19 July 2005

Does your PC have spyware? Throw it out!


The New York Times reports that people are discarding PCs rather than go to the time and trouble of removing spyware. Given this user's experience, that might be a rational choice:
Buying a new computer is not always an antidote. Bora Özturk, 33, who manages bank branches in San Francisco, bought a $900 Hewlett-Packard computer last year only to have it nearly paralyzed three months ago with infections that he believes he got from visiting Turkish news sites.

He debated throwing the PC out, but it had pictures of his newborn son and all of his music files. He decided to fix it himself, spending 15 hours learning what to do, then saving all his pictures and music to a disk and then wiping the hard drive clean - the equivalent of starting over.
If your time is worth more than $30/hour, it's cheaper to buy a new machine. Problem is, spyware infects PCs very rapidly, so you might wind up doing this many times.

On the other hand, you could spend a little more (or a lot more, like the woman pictured in the article) and get yourself a Mac — my Macs, with no anti-virus and no anti-spyware, have not gotten any of that since before I switched to OS X.

And consider consider giving your PC to a charity instead of trashing it — the charity may have volunteers willing to spend the time to fix it up.