At the minute I just have to put up with spending a few hours removing the worst offenders and then running several different adware removers. It generally keeps them running well for a few months.
I would love to set up a VM so whenever things start going wrong they could just delete the VM and start fresh. Currently VMs are a bit too heavy weight, a lot of people struggle with the concept of working in multiple Windows let alone knowing which machine they are actually working in. I am looking forward to Microsoft implementing containers ala Docker. It will be interesting to see what possibilities will be available for making it seamless and quick enough for a computerphobe to browse within a container.
The common advice to stop it before was "don't use IE". Everyone uses Chrome now, and so that's now where everything installs itself (check the extensions and there is usually something dubious). Google even have a tool to remove this stuff: https://www.google.co.uk/chrome/srt/
"You will loose precious functionality, your computer will get slower, the locusts will invade your country: Are you SURE to deinstall CrapToolbarAdMakeComputerFaster2000? [NO!] [NOT AT ALL!] (yes) [CONTINUE USING ADWARE]"
I guess it's done that way so that Microsoft would look like to impair a earnest software business' operation, would they choose to include it in their "evil monopolistic" antivirus software.
Once I installed Linux for my folks, all these problems magically disappeared.
There may be loads of OS alternatives, but unfortunately for people who can only just use a mouse and have invested years into learning that one package they just aren't going to be willing to invest a lot of time into exploring the alternatives.
I helped my parents switch to linux mint, and it's been fairly successful.
Even that's not much of a challenge. Many years ago when my wife started working at home on her mac (1st gen mac mini so this must be about a decade ago?) corporate IT had a few puzzles to solve, but even a decade ago everything was moving to either web or rdesktop or vnc. If you can get the corporate windows guys to implement a workaround or whatever to allow macs to be used, then its usually a very small jump indeed to linux or freebsd or whatever.
I'm struggling to think of a stereotypical desk job that can't be done with a browser and perhaps rdesktop on the side. The exceptions I can think of like 3-D cad would be a problem, but that's not stereotypical desk job work.
Also in my experience, school kids, volunteer workers, and grandma are google docs users not office 2010 users. Google is taking over that space quite effectively. The school system has a contract with google such that if you want to edit your essay in office on your computer at home, well, fine, but you'll be exporting into google drive to actually submit the homework, so save yourself some time and annoyance and do the whole thing online.
Totally agree. The situation has improved so much in that regard - even if you don't have native apps for your platform, there is good chance there's a bunch of online services that can help you do the very same thing.
I believe they just feel helpless, they don't know to do - but they are annoyed, because from my experience they'll ask for help the first computer-savvy person they see, even if they don't know them well.
Funnily, situation is actually a perfect dating opportunity for introvert geeks like me. I get a ton of requests for help from pretty much every student of non-CS field I talk to for longer thant 5 minutes. Removing their crapware can be a good start of a closer relationship ;).
Now imagine a site or software that tries to look just remotely serious. Normal people often just don't see the difference. Plus, it's pretty normal in Windows world to have all kinds of crap installed - Dell, nVidia & Co. install and autostart their little, unnecessary helpers left and right. I think for many people it's hard to tell if that checkbox from the XYZ App is worse than Dell's.
I consider myself reasonably savvy and even I get tricked to install crap on windows if I'm not 100% attentive when installing software.
The other day I was setting up a brand new windows machine. I wanted to download chrome so I boot up internet explorer, end up at the bing home page and search for "chrome".
I've just tried again just now, here's what I end up with: https://i.imgur.com/1fTyQXI.png
You'll notice the first ad has a green URL pointing to google.com, seems legit enough right? Wrong, if you click it you end up on some other URL.
I didn't pay attention to that and actually ended up downloading the installer on that webpage, thankfully I realized something was wrong when the actual setup wizard looked weird. I still ran it though, and with administrator privileges, so I'm basically already dead.
This is me, all tech savvy and yet I fucked up with the first thing I attempted to install on a fresh windows.
After that I wanted a PDF reader. Adobe being completely crap I googled for alternatives and found many recommendations for "foxit". I download and install it: it tries to install a bunch of third party "cloud" services and prompts you to subscribe to third party services basically everywhere on the UI. I just wanted a bloody PDF reader... That's the state of "free" software on windows in 2015.
At that point you just can't blame the user, Microsoft should have done something about that issue at least a decade ago.
Unless you have some specific need then the only good alternatives are Chrome and Firefox. They both can open PDFs without any extensions and after you tell windows to always open pdf files with one of them you basically get the same experience minus ad ware and shoddy coding.
> You'll notice the first ad has a green URL pointing to google.com, seems legit enough right?
Is Microsoft really as stupid as to put some other domain/url than the one advertised inside href of that link or am I missing something?
In about:config, create a boolean value xpinstall.enabled and set false.
This does protect against those browser toolbars that people somehow manage to install.
However there is apparently a UI feature that prompts to re-enable installation ( though I've never seen this ):
Just don't give people administrator accounts in Windows, that way they can't / shouldn't be able to install anything, and definitely not something that can permanently change stuff in a computer.
Yes, exactly. It's as though your yellow pages phone book had its pages replaced with green paper, the entries were all written in comic sans and all of the entries just gave the same phone number for Dominos Pizza. And yet, you continue to use it to try and look things up, stopping occasionally to phone a friend of yours who works in the dictionary industry to complain, and he tells you to sell your house and move to a different street, so that you will get a new copy of the yellow pages delivered.
Of course that would never happen, so why do we put up with it here?
Since you need a real backup solution either way I've always disabled restore points since they're at best redundant.
You can use "Refresh your PC" option in Windows 8+.