t thought of yet. As far as Mozilla goes, version 57.0.4 of Firefox should include a timing adjustment that slows this attack in its tracks. Intel seems hesitant to fix anything, but at least AMD have stepped up their game a bit. This vulnerability was known about for years and AMD already implemented basic safeguards for this sort of atrocity Short of physical access though, you’re pretty much safe at this point. I would make haste though for anyone running Linux to either search in their repositories for a newer version of the kernel or possibly look into compiling their on from source on kernel.org. More updates will be out next week and Google will update Chrome by the end of January.

More Reading: https://forum.manjaro.org/t/kernel-page-table-isolation-kpti-severe-arm-intel-cpu-bug-hits-partly-amd/37506

https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/7623121

LINUX FIREWALL APPLICATIONS pt.1

The Linux firewall is managed by a service called Iptables. Iptables is a net-filter built into the Linux or Unix kernel. It is used even when third party applications are called. Iptables was initially released in 1998, but since has had a rewrite in favor of a new utility to be written into the kernel. People still use Iptables, most companies utilize this over third party applications just because they don’t want a middle man in between them and the computer’s settings. It is also more powerful using Iptables over third party applications as well because you’re interacting directly with the Kernel. Some third party applications that I frequently use include UFW for command line working with the firewall and GUFW for a gui for t he same command line firewall. Fedora and Red Hat have their own firewall service as firewall daemon. The Linux firewall is more robust than the Windows firewall in that it doesn’t try to discriminate traffic. It tells the user in the form of logs who is talking to each port.

The Linux firewall is easy to set up on most Debian and Arch-based systems. Simply type the following command to check the status of the current configuration: sudo ufw status verbose. This will tell you any services you have rules set for and will tell you whether or not the firewall is active. If the firewall is not active on startup, it’s possible that the service was not started in your init system. Most systems use Systemd for their initialization service now, so we will use that in this case. To enable the firewall in this case, use the command sudo systemctl enable ufw && sudo systemctl start ufw. This will initialize the firewall service in Systemd after giving Systemd control of it. To disable you would simply use sudo systemctl stop ufw && sudo systemctl disable ufw.

Assuming that you’ve started your firewall in the init system on your computer, it’s a good idea to issue the command to the program itself sudo ufw enable. This command will enable the firewall on your current active session. Once completed, most users won’t need extra tampering and configuration to be done to their firewall, however, if you wish to tinker, or if you use certain services that the firewall doesn’t already have a preset for, it might be a good idea to allow that service through. It also might be a good idea to set some deny rules for some services you don’t use, such as SSH and TELNET. These two services are fun to use, they allow a user to communicate with their computer remotely, but they are often seen as a potential attack vector as well. To deny a service, it’s straight-forward. All you have to do is type sudo ufw deny and the service name. For example, we’ll use SSH. Type sudo ufw deny ssh. That’s it, you’re done, but I should warn you, if you use SSH, it’s a bad idea to do this. Also, if you torrent a lot, it might be wise to set up port forwarding. Port forwarding is done by allowing a service through a specific port with a specific protocol and then setting that application or service to use that same port. For example, sudo ufw allow transmission-gtk. This tells UFW to allow all incoming through the port that Transmission(Bittorrent client) uses. It would then be a good idea to type sudo ufw reload to reload the firewall to accept the new settings.

My bash scripts on github, also have the ability to enable the firewall and set ssh and telnet to deny for you should you wish.

https://github.com/thedummy06/Helpful-Linux-Shell-Scripts

VIVALDI LIMITED HTML5 IN MANJARO AND WHAT I DID TO GET IT WORKING WITHOUT USING THE AUR

I did a bit of a review on Vivaldi before. I said that the browser was good and had a great team behind it, I also spoke briefly about the endless array of features within it. What I didn’t mention is codecs support and how it differs heavily from Opera in this regard. Most browser rely heavily upon the Operating system for codecs as well as their own supporting library packages. Most of these have libraries for extra codecs in the AUR on an Arch-based distribution. This is fine, but installing packages from the AUR takes a lot of time and installing FF mpeg codecs for Vivaldi takes even longer. What I did to avoid this step was to install opera and it’s extra codec support which are both found in the standard repositories right now in Manjaro. I then proceeded to go into the terminal and find where the new library was placed for Opera. In my case, it was in /usr/lib/opera/ and under the directory of lib_extra. I went into this directory via terminal and used t he command sudo cp libffmpeg.so and pointed it to my Vivaldi directory in /opt/vivaldi. Vivaldi uses the same rendering engine as opera, so this wasn’t enough to break the browser, it also gives me almost full html5 support on Youtube. Many videos didn’t play because they used a non standard codec. This was annoying to say the least. Anyway, what you may find is that there is already a basic libffmpeg library in /opt/vivaldi/lib/, however, that library is limited to basic support. This is the extra package. Furthermore, if your browser is already open, it’d be a good idea to close and reopen it. Vivaldi is an extremely good browser, it’s more than a contender for Opera when you are willing to get your hands dirty.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE AND MANJARO’S UPCOMING STABLE RELEASE

Manjaro’s last stable release posted on their homepage was 17.06. Since this time, the team have worked hard on yet another stable release code named Hakoila and is set to be released soon. So far, the release has recently hit the stable channel as of time of this writing. 17.1 rolls out a new kernel amongst many other package changes. The new kernel is linux414. The team recently fixed a network regression as well as other issues. The kernel is not considered technically LTS yet, but as of this month it should roll out as one. The team also fixed several issues with Calamares, their installer. I have also fixed a few more issues I found in my scripts not working the way I wanted, I added a list of packages to potentially be installed and a loop which allows the user to install one and then see the list again until each package that he or she wants is installed. The loop will discontinue once the user types the number 27. I also added a prompt that asks the user if they want to uninstall unwanted software along with removing orphaned packages in the tuneup scripts. Certain themes weren’t being installed in all repositories in Manjaro so I just went with what the Stable release was doing this time. I recently had a fiasco with Linux Mint. In my testing I installed it on my system and the next day the network just stopped. I troubleshooted of course. I restarted the service a dozen times, I checked the cable, modem and the router. I put an older router on. Nothing I did seemed to work. I even tested the live environment I installed from again and it worked. I assume that this was a debacle with the Kernel and my hardware, however, I can’t be fully certain. All I know is I ended up reinstalling a stable Manjaro 17.1 which gave me back full network access and the ability to keep working on my scripts. More editions will be made in the near future, I’m just settling back down now, I got a new SSD and though I haven’t found a way to install in the Inspiron 531 yet, I have got some ideas. I also made a fresh release on my github of the scripts in an organized zip package. The hosts file updater that I posted on github is just a first iteration of what’s to come. It is manual right now, but it does check for your distribution and restarts the network based on that so the user doesn’t have to worry about it working and have three different scripts. I may add new lists in the future, but for now I’m thinking about just turning it into a selector which makes each selection into a separate script file and runs the file to update the hosts file instead of making it the only thing you have, then you will have an automatic solution as well. It will be on the user to put it in Cron tab but the script file will run the same selection without the need for so much user input in the future.

LINK TO GET THE LAST STABLE RELEASE OF MANJARO:

https://manjaro.org/get-manjaro/

LINK TO SCRIPTS:

https://github.com/thedummy06/Helpful-Linux-Shell-Scripts

UBUNTU NOT WHAT IT COULD BE

It’s a sad day when trying to convert back to Ubuntu 16.04.3 you find that it just isn’t what it was in 16.04.1. When you find that it was downhill then and has slowly and progressively crept down the slippery slope to its demise. I once recommended this for new users, but I can’t now. I never have the issues in Manjaro that I have in Ubuntu. Ubuntu 16.04.3, from my standpoint, seems extremely buggy and impossible to use. So I’m sticking with what I know for now. Where I am I get the most up to date packages and I don’t have to deal with constant alerts telling me that something new crashed in the background. Everything crashes in Ubuntu for me right now, everything. I know that I could just remove apport, but to me that takes something away from the distribution itself. Earlier, I was testing some new features I’m working on for my scripts and one of them was to determine intelligently what distribution a user was running without making the user do anything. All of a sudden, I get this alert telling me that Opera browser crashed, I open Firefox, close it with the usual window manager button to close and it says that Firefox has crashed. I even tried to restart and it told me that that had crashed.

Don’t get me started on the trouble I had with Linux Mint 18.3 this evening. One silver lining is that I was able to complete a bit of testing and I found that it does work like I suspected, however, this is ridiculous. The Opera version I was playing with in Ubuntu was actually one point newer than the version I now have in Manjaro, which is kind of odd. Nevertheless, it is completely buggy, I realize that others may use this system, but I can no longer recommend it to anyone. At any rate, I now have a copy of Manjaro and I’m putting it back on the USB. I have to say, this just works beautifully, even though there are some things that I personally would change or fix to better suit the darker themes. I digress, I guess I have to go back to supporting and recommending this.

Quick update, I did mention that I was working on the scripts that I wrote, but it is moving a bit slow this season, I’m guessing complete overhaul will be ready by April or May. I still have a few things to test before I make it an official part of the scripts. I am considering bringing everything together into one huge script with upwards of 600 lines… I am not sure yet about the installer, but I took some ideas from Joe Collins. He’s a really great guy, albeit very opinionated.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BadEditPro

http://www.ezeelinux.com

He’s a bit of Linux Mint fan boy, but I can’t hold that against him. He’s more proficient in it than I am. Anyway, I am definitely planning some big changes on my git hub and possibly beyond that now. I am already working on it, just ironing out some stuff. This will cut down on many hours of script writing because many of these work on multiple distributions and Manjaro and Antergos work almost seamlessly together so there isn’t any real big difference between the two scripts and so I won’t need to support three different distributions as much anymore if this works. This is something I’ve been pondering doing since I wrote them all in the first place. I was even planning on supporting Fedora a bit in 2018, but I’m not sure how my schedule will hold, it is a goal. But that requires me to test it for long hours. Plus it’ll be number three again :(. Every little thing I do will have to be tested. RPM package managers are really not my strong suite, but I will need some enterprise knowledge if I am ever to land a dream job of maintaining servers later on.

Anyways, Happy Holidays and be safe everyone!

A BEAUTIFUL TALE OF HOW UBUNTU MET LENOVO

I only heard this romantic story on Tuesday evening on youtube and again found it today on OMGUBUNTU. Link below. But apparently an interim release of Ubuntu destroyed the latest model of Lenovo laptops. This included the Lenovo Yoga line. The laptop series that this happened on was marked down for Christmas. The laptops are now no longer able to save time and date settings a long with a host of other settings effecting user hardware. This essentially makes the laptops useless. Canonical and the Ubuntu team seem very upset and want to get to the bottom of the issue, but it appeared yesterday that Lenovo just didn’t care. Lenovo told one user in the forums to simply get a new motherboard and this was said in a way that seems they didn’t bother to test their laptops at all before they released them. If the BIOS on the laptops are indeed borked up, this would mean that inadequate testing went into their product before it reached the shelf. I’ve made mention of Lenovo in the past and it wasn’t all good. Take care this Christmas when buying devices. Read documentation fully and never get anything just because it is free or on sale. One source on the issue even said that Lenovos were in his opinion “cheap”. It is possible for users to currently flash the BIOS and reinstall a working copy or an updated version, but this is not something that just anyone knows how to do. Not to mention, it is a cliffhanger, it takes time to work and you have to wait for it to finish before rebooting and testing the status of the device. If this happened to me, I would personally try pulling the CMOS battery and leaving it out for up to 5 minutes and seeing if this fixes the issue, if not, it may be an issue with the BIOS firmware itself, in which case, you’re better off trying your luck flashing the BIOS. I have successfully done this in the past, I may even make a tutorial about it in 2018. Ubuntu has said that there is a fix on the way though. Supposedly a new image of the distribution with an updated kernel and drivers would fix the issue, but OMGUBUNTU warns that it won’t fix those computers that already got borked up.

OMGUBUNTU LINK:

http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2017/12/ubuntu-corrupting-lenovo-laptop-bios

REALLY GREAT NEWS FOR THE WEB AND FOR FIREFOX USERS PLUS UNRELATED TOPICS

Firefox 58 will soon ship with the option to toggle on and off the system title bar. This toggle will be at the bottom left under the customization window, it is already there in nightly, but it is a mixed bag about which systems it will work on. It has worked on mine, but in return I can’t move the window around. Still, it is a possible that they will have the kinks worked out by the time it reaches stable. Also, HTTP is being replaced by HTTPS. What this means is that websites that use HTTPS will be encrypted, meaning most if not all of your traffic will be shielded from third parties being able to see what you’re doing there. Most websites already implemented this before in regards to credit car and billing information autofills, but now browsers are going to start marking HTTP as unsecure, which will drive many websites to start getting their act together and making HTTPS the new standard. I should also point out that the EFF foundation is planning to continue fighting for net neutrality in the upcoming year. The fight is still on and I’m sure improvements will be made to their extensions as well. It is in part because of HTTPSeverywhere that many sites became HTTPS proficient.

Some more good news, Redhat is working on “Bolt” a successor to their “Thunderbolt3” security protocols which gives the kernel a set of instructions regarding USB devices. It includes levels to which the device must adhere, this would prevent malicious code from being spread via USB or other portable devices. This will not only service Red Hat, but later it will service all linux distributions in the future. The kernel already has certain parameters in place for securing against things like this but the it is still missing something. Red Hat are still developing “Bolt” and only the first iteration has been released, but so far, “Thunderbolt3” as it is called is faster than USB and is already in use in other systems besides Linux. What Red Hat is planning will bring it to home devices eventually. This story is relatively new and more specifics can be found here:

http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2017/12/project-bolt-improves-thunderbolt-security-linux

Manjaro have released a new rc version of Manjaro 17.1. If you already had manjaro installed you won’t have to do anything. If you are installing new, you will have to go to their website and download a copy of the operating system. Manjaro adds the Calamares installer to a sturdy Arch-based system. Manjaro has many applications installed by default, however, they leave many configurations to their users. Manjaro users have the ability to access the AUR among the four other fully stocked repos. Lastly, manjaro comes in two mainstay versions, the KDE and the XFCE, with Gnome recently being added to their front line. To download this amazing distribution of Linux go to:

https://osdn.net/projects/manjaro/storage/xfce/17.1-rc1/

or:

https://manjaro.org/get-manjaro/

Also in Manjaro, Manjaro has another community project starting called WebDad. WebDad, is a new Iso of Manjaro using the Just Another Desktop Environment desktop. It is mean to be useful to web developers and programmers. This Desktop Environment allows the user to divide programs into different workspaces and then halt those programs as needed to allow the space in which they are developing to take full advantage of all of their hardware. This is an alpha project right now and should be treated as such if tested. You can get it on sourceforge right now, but I am sure that Manjaro will host it on their own community site as well eventually. The workspaces are supposed to be somewhat intelligent in design. They are supposed to be able to prioritize processes for you.

You can get it here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/manjaro-webdad/.

 https://forum.manjaro.org/t/manjaro-webdad-community-edition/34571

Microsoft has finally released an Openssh client inside of Windows 10 now, I’ll leave that one up to you…

Opera recently made it back in the news over their rebranding to Otello now, they assured their users that they would remain Opera in Norway and that they would be privately owned there. Opera is the development team behind the beloved web browser. I say that, but it hasn’t gotten nearly the love and attention these days that it needs. This is why that over a year ago the investors in the company decided to allow a buy out by a Chinese company. The same company that brought you Qihoo. The company has not been well known for a good a reputation, but it remains to be seen how this will effect the Opera browsing software. Opera browser released Ad Blocking and VPN over a couple of releases back in 2016, only a few months before the Chinese Consortium started talking buy out. The company wants to get Opera exposed more thoroughly in India and other places. India currently doesn’t user Opera browser as widely as America, China and other countries do. Opera was overall quite positive about the deal, however, some of its board members and employees were disgruntled with the idea at first. Only time will tell what kind of impact this will have on the browser itself. I wouldn’t say it’s bad just yet. I will keep my eyes peeled.

In unrelated news, this new year will see some personal changes for me as well. I will still be trying to get better as a writer on this blog. I’ll still devote time to it as much as possible, but I’ll also be spending a lot more time focusing on honing my own programming skills. I’ll be working on RUBY, PYTHON, HTML and CSS mostly. These are my go to languages aside from shell. I really hope to further improve my scripts on github and further my knowledge of the platform as well. I hope that by the end of the year I might have either more features added, or that I will be able to make them more user-friendly. I have some ideas in mind. I also hope to move my blog perhaps later on in the year. Maybe not a drastic change, it might not happen all right away, but I have been thinking about that, looking at other platforms, maybe wordpress even. That’s kinda where the HTML and CSS might come in handy later on down the road. I may also start working on my own website by the end of the year as well. Just some things to think about, I haven’t really had time, with dad’s business on the side and my own health and well being getting in the way sometimes.

I do hope to devote more time to my work on the blog though overall. Seeing as this is the time of year, I’d like to say that I am very thankful for the ones who do read my articles. It means a lot to me, this is something I wanted to start doing mainly just to show myself that I could. You guys have made this worth while. I started this blog because I knew that I needed to motivate myself to write, I used to be a poet, I still feel like one at heart, but life gets in the way sometimes. I do hope that some of you will continue to follow the blog in the next year and year after that. I do have some new stuff planned and coming soon.

POST INFECTION TUNE UP

Assuming you’ve followed my steps on cleaning out an infected computer, you may or may not still have a few weird or unused applications on your system, but most of the task bar nonsense in Windows has stopped. Most of the errors have ceased. You are likely able to boot your computer, if you are, you may notice it is still booting somewhat slowly or there may be a few icons in the startup folder that you don’t recognize, the popups are gone, but the icons remain. There is a possibility that everything is just fine, however, you have a strange homepage or you could still have issues with IE.

FIRST STEP

After your computer is mostly clean, you should be able to access taskmgr and all of your other system services. Go to Start> in the text box run msconfig.exe, assuming you’re on a newer system, on older systems use the left Windows key + R and then type the same thing in. Go to start up applications and disable everything except antivirus software. If you know that something is fishy or left over bloat, you may be able to delete it later, but first just disable it. This will disable many of the registry pointers that no longer exist and so Windows will not be looking for them to start any longer. This will also stop some of the stuff installed on your computer when you bought it. This is another good thing. It will ask you to reboot, but skip this until a later step.

SECOND STEP

I’d recommend a further cleaning, if you used Disk Cleanup in the last step by step, you should probably clean your internet history and local storage. Leave the cookies, this is how sites know it’s you, but if you’re paranoid, go ahead and delete them and re login to your social media. It’s time consuming, but hey, it’s not gonna hurt. Also this could clear out a lot of empty file and folder values that no longer exist. I recommend using a third party software called Bleachbit. I used to recommend Ccleaner, but now use at your own risk. Bleachbit will make it easier for you to delete browsing history and local storage data. It will also clear out any new temp files that have accumulated since the last clean and reboot. Windows Disk Cleanup is good, but sometimes it leaves what it deems unsafe to remove. Most of what we’re doing is ridding ourselves of garbage anyway.

THIRD STEP

Defragment your hard drive. Windows XP through Windows 10 all have built in applications for doing this. Most can be set to run automatically. This is great, set this to auto run monthly on a full defrag and then tell it run a full defrag now. This will move files into an order which pulls most of your applications towards the front of the disk. This keeps the read arm from having to travel frantically searching for one particular file. It is like rearranging a bookshelf after years of clutter. You can find this tool by clicking Start and clicking on the computer tab and then right-clicking on your disk, usually C. Once there, go down to properties and it should bring up a window that lets you CHKDSK and defragment. Run the defragmenter now and while I’m in there, I always set the CHKDSK to run once on the next boot. This will check for any errors on the filesystem. It removes orphaned inodes or pieces of files left behind. Linux does this automatically now, but Windows never has been good about cleaning up its mess.

FOURTH AND FINAL STEP

You will want to remove any leftover toolbars from the machine, any strange icons you find in uninstall software. Anything you found still checked in msconfig earlier, you’ll want to search for it now and remove it. Go to Control Panel and find Uninstall software and click on it, it will bring up a list, but you may have to wait depending upon how much you have installed. My advice is to remove anything that was installed around the same time you got the virus or malware infection. If it is free or says toolbar, it has to go. Rule of thumb, only leave vital Windows software installed and maybe an antivirus, but everything else can go. Even some of the software HP or Emachines installed, though, I might leave some of that and just disable it if I were cleaning your machine. If you need it you can reinstall it later. Leave anything saying modem or Net Framework alone. These are usually Windows software. If you don’t know what it is, leave it for now and look it up on DuckDuckGo. Absolutely never user Google for searching anything.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Once you’ve completed all of these steps, it is now time to reboot. Hopefully this helped someone. This is usually what I do. Sometimes it is a good idea to clean or tune up a machine even when there is no infection, but you’d only do that once a year. Also to change your IE homepage, why do you use IE, but to do so, go to Control Panel or Settings, depending on how new your OS is and find Internet Options. This can easily be achieved by going into IE and finding the tools menu and just resetting IE. Usually by default it is set to something like google.com, but  the absolute best way to know that the browser is fixed is to go in Internet Explorer > Tools > Internet Options and on the first tab you might see where you can replace the homepage, but if you wanted to reset which is best, go to the advanced tab and hit reset or restore default.