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Gregg Bell 01-15-2016 12:34 AM

Need advice on whether to buy a laptop
 
There's this great Lenovo laptop on Craigslist. It's got everything I want but (it's Windows 8) I'm scared to buy it because my lack of computer skills make me feel so uncertain about the risks. I know I could single boot some distro of Ubuntu on it (and in the process wipe out whatever is on there) but I'd rather dual boot or maybe even keep it a Windows machine. (I already have five Ubuntu computers.) Anyway here are my questions:

1)The laptop I'm thinking of buying (for all I know) might have a virus or pornography or other nasty stuff on it. Can I clean all that up effectively? And if so, with what?

2)I could probably run the laptop on wifi but I'd like to hook it up to an ethernet cord, which is connected to a Comcast router which supplies the office I'm in. (Some of the computers are wi-fi and the four others (including mine) are wired into the Comcast router.) So, if I have a virus, can I spread it to the other computers connected (either via wi-fi or ethernet cord) to the router?

3) If the computer is loaded with files, is it relatively easy to get rid of those?

I guess I'm really looking for some hand-holding to give me some confidence to buy this thing. (I really do want it. It's got everything I want and it's a great deal.) But I am so fearful of messing up the other computers in the network that it is absolutely not worth the risk if that's a possibility.

Thanks.

ButterflyMelissa 01-15-2016 03:32 AM

Quote:

The laptop I'm thinking of buying (for all I know) might have a virus or pornography or other nasty stuff on it. Can I clean all that up effectively? And if so, with what?
Hi, whenever I buy a laptop, no matter what is installed it lasts one minute...the time it takes to find the DVD, pop it in, close the drive and repower the thing...
Want to really clean it, install a new OS...
Quote:

If the computer is loaded with files, is it relatively easy to get rid of those?
Yes! Locate the "my documents" folder and enter the user folder and delete everything you dont like
Quote:

I could probably run the laptop on wifi but I'd like to hook it up to an ethernet cord, which is connected to a Comcast router which supplies the office I'm in. (Some of the computers are wi-fi and the four others (including mine) are wired into the Comcast router.) So, if I have a virus, can I spread it to the other computers connected (either via wi-fi or ethernet cord) to the router?
Too bad for your admin...he propably did not harden the network against something this obvious..so no to worry. It could'nt hurt to discuss this beforehand though...
Quote:

I really do want it. It's got everything I want and it's a great deal.
Lenovo is a great deal, go one on second hand too...runs like a train...well, not a belgian one, they stand still all the time due to strikes :)
I'd go for it, and if you do decide to keep ***dows, well, install a scanner...
Melissa

berndbausch 01-15-2016 04:25 AM

This is kind of tangential, but I have an E540 in front of me which I bought in an auction. Nice machine, but it took me a few hours to install Linux Mint alongside Windows 10. I finally succeeded by resetting a BIOS option that allowed both UEFI and BIOS boot or something like that (will look it up for you when you end up with a similar problem).

beachboy2 01-15-2016 05:18 AM

Gregg,

1) Yes
2) Very unlikely, but do speak to network admin first
3) Yes

Assuming everything else about this Lenovo is okay and it's not stolen, then go ahead and buy it.

Clean install of W8/8.1 (the seller has almost certainly done this anyway):
http://pcsupport.about.com/od/window...all-part-1.htm

Info on product key for W8/8.1:
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/four-pl...8-product-key/

NB PCs that come with W8/W8.1 have an encrypted product key embedded in their UEFI firmware. When you reinstall the same version of Windows 8 or 8.1 on a PC that came with it, the product key will be automatically applied and activated. You won't see any product key prompt; it all happens automatically.

For simplicity, why not just run W8 on this laptop? You already have 5 Linux machines.
berndbaush has already hinted at the joys awaiting you with UEFI etc. He is not wrong either.

This dual-boot article (W8 & Ubuntu 14.04/Linux Mint 17.2) from Dedoimedo is essential reading:
http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/d...-8-ubuntu.html

In advance, make yourself a Boot-Repair CD in case of future problems with Grub bootloader on the dual-boot:
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Repair

PS

If the Lenovo is not protected by the network software, then using one of your Ubuntu machines, I recommend that you download the two .exe files for:

Avast Free Antivirus:
https://www.avast.com/en-gb/index

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium (Click on the Free Trial first, then upgrade later):
https://www.malwarebytes.org/antimalware/premium/

This will protect you from CryptoLocker and similar ransomware. The Free version does not do so.

Put the two files on a USB drive and keep them handy, ready for installation.

There may well be McAfee already included in the bloatware of the Lenovo installation.
That is okay for now.

Leave it there temporarily until avast and Mbam are working because your machine needs protecting as soon as you connect that ethernet cable!

Then uninstall McAfee.

If you prefer the look of W7 to W8, you can always install Classic Shell:
http://www.classicshell.net/

BW-userx 01-15-2016 08:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gregg Bell (Post 5478449)
(I really do want it. It's got everything I want and it's a great deal.) But I am so fearful of messing up the other computers in the network that it is absolutely not worth the risk if that's a possibility.

Thanks.

buy it , wipe the hard drive and install Linux, don't be so afriad to get your hands dirty, that is what Linux Questions is all about -- they're the leaders in hand soap. :D :hattip:

jamison20000e 01-15-2016 10:20 AM

8 should upgraded to 10 like my Lenovo-T420 but it was refurbished and freshly installed with 7 (with no factory reset,) it freely upgraded to 10. Then I backed the drive (for resale or giveaway purposes, (I also always make it dualboot, self updating, LTS, m$-1st if I do get rid of them)) then wiped it for my usual OS's.

Use to buy computers, camcorders, PDAs and such at thrift stores or rummages; was always surprised at what some people leave on them! 99% of the time especially the computers I wiped for fresh installs. ;)

Got 7 recently for $50 for my nephew, then upgraded to 10. We have to reinstall his (@11) at lest once a year so I hope for his sake 10 stays free... :hattip:

ardvark71 01-15-2016 10:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gregg Bell (Post 547844)
There's this great Lenovo laptop on Craigslist. It's got 9]everything I want but (it's Windows 8) I'm scared to buy it because my lack of computer skills make me feel so uncertain about the risks. I know I could single boot some distro of Ubuntu on it (and in the process wipe out whatever is on there) but I'd rather dual boot or maybe even keep it a Windows machine. (I already have five Ubuntu computers.)

Hi Gregg...

I'm not sure I can add too much more than what the others have stated but I would highly recommend, if at all possible, getting the hardware of the laptop checked out to make sure there is nothing that's failing, perhaps by a reputable repair shop (or technician) where you live. I'm not sure the seller would go for something like that but if so, it might reduce the risk. ;)

Also, do you know the model and model number? It might be helpful to post that so that we might be able help you determine if there are any issues with Linux and/or drivers.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gregg Bell (Post 547844)
1)The laptop I'm thinking of buying (for all I know) might have a virus or pornography or other nasty stuff on it. Can I clean all that up effectively? And if so, with what?

Just reinstall Windows 8 from scratch or "factory settings." Save absolutely nothing. However, make sure the owner has made the appropriate backups before giving the computer to you.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gregg Bell (Post 547844)
2)I could probably run the laptop on wifi but I'd like to hook it up to an ethernet cord, which is connected to a Comcast router which supplies the office I'm in. (Some of the computers are wi-fi and the four others (including mine) are wired into the Comcast router.) So, if I have a virus, can I spread it to the other computers connected (either via wi-fi or ethernet cord) to the router?

Others might disagree with me but there's definitely a possibility. Please see here and here. Reinstall Windows 8 before hooking it up to your office's network to be on the safe side. ;)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gregg Bell (Post 547844)
3) If the computer is loaded with files, is it relatively easy to get rid of those?

Please see my answer for #1. Also, see if the owner made any restore DVD's for the system and be sure to collect those when picking up the laptop. If not, you can see if there is a program installed to make your own. But at the very least, you should be able to reinstall Windows 8 via the hard drive's restore partition. :)

Regards...

offgridguy 01-15-2016 11:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamison20000e (Post 5478654)

Got 7 recently for $50 for my nephew, then upgraded to 10. We have to reinstall his (@11) at lest once a year so I hope for his sake 10 stays free... :hattip:

Windows 10 stays free, only till April 2016.

jamison20000e 01-15-2016 12:07 PM

Thanks. That gives me sometime to set him up a fresh upgrade and dd the drive... :) would have $ucked buying less freedom and am guessing more than $50! :rolleyes:

offgridguy 01-15-2016 12:08 PM

@ beachboy2,
Thanks for this link, it's a keeper


http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/d...-8-ubuntu.html

beachboy2 01-15-2016 12:21 PM

@offgridguy,

Quote:

Thanks for this link, it's a keeper
No probs!

Gregg Bell 01-15-2016 04:02 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks so much everybody for the fabulous advice. I just called the guy to go see it and he just sold it! Anyway, here was the link:

https://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/sys/5399233487.html

And in case that's gone I'll attach a screenshot.

And you all gave me a million thoughts and really some of them made me wonder about buying it. (Namely the suggestion to get the premium malwarebytes for $25/year.) And they all made me appreciate Linux!!! (I used to spend a lot of time avoiding and then getting and then trying to get rid of viruses with my Windows machines.)

The guy who sold it told me he has a few more expensive laptops but I'm not ready to go higher.

What I wanted was the bigger screen (my laptop is 14") and the Microsoft Word.

And, beachboy2, how do I know if a laptop is stolen? And what happens if I end up buying a stolen one? And is there any way (I'm trying to do all this on the mega-cheap) to protect against the Cryptolocker stuff with a free anti-virus?

Anyway, I feel bad for getting all this great advice and now I'm not using it, but if I do get a laptop in the future I will be very well prepared, so thank you all very much!

jamison20000e 01-15-2016 04:15 PM

I got this (almost fully upgraded (could go one up with the processor but won't)) T420 cheap because it was dropped (so cheap the SSD costs more :)) plus have an older ThinkPad T20 as well, IMHO they rock.
https://www.google.com/webhp?sourcei...Cppr_max%3A100

ButterflyMelissa 01-15-2016 04:54 PM

Quote:

Anyway, I feel bad for getting all this great advice and now I'm not using it, but if I do get a laptop in the future I will be very well prepared, so thank you all very much!
Dont feel bad, I just feel sorry you missed it, that's all...
Too bad you cannot get to the outlet I visit at times...they send per mail too, but, I dunnow to where :)
Melissa

beachboy2 01-15-2016 05:32 PM

Gregg,

Quote:

some of them made me wonder about buying it
Quote:

I used to spend a lot of time avoiding and then getting and then trying to get rid of viruses with my Windows machines
Why not stick to Linux and sleep easy at night?

Quote:

how do I know if a laptop is stolen?
You probably don't. You just have to assess the seller and his surroundings as best you can in the case of Craigslist. Let's face it, we all buy stuff on ebay and we rarely meet the seller face-to face.
Quote:


What happens if I end up buying a stolen one?
Well (in the UK) you would forfeit the laptop, lose your money and hope that you were not prosecuted for aiding and abetting a felony or dealing in stolen property.

Quote:

And is there any way (I'm trying to do all this on the mega-cheap) to protect against the Cryptolocker stuff with a free anti-virus?
That is about as cheap as you can get for a quality piece of software. The free versions do not stop the modern ransomware, as many people have found out to their cost.


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