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QueenMom 04-14-2009 03:57 PM

I Just Don't Get Linux & Need Help
 
Hi - I have a computer that has Linux on it. I've managed to make-do for about a year on it - but I totally just don't get it. (I'm a Windows girl, sorry.) I have figured a lot out on my own, but I'm now stuck with a really big issue.

Without going into all the details, I have reason to believe there is some sort of keystroke program on here. I've searched and searched the board - but I'm still having trouble. I don't understand all the jargon about partitions, packets, blah blah. (Not for lack of trying, I promise.) I don't have the root password and need to change it - then I need to figure out whether there is, in fact, a keystroke program on here. (Or other program used to watch what I'm doing.) I need someone to help in plain English...because I've read the posts about recovering a lost root password and I'm scratching my head even more now. I've seen help for Red Hat and other things - but I'm running Ubuntu. I don't even know if those are the same things. (Don't smack me.)

Is anyone interested in helping me out? Please? This may require some hand holding...just to warn you.

Thanks!
Katherine

i92guboj 04-14-2009 04:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by QueenMom (Post 3508836)
I don't have the root password and need to change it

Ubuntu is a bit particular in this regard. It doesn't let you use the root account, login' in as root is disabled by default. I guess you should be able to use this command to setup a root password, but I am not sure:

Code:

sudo passwd
So you haven't lost the root password or anything and it's not your fault. It's the way that ubuntu comes by default. So, I strongly suggest you not to run the command I gave you above for the time being. Instead, tell us what the real problem is (or what the symptoms are), so we might suggest an alternate course of action.

Quote:

- then I need to figure out whether there is, in fact, a keystroke program on here.
It's certainly not impossible, but highly unlikely. May I ask what makes you think so?

Quote:

I've seen help for Red Hat and other things - but I'm running Ubuntu. I don't even know if those are the same things. (Don't smack me.)
Don't worry, Ubuntu and Red Hat are different distros that do not have anything to do with each other.

acid_kewpie 04-14-2009 04:08 PM

ok. So. you haven't lost the root password as there isn't one. Ubuntu does NOT have one. instead it uses a program called sudo to run root commands as normal users. so whilst someone on redhat would login as root and then run (for example) "fdisk", you'd run "sudo fdisk" as a single command and enter in your *normal* password and it'd then run as root. Simple!

acid_kewpie 04-14-2009 04:10 PM

i92guboj, can you remove mention of setting a root password, please. A broken weird system is much worse than a working weird system. :)

i92guboj 04-14-2009 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by acid_kewpie (Post 3508855)
i92guboj, can you remove mention of setting a root password, please. A broken weird system is much worse than a working weird system. :)

Instead, I added a warning not to run it, understandable information is better than obfuscation. Thanks for the warning, you are right that's potentially dangerous.

QueenMom 04-14-2009 04:19 PM

Ok...I think I'm understanding what you guys are saying. lol When I first log in, I have to input a password to even get into Ubuntu. While I was trying to figure out what is going on, I got into the "terminal"? It wanted the root password. That's where I came up with that. (There is Windows - which doesn't work - partitioned on this computer...whatever that means. I hope it means more to you than it does to me.)

I think there is something on this computer for a couple of reasons...1) It's running VERY slow. Slower than it used to. 2) I'll be online, doing my thing, and someone will just randomly start typing letters or numbers. I was on yesterday and couldn't post to my blog because someone kept pressing the letter "v" and wouldn't stop...so I ended up with about 50 rows of v's. This has happened before with various other letters. 3) I'm just out of an abusive relationship - and he installed a remote keylogger before. Twice. The first time it cost me my job. 4) He knows about things I'm not telling him (and he lives in another state and we aren't talking) - and he's never shown psychic abilities before.

So here I sit. Anyone of you very awesome people know what I should do next?

Thanks for helping so quickly!
Katherine

i92guboj 04-14-2009 04:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by QueenMom (Post 3508868)
Ok...I think I'm understanding what you guys are saying. lol When I first log in, I have to input a password to even get into Ubuntu. While I was trying to figure out what is going on, I got into the "terminal"? It wanted the root password. That's where I came up with that. (There is Windows - which doesn't work - partitioned on this computer...whatever that means. I hope it means more to you than it does to me.)

I think there is something on this computer for a couple of reasons...1) It's running VERY slow. Slower than it used to. 2) I'll be online, doing my thing, and someone will just randomly start typing letters or numbers. I was on yesterday and couldn't post to my blog because someone kept pressing the letter "v" and wouldn't stop...so I ended up with about 50 rows of v's. This has happened before with various other letters. 3) I'm just out of an abusive relationship - and he installed a remote keylogger before. Twice. The first time it cost me my job. 4) He knows about things I'm not telling him (and he lives in another state and we aren't talking) - and he's never shown psychic abilities before.

So here I sit. Anyone of you very awesome people know what I should do next?

Thanks for helping so quickly!
Katherine

Do you have any valuable information in your computer that you wish to save?

For what you say there's absolutely no way to make sure that your computer isn't compromised unless you reformat it and install a new OS from scratch.

The random key repetition can happen because of faulty hardware as well. But if you are not confident that the OS is clean the best is to rebuild the house from the ground.

QueenMom 04-14-2009 04:24 PM

I'm sorry to post again - but I just thought of some things I should clear up. 1) The keyloggers were not on this computer/system. 2) When I sign onto the computer, the password I'm entering is the user password. 3) Before installing any updates I have to enter my password. I'm assuming that is normal for Ubuntu? (BTW - HE built this computer for me...if that helps without me spelling anything out.)

Thanks again,
Katherine

QueenMom 04-14-2009 04:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by i92guboj (Post 3508876)
Do you have any valuable information in your computer that you wish to save?

For what you say there's absolutely no way to make sure that your computer isn't compromised unless you reformat it and install a new OS from scratch.

<gasp> That's like telling you, you need to come parent my wild children...without help! I can't think of anything scarier...and have no clue where I would even start with that.

I think you just gave me a heart attack. I wouldn't know how to do that with Windows - and definitely not with Linus. When I said I had figured out some things, I meant that Kooka was for scanning and digiKam would get my pictures off my camera. Maybe I made it sound like I'm better at this than I am??

To answer your question, I have pictures and a few documents - but not much. Couldn't I save those to a disk? I've tried to minimize what I do on the computer while I'm stuck with this one.

i92guboj 04-14-2009 04:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by QueenMom (Post 3508883)
<gasp> That's like telling you, you need to come parent my wild children...without help! I can't think of anything scarier...and have no clue where I would even start with that.

I think you just gave me a heart attack. I wouldn't know how to do that with Windows - and definitely not with Linus. When I said I had figured out some things, I meant that Kooka was for scanning and digiKam would get my pictures off my camera. Maybe I made it sound like I'm better at this than I am??

Just relax, and be patient :) It's not that difficult as it might sound. However it would help to have someone at your side that knows a bit about partitions and such, even if it's just a Windows user. So he can help you to follow the instructions we give here.

I'll try to use the most mundane speech I can, if you feel I or anyone else goes too techie here, please, don't hesitate to ask for further clarification in a more plain speech.

I suggest you to download a live linux distribution. A live distro (for short) is a whole OS that you can run from a cd. We can use this to make a backup of any important data that you might have in your hard disk. Once that data is out and safe, we can start to worry about the rest.

Running a live distro will have the advantage that you can be sure that your OS is clean, and that your backups will also be clean and ok. In the way, you can use the livecd to test your network connection and see if it will be automatically detected once you install a new OS, which will be an important thing to be able to get further assistance once you start the quest to install a new OS. ;)

I don't know much about easy-to-use live distros, so probably someone around can suggest better ideas. But I know that a lot of people use knoppix for these purposes:

http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/

You have to downloads this ISO image:

ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/dist/knoppi...9-02-08-EN.iso

And then you need to burn it to a cd. Make sure that in your cd burning program you select "burn image" or something similar, and not just burn files, otherwise it won't work. We can give further info on how to correctly burn it if you tell us what program are you using to burn cds in linux. Famous ones are brasero and k3b these days. There's also a nero for linux.

PS: Then you would need to boot the livecd so you know you are on a secure environment where you can do the backups without worrying about being spied or whatever. But one step at a time. First we need to burn the ISO :p

pixellany 04-14-2009 04:54 PM

I'm not going to get into this---except to reinforce one point: Work on one problem at a time.

XavierP 04-14-2009 05:36 PM

Can I suggest that you contact a local Linux User Group? Not trying to offload you here, but you may be better in these early days by meeting with someone who can talk you through changes.

From your location in your profile, I think these may be local to you:
http://insflug.nova.es/
http://slug.ctv.es/

These groups are volunteers who will readily give their time to help new users get into Linux. They will also hold your hand through a reinstall of your OS.

mark_alfred 04-14-2009 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by QueenMom (Post 3508836)
Without going into all the details, I have reason to believe there is some sort of keystroke program on here. [...] I need to figure out whether there is, in fact, a keystroke program on here. (Or other program used to watch what I'm doing.)
Thanks!
Katherine

Your computer sometimes starts typing a letter (IE, vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv etc) non-stop, fouling up your computer usage. A few things are possible. Perhaps, as you say, there is a "keystroke program" on there. Perhaps there's a program allowing an outside user to have access to your desktop (IE, your ex-partner). Perhaps it's infected by some sort of virus or malware (very unlikely, though). Or, and most likely, there's crumbs of food in your keyboard that stick sometimes.

So, let's start with the easy stuff. Turn your keyboard (or laptop) upside down, and give it a few good whacks. Likely, a bunch of crumbs will come out of it. Keep doing this for a minute or two.

Having done that, make your computer secure. Install a firewall. See Ubuntu firewall help page. There are other tips at the Ubuntu safety page for you to check out.

You could also install antivirus software. I use ClamAV on my Debian system, which presumably is available for Ubuntu as well. Avscan is the gui (graphical user interface) for this, though I simply run clamscan in the terminal. I don't know if Ubuntu has Avscan (admittedly, Debian used to have this, but no longer does). Anyway, see Ubuntu ClamAV info page, for information on using ClamAV.

Good luck in ridding yourself of annoying repetitive keystroke causers within your computer. And congratulations on having dumped your annoying abusive ex-boyfriend.

maresmasb 04-15-2009 06:07 AM

The problem with the repeated keystrokes can be caused by the keyboard itself. Today's cheapo or ultra-designed keyboards sometimes stuck - I have experienced this a few times as well, though it has always been the same keys.

Ubuntu is a nice intro system, but some of it's concepts (like the things around root) will get you confused when reading common Linux and Unix documentation. My advice is to switch to some of the more traditional mainstream distributions like Fedora, Debian, Suse or Slackware. You have to learn some core UNIX concepts on the long term anyway, so rather use a system that goes with the standards.

It seem to be the best approach to re-install a new system. Make sure that you create a backup of your home directory. There are a lot of possibilities of re-installing a system and keeping the old home directory, or doing tricky re-partitioning - but these tasks are difficult and dangerous for newbies, so just make a backup to some external storage device and run a clean install of Linux.

To keep yourself updated check these sites:
http://www.howtoforge.org
http://www.tldp.org
or simply Google for infos.

alan_ri 04-15-2009 08:24 AM

There's Ubuntu live cd available here.It would be good to know if you have 32 or 64 bit machine,you can check that in the terminal with command:
Code:

uname -m
If you see i686,download 32 bit version,if you don't download the other one.
You'll probably need to set your machine to boot from a cd,to do that when you power on your machine hit F11 or similar button (you should see the options on the screen) and set BIOS to boot from a cd.Put cd in the drive and hit <Enter>.
For burning iso images in Ubuntu I recommend Gnome Baker.It's in the repos.Use Synaptic to get it and burn the image at low speed,4x will be ok.
If you don't want Windows anymore,while installing choose an option to use entire hard disk,format it with ext3 filesystem and install GRUB on the MBR.
Everything else that you'll need to do about this new installation should be simple,even for a newbie like you.
Good luck and have fun!


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