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Ultimate PC "set and forget" Freew...

marko's Photo marko 01 Feb 2012
Ah, it would actually appear that they have removed the ability to run command line switches on the freeware version, looks like it has to be the registered (and paid) version which kinda defeats the purpose really as scheduled scanning and auto-updating are part of the paid product anyway :cray:

I did manage to get:


"C:\Program Files\SUPERAntiSpyware\SUPERAntiSpyware.exe" /quickscan
to kick off a quick scan, but it wouldn't auto-update using what commands I could put my hands on, so again, defeats the purpose really!

zorg's Photo zorg 01 Feb 2012
I use avast & Malwarebytes on all 4 of my computers & have for several years & have never had any problems or viruses

James (Jim) Hillier's Photo James (Jim) Hillier 01 Feb 2012
My clients are certainly not stupid, although when it comes to computers you could certainly be forgiven for thinking so. Most have taken to computers late in life and to them computers are new fangled machines which involve some sort of new fangled language. Many do not even know the difference between a browser and an ISP. Most computer related things are a mystery to them.

I've just this very afternoon spent 2 hours installing a new wireless modem/router for a 70 year old who wants wifi so her grandkids can hook up their iPads. This woman keeps changing her ISP account details, apparently for no good reason. She can never remember which ones she used last. We unsuccessfully tried several different combinations and in the end I had to insist that she phone her ISP. On hold for best part of an hour, finally got the correct information...took just 10 minutes to finish configuring the router and setup the wifi. Is she stupid, no. I know her quite well and she is actually quite smart - but not when it comes to computers.

We all have our skills - many people struggle with concepts which others grasp easily, and vice versa. Tolerance is the name of the game, that and very big hammer ----- just kidding!! :)

marko's Photo marko 01 Feb 2012
I think "stupid" is a little, well, not harsh, but probably the wrong word to use ... personally, I'd call some people "selective" in their learning - my dad's friend, for example, got a new PC a few years ago - I set it up for him, and showed him the basics. Now, he's downloading films, music and all manner of other stuff as if it were going out of fashion. He has toolbars coming out his ears and bootup takes something like 10-20 minutes in total!!. He's not interested in what causes the issues, nor is he interested in how to fix them ... he just calls me.

The last time I scanned and rid his computer of all known nasties I explained to him that if it happens again I'll need to bring the PC back home with me to sort it - it's just too much like hard work to sit at a computer like that for hours on end trying to end processes, install or scan, even attempting to perform the simplest of tasks takes minutes with CPU and RAM useage going through the roof - all because he installs garbage after garbage on the recommendations of other pals sitting around the table in the pub!!.

The last time I went up his computer basically couldn't load the desktop and I found he had 3 different antivirus apps all trying to start - this was on the recommendation of a pal from the pub !!. So, as I say, he's taught himself how to download films and music, browse the web for all manner of things, yet he still cannot secure his machine or learn to avoid sites or downloads which are malicious (despite having tried showing him WOT/LinkExtend) !!.

In the end, I basically give up on folk like that and if I get their computer once a year to fix, it'll be on my terms, when I have the time and it'll take as long as it takes - only reason I still do it is because they are friends or family - but I guess as long as folk like us are doing them this service, they'll never have the need to do it themselves right?! :crazy: :girl_cray2:

Claw's Photo Claw 01 Feb 2012
Hey Marko and Jim,,nice piece of commentaries you guys have there.It's like I told Google,I don't think the users are "stupid",,but like I said a lot are just lazy. Why?? Marko you said it,"as long as folk like us are doing them this service" !!!! I know quite a few people whom I installed Avast and Mbam on thier computers, and I get the call. When I get there to try and run a scan,,Malwarebytes
hasn't even been updated since I installed it. Checking the logs and there isn't any!!!! I go through the "dos and don'ts again ,,knowing damn good and well I'll be called again.....Soon !!!!

BobJam's Photo BobJam 01 Feb 2012
Apparently a lot of us have had similar experiences, ones where novices keep calling us to "fix" what at the end of the day may very well be their own doing out of foolishness (and we "pay" for it . . . more on the "pay" concept in a moment.)

We suffer the consequences primarily, to paraphrase Marco, because these people are friends (in other arenas) or family.

Hence I can see the pursuit of "set-it-and-forget-it" solutions . . . if such a thing existed I can see where it would relieve a lot of us of bothersome and annoying phone calls.

But they're not "bothersome" and "annoying" at first. Most of us are civil (despite that inner voice that says "Hey, bozo, I told you not to mess around with it." or "Hey, you moron, can't you understand plain English?") and polite, certainly not wanting to call good friends or family members "stupid". We naturally restrain ourselves, sometimes remembering when we too were novices and how what seems simple to us now was mystifying back then.

But that very civility and polite approach is what gets us into that endless cycle that snowballs into those "bothersome" and "annoying" times.

So barring some rather impolite and uncivil outburts, which I don't think many of us want to do, and barring the fantasy notion of "set-it-and-forget-it", I see two potential solutions FOR OUR FRUSTRATION.

The first is the "pay" scheme, which may not be too palatable for some of us (myself included). But if we were to start charging our friends and family for these repairs, my suspicion is that the volume of requests for "help" from these people would dramatically decline.

The second solution, more to my own liking and one which I've started to implement, is "claiming ignorance". What I mean is this:

For computer problems that friends and family have, I've become known as the unofficial resident geek (I really don't know that much, but "in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is King" . . . and I'm the one-eyed man and friends and family are totally blind) and the "go-to-guy".

They call me regularly with "Hey, I've got a 'small' computer problem, can you fire up [Crossloop or Teamviewer . . . I use both] and take a look at it for me? Shouldn't take you but a few minutes" (I'm sure you've all heard that one before.) I used to encourage them to try and "fix" it themselves, pointing out that if they got stumped there's usually a "Cancel" button and to back out and call me. But I soon found that my troubleshooting session was beset by trying to figure out what they had done and as I'm sure most of you know, one of the cardinal rules of troubleshooting is to do one thing at a time. Identifying the root problem is all the more difficult when there are multiiple sources to the problem. Trying to trace their path and drill down to the original problem (which has long since been obscured in most cases) takes more than "a few minutes". So I stopped telling them to try things themselves first . . . now that WAS stupid on my part.

So, the second possible solution (for me, that is), and one I have high hopes for, is just to say to them early on "Geeezz, I really have no idea what the problem could be."

Most of them are gradually getting the notion that I'm no longer that "go-to-guy" and the calls are going down. I'm not proud of absolutely lying to my friends and family, but it's a heck of a lot better than becoming frustrated and nasty with them and calling them "stupid moron bozos" because I got angry and lost control (like when they interrupt my dinner with things that end up to run several hours rather than "a few minutes".)

I still maintain the friendships (is much easier now that I'm not resentful) and still on good terms with family, so the method, as ethically questionable as it might be, seems to be working for me.

Nevertheless, I still get hooked now and then. That "inner geek" that wants to solve puzzles and doesn't want to see a new machine trashed now and then takes over. My fault, not theirs, so I can't say it's their own doing in that case. If my dinner gets cold because I SAID I WOULD GIVE IT A TRY, the burden is mine alone.

Not too many cold dinners anymore though . . . I'm no longer as much the "resident geek" . . . a title I've gladly given up.

(Now this still doesn't solve THEIR problems. I think Jim's middle road between "set-it-and-forget-it" and ease of use for a novice may apply here . . . or as I phrased it myself, some degree of basic security best practices skills in intervention.)

James (Jim) Hillier's Photo James (Jim) Hillier 02 Feb 2012


The first is the "pay" scheme... if we were to start charging our friends and family for these repairs
No, No. No, that is a very bad idea - tell you why. Once any form of payment is involved you immediately create an obligation! Even if not in reality, certainly in the mind of the payer. Once you accept payment, anytime anything goes wrong which is even remotely similar, and possibly still being caused by the user, you will be expected to be there yesterday and fix it for naught anyway. Once you accept payment the "I can't help you any further" excuse becomes null and void. It is ultimately a very good way to lose fiends and alienate people, plus drive you insane at the same time.

I never accept payment from friends or family because of those very reasons. If they want to voluntarily buy me a nice bottle of Scotch or a case of beer, that is another matter altogether. :)

Your second suggestion is a far better idea and, in my case, quite workable. I am getting on a bit and memory lapses are now par for the course anyway. LOL

Ralph C.'s Photo Ralph C. 02 Feb 2012
Not long ago, I would have said AVG, but it required the user to update, and sometimes the updates caused problems. I now would strongly recommend MSE. Updates come with Windows updates and require no user interaction. WinPatrol runs quietly in the background and updates easily. If they use a router for internet access, I wouldn't bother with a firewall at all. I would also install McAfee SiteAdvisor for web searches, to help steer them away from potentially questionable sites. This is how I run my computer and so far I have been OK, touch wood.

Claw's Photo Claw 02 Feb 2012
Nice BobJam,,right on the money with one. Those are the feelings of everyone who has ever told a friend,"look I bought a disk".
I,m going to try that ignorant plan and see what happens,,thanks. Jim ,I get those memory lapses too,,er,,,I think.

BobJam's Photo BobJam 02 Feb 2012

View PostJames (Jim) Hillier, on 02 February 2012 - 02:15 AM, said:

No, No. No, that is a very bad idea BobJam
You apparently missed it when I said " . . . may not be too palatable for some of us (myself included)." or I failed to make it clear this was NOT my preferred method (for, among other things, the reasons you detailed, which I agree with 100%.)

Nevertheless, THERE are some who see this as a solution and would argue its merits. (That's NOT MY original "idea", but rather one I've seen others try.) I suspect in large part this "solution" backfires, and you and I are in agreement on the other alternative.

So, no need for the "No, No, No". You're preaching to the choir.
Edited by BobJam, 02 February 2012 - 05:28 AM.