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Not now dear, I’m fixing our Windows PC

I have been running a PC at the living room for some years now. After trying out various ways to stream music or videos from Internet or home data storage appliances, PC turned out to be the best tool for the purpose. The dedicated living room audio-visual streamers I tried out were usually easy to use, but always had some restriction that prevented me taking them in real use – it was a continous nightmare of unsupported video codecs and failed UPnP connections.

With a PC, you get a full control. If something doesn’t work, you can try out another application. Additionally, you get a good web browser for a livening room environment. Thanks to the high-definition TVs, the browsing has become increasingly important way to spend time instead of watching the traditional TV. Stumple upon,, and other similar services are in everyday use.

With a bit tweaking, it is also relatively easy to build a silent PC. PC also goes automatically sleep after a time period of inactivity, so you don’t need to pay much attention to control it. Thanks to the fully digital video signaling, the picture is as sharp as it is in any modern monitor, but definitely more enjoyable with the 40” TV screen.

The worst part is the continuous need to keep the operating system up to date and healthy. I’m running a regular Windows XP, which is quite suitable for the living room entertainment purposes. I’m just amazed about amount of work needed to keep the PC up and running.

Here goes the story what happened today…

I did two things: enabled plug-in for the Windows Media player and then googled to get a nice holiday themed wall paper for the PC. Caboom! Suddenly AVG Anti-Virus woke up displaying nice notice of Trojan horses found from the hard disk. So, something else was installed with the plug-in or the web site I visited managed to smuggle some bugs into the system (I was using Firefox!). I was of course relieved that the scanner noticed the bugs and removed them. But it was too early to relax…

After a while, suddenly Internet Explorer opens yet another advertisement page. Oh f… AVG obviously did not manage remove all the infection. I performed a full system scan and removed additional nasty stuff found. No help. After reboot those nice web ad sites popped up again. If I close the Internet Explorer window, there was still iexplore.exe process running on background… Great!

Time to move next defense. Although Windows Defender had been silent in the background, it’s system scan found yet another virus and Trojan horses. Cleaning and reboot again. And no relief. It looked like the bugs were transforming and hiding in various places in the file structure. Unbelievable frustration to notice iexplore.exe popping up again and again…

One thing that helped the cleaning work was deactiving Internet Explore. I simply configured a faulty proxy server to disable all connections, as instructed in a gizmo’s tech support alert article. That did not cure the disease, but kept those ads away while fixing the system.

Next weapon in the arsenal was CCleaner. It’s a handy tool to remove all the rubbish from the file system and the registry. After CCleaner, the final attach was done with the Lavasoft’s good old free Ad-Aware. After all the previous work, Ad-Aware was still able to find more bugs from the system, as seen in the picture:

Amazing! You obviously need four different hi-tech anti-virus/protection software and three to four hours extra time now and then to keep you Windows PC alive. I just cannot imagine how many PC’s are running full of viruses and other alien software out there. Those PCs keep the Internet relays occupied, spitting all that spam email around and forking the other machines connected to The Net. Thank God companies like AVG and Lavasoft are still proving free editions of their excellent tools.

Finally, I imagine some of you are asking: Why to use Windows instead of a Linux, e.g. Ubuntu? I’m actually using Ubuntu everywhere I can, but unfortunately service and application providers still tend to put the effort on the Windows development. And my skills are not in a level that I could configure emulators like Wine to run smoothly everything I need to run in the living room PC. If you need to have a PC that the whole family can use and install their applications, XP is still better choice, IMHO. Just prepare to have the arsenal of the safe guard applications ready…