Author Topic: Fired up an old computer after about 10 years  (Read 677 times)

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Offline Connecteur

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Fired up an old computer after about 10 years
« on: November 04, 2020, 04:19:04 pm »
It was just sitting there on a desk gathering dust for about 10 years. It's an Acer Aspire Z1620 all-in-one computer with Windows 7.  The mouse and keyboard were missing, so I found some and plugged them in.  I connected the wi-fi and it's been running non-stop for about 24 hours with the hard drive light on constantly, doing updates.  It's infected with malware too, because the homepage is a strange one and Windows Defender had been turned off.

I know that a lot of people will be recommending a total reformat and reinstall with Windows 10, but I want to do it the hard way.  I want to bring it back the way it was when it was shut down.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2020, 04:22:14 pm by Connecteur »
 

Offline Sal Ammoniac

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Re: Fired up an old computer after about 10 years
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2020, 04:55:38 pm »
What botnet is it a part of?
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Offline Ranayna

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Re: Fired up an old computer after about 10 years
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2020, 05:30:48 pm »
I'm sorry, there is a reason why most people will say that a reinstall should be done.
*Especially* for a malware infested computer. You will never know what the malware has done. You might be able to revert some of the more obvious things, but getting rid of malware completly can be quite difficult.
If you want to try, the first order of business should have been to *not* connect it to any network. Boot it from a rescue disk or USB stick to make an offline scan of the filesystem for malware. There are plenty free AVs out there that can create such a disc.
I would also generally question the integrity of the HDD. Those don't get better over time, even just laying around.
If there is important data on it (i would think not, otherwise why have it sitting around for ten years), then it *might* be worthwhile to investigate.
But even then, just copying the really important stuff off would be the utmost i would even try to do to such a machine.

Also, do not forget that a Windows 7 10 years ago is not all that comparable with a fully patched Windows 7. You will never get the same performance again, it will inevitably run slower, or at least feel slower, than it originally was. At least SP1 increased the hardware requirements a bit if i remember correctly, and most patches add bloat and slowness.

I am aware that i have a biased look at this. For quite some time i did desktop support for a living. ;) I also liked to look for root causes and fix those, but at the same time it is important to be aware of a lost cause. In those cases noone would pay for the time it would take for a graceful recovery. And as mentioned above, you can't even be sure to get fully rid of malware. A clean slate reinstall is just the only sensible way to go there.

If you are serious about using this machine, invest in a small SSD, since that will give you a *huge* performance boost, and reinstall Windows 7. It will feel like new.
 

Offline edy

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Re: Fired up an old computer after about 10 years
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2020, 05:48:53 pm »
This computer is just about the right vintage to consider installing a "light" Linux variant, such as Lubuntu. Forget Windows 10... it will slow the computer down too much and before you know it, the drive will be full of update files. If you manage to clean install WinXP or Win7, don't ever plug it back into the internet.  :-DD

Otherwise if you want to actually make proper use of it, and use it on the internet, I would highly recommend Lubuntu or any one of dozens of light Linux distros:

https://lubuntu.me   <--- CORRECTED (thank you @Benta)

Depending on your memory and hardware you could probably run quite a few different Linux distros that are not even considered "light". For example, I have 10 year old machines running Ubuntu Studio, Kali Linux, TAILS, Mint, and so on. Honestly, almost any Linux will beat Windows but you need to ask what you are using the machine for.

I would put together a few bootable Linux USB key's to try out different distros. They will run slower off the USB but it will give you an idea once they are loaded how they perform in RAM. Then set up a "dual-boot" install so you can keep your malware-infested Windows partition intact if you ever feel nostalgic.  :-DD

In Linux you can even run VirtualBox on it and install WinXP Mode, at least it will be in it's own sandbox and still browse the net. You may even be able to make an image of the Windows partition and run it in VirtualBox without even booting that partition ever again.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2020, 07:59:56 pm by edy »
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Online Benta

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Re: Fired up an old computer after about 10 years
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2020, 06:40:34 pm »
@edy:

DO NOT link to lubuntu.net which is a cybersquatter site.

The official Lubuntu site is https://lubuntu.me

When in doubt, go through https://ubuntu.com, you'll find all the other flavors there.

So many people have been tricked by this, please don't propagate further. Thank You.

« Last Edit: November 04, 2020, 06:45:15 pm by Benta »
 
The following users thanked this post: edy, Halcyon, newbrain

Offline edy

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Re: Fired up an old computer after about 10 years
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2020, 08:01:14 pm »
@edy:

DO NOT link to lubuntu.net which is a cybersquatter site.

The official Lubuntu site is https://lubuntu.me

When in doubt, go through https://ubuntu.com, you'll find all the other flavors there.

So many people have been tricked by this, please don't propagate further. Thank You.

Thanks! I've corrected the link above, I didn't even know! LOL!
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Offline peter-h

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Re: Fired up an old computer after about 10 years
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2020, 08:14:26 pm »
I would just do a fresh install of windows. That will wipe an infection.

And install an SSD while you are at it. That dramatically speeds up a computer, including a much faster boot-up.

Win7-64 is fine. All the "security" hype is relevant only if you visit dodgy websites, or use Microsoft email software :)

Linux is no good; most software doesn't run on it. The open source version of MS Orifice has loads of compatibility problems, for example. You can buy Office 2007 cheaply, so why bother?
 

Offline daqq

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Re: Fired up an old computer after about 10 years
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2020, 08:38:49 pm »
Dude, just put it out of its misery, instead of playing a mix of whack-a-mole and exorcism. It's the compassionate thing to do.
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Online nctnico

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Re: Fired up an old computer after about 10 years
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2020, 08:43:28 pm »
I'm sorry, there is a reason why most people will say that a reinstall should be done.
*Especially* for a malware infested computer. You will never know what the malware has done. You might be able to revert some of the more obvious things, but getting rid of malware completly can be quite difficult.
I agree. Nearly 2 decades ago I tried to get malware from a PC of a customer. I tried all the virus scanner and malware removal tools but the malware persisted. A full install may not be enough. Scrubbing the hard drive using dd (after being booted from a Linux live CD) is a good idea.
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Offline Ranayna

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Re: Fired up an old computer after about 10 years
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2020, 08:43:38 pm »
Oh, one more thing: Watch Daves latest video.
Open the thing up, thoroughly clean it and renew any thermal compound. After 10 years it will be a lot less effective than it once was.
 

Online Benta

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Re: Fired up an old computer after about 10 years
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2020, 09:08:15 pm »
Linux is no good; most software doesn't run on it. The open source version of MS Orifice has loads of compatibility problems, for example. You can buy Office 2007 cheaply, so why bother?

Are you serious? It seems like your knowledge of Linux is around 20 years old.
Also, there is no such thing as MS Orifice for Linux. The most common is LibreOffice (also works on M$ Windows), which runs extremely well (and will import MS files).

Take off your rosy M$ glasses, please. My favourite laptop is a 12 years old HP 6910p running Lubuntu and is around 5...10 times faster than my 3 years old Win 10 laptop and much more reliable.


 

Online Benta

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Re: Fired up an old computer after about 10 years
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2020, 09:10:10 pm »
Oh, one more thing: Watch Daves latest video.
Open the thing up, thoroughly clean it and renew any thermal compound. After 10 years it will be a lot less effective than it once was.

Ain't that the truth :)
And cleans the fans! They're usually disgusting after so long a time and will inhibit cooling significantly.
 

Offline Connecteur

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Re: Fired up an old computer after about 10 years
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2020, 10:07:23 pm »
I'm sorry, there is a reason why most people will say that a reinstall should be done.
*Especially* for a malware infested computer. You will never know what the malware has done. You might be able to revert some of the more obvious things, but getting rid of malware completly can be quite difficult.
I agree. Nearly 2 decades ago I tried to get malware from a PC of a customer. I tried all the virus scanner and malware removal tools but the malware persisted. A full install may not be enough. Scrubbing the hard drive using dd (after being booted from a Linux live CD) is a good idea.
FixMe Stick does all that.  You can't fix Windows malware problems when you're running Windows.
 

Online Benta

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Re: Fired up an old computer after about 10 years
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2020, 10:26:48 pm »
FixMe Stick does all that.  You can't fix Windows malware problems when you're running Windows.

Nice product plug! But at $60/90 for a USB-stick, I think I'll pass.
An HDD/SSD format plus a new MBR (where the real nasties reside), using a Linux live-boot (free, except for the DVD blank) will suffice.

https://uk.pcmag.com/antivirus/5245/fixmestick


 

Offline edy

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Re: Fired up an old computer after about 10 years
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2020, 11:49:36 pm »
If you want to have some fun first, put Hiren's BootCD on a bootable USB key and try it out on your machine. You have tons of recovery, security, antivirus, HDD format, cracking and other utilities all in one convenient place and FREE:

https://www.hirensbootcd.org/download/

There is also an older version which is more text-based and smaller. An indispensable tool to have in one's arsenal. I'm sure there are similar free Linux-based USB keys pre-assembled with tons of such utilities.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2020, 11:55:21 pm by edy »
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