Warning:  off-topic response to off-topic request for help.  Delete this now
if you aren't interested.


I'm sorry to hear of your troubles.  Perhaps the "persistent infection" of
your machine may be due to some rather nasty software copy protection?  I
don't know about Roxio software (all I have are old versions of Adaptec
software before it got bought by Roxio), but perhaps it uses the same or
similar copy protection as the new version of TurboTax.  I have heard a
great many bad things about TurboTax's C-Dilla (Macrovision) copy
protection - it evidently writes some info into the boot sector of your hard
disk.  This makes it impossible to remove without reformatting the hard
disk, or at least overwriting the boot sector with some kind of utility.
Other s/w uses this scheme also - I hear that Autocad does, and...viruses!
I steadfastly refuse to use any application s/w that fools with the boot
sector.  The boot sector is for, well, booting, and not for use by company X
to protect their profits.

Too bad the s/w came pre-installed on your Dell.  This is one reason why I
no longer buy brand-name PCs.  I buy white box PCs built either by myself or
a local PC shop.  This way I can control exactly what s/w gets installed on
the PC.  If you can find a local PC shop where the folks know Linux and
build servers as well as desktop machines, you will be reasonably assured of
quality parts and technical competence.  I say Linux server expertise,
because even if you want a Windows machine, at least you know that it's not
being built by a bunch of gaming freaks who don't really know much about
PCs, and spend their time talking about Warcraft III cheats instead of
tweaking Samba.  Another problem with Dell and other big-name (Compaq, HP,
Gateway, etc.) PC makers is that their h/w is always proprietary in some
way.  Even if it's totally s/w compatible, it has different mounting holes,
different power connector pinout, etc.  Or it is an OEM version of a retail
item, having different drivers or not quite compatible, etc.  Why let
yourself get screwed that way?

In 2001 I bought a dual-PIII 1GHz from my local PC shop, and it has been
awesome.  No problems with Windows 2000 on it (using SP2, I won't upgrade to
SP3 because of heinous EULA and spyware issues).  It actually cost about the
same as an equivalent Dell at the time, and I got exactly the h/w and
exactly the s/w I wanted (top notch video and sound cards, PCMCIA slots,
etc.).  Since then I've had a Linux server upgraded by the same shop, and
it's been rock stable.  I tell you, man, a good local PC shop is the way to

For me, at least, the future is Linux, not Windows.  Reasons:

1)  When I buy a white box PC, I can buy it without paying the Microsoft tax
(Windows is not pre-installed by default).  That way I am not forced to buy
something I don't want or need.
2)  Linux s/w isn't loaded with spyware, adware, and doesn't pollute any
"registry" with a million little tidbits of junk.  It's usually just one
text file in the /etc directory
3)  Linux s/w can be prevented from corrupting areas of the disk it has no
business being in.  In fact, this is the default operation of Linux - a
program with user permissions cannot corrupt directories where root
permissions are required.
4)  Linux is less susceptible to viruses because of (3).
5)  Most corporate s/w has effectively no support, as evidenced by your bad
experience with Roxio support.  Linux s/w has no support line, either.  So
which is a better value, paid s/w with no support, or free s/w with no
6)  You cannot force a company to fix bugs in their s/w.  You also cannot
fix the bugs yourself, since you don't have the source.  You can fix the
bugs in Linux s/w yourself since you have the source.  Most of us would not
want to actually do this, but if we were in a pinch, we could, or find a
consultant who could.
7)  Linux s/w is easy to remove, just type "rpm -e pkgname".  It's gone...
8)  Microsoft s/w keeps going up in price, with little or no improvement.
Exception:  Windows 2000 was a big improvement over 9X/NT.  But XP is a
9)  Microsoft is trying ever harder to lock users' data into their s/w with
proprietary formats and no publicly available specs.  I don't want my data
held hostage by them.
10)  Microsoft is forcing upgrades whether or not users' want them.
Example:  the new version of Office (11, I think) will use DOC formats that
are incompatible with previous versions.  When someone sends you a v11 DOC
file, you won't be able to read it unless you buy Office 11.  But Office 11
requires Windows XP, so you have to upgrade to XP.  If your machine is an
older machine it won't run XP, so you have to upgrade your h/w.  Madness!

I'm sorry that I don't really have any advice to help you out of your
current situation.  All I can do is point out the sorry state of affairs in
the PC world, and suggest some future approaches to avoid problems.  As for
me, my household, and my company, we are transitioning to Linux in every way
we can.

Altium, where is that Linux version of Protel?  I can't keep this dual-PIII
going forever!  When it craps out, it's not getting replaced by another
Windows box...

Best regards,
Ivan Baggett
Bagotronix Inc.
website:  www.bagotronix.com

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2003 6:23 AM
Subject: [PEDA] Roxio, Nero, Virii and crashes

> HELP!!! In attempting to uninstall DirectCD, I've gotten my system into a
> state where it won't boot! Sorry if I'm off-topic, but I'm desperate and
> these lists are the best resource I've found for help. Others may save
> themselves much grief by learning from my experience. I'm cross-posting to
> the DXP list as well.
> My recent queries on the web encouraged me to buy Ahead Nero to replace
> Roxio's DirectCD. Thus far, that advice still seems to have been good -
> is far superior to DirectCD, and far more stable.
> I had them both installed and peacefully coexisting. On advice that I
> not have two CD burner packages installed, and the realization that I'd
> use DirectCD again, I uninstalled DirectCD. I've since learned that
> DirectCD is in and of itself the worst virus infection I've ever seen. It
> won't uninstall cleanly, their "tech support" is no help, and now my
> won't boot. When I boot into Windows 2000 Pro, it appears to boot
> In searching the web I've found that many others have come to similar
> but no solutions to my specific problem. First sign of trouble is that
> my auto-start apps are still getting settled in, a box appears saying
> "Preparing to install...." with no appname. Its cancel button does
> About ten seconds later, the box goes away - and then comes back. Total of
> about 6 times or so, and then the system does a normal shutdown and
> Again, and again, and again.
> I've killed almost a full day on this so far, with no end in sight.
> Spelunking in the registry finds many hundreds of entries sprinkled all
> the place, referring to Roxio, DirectCD, etc. I spent a couple hours
> absolutely every registry entry which looked remotely related. This was
> a "crippleware" version of DirectCD that could just barely write a data
> any other operation took me automatically to Roxio's website to buy the
> version. Thus I'm not only pretty ticked at Roxio, but also at Dell. Dell
> preinstalled this on the machine, and the sales pitch implied I was
> the full version. Thus I consider this to be bait-and-switch, plain and
> simple. So Dell is now on my blacklist too (it wouldn't have taken much
> their fiasco with proprietary power supplies, but that's another whole
> I've tried unplugging the CD drive and rebooting, unplugging all the USB
> peripherals on the theory that something there is trying to install, etc.,
> all to no avail. I've already run the Win2K Repair from the CD; no joy
> either. So I'm getting ready to reinstall Win2K, and cringing at the
> of all the drivers etc. that I'll need to set up again.
> There is a slim chance that this might have been precipitated by a virus
> other than Roxio, because one of my clients had a particularly nasty virus
> infection last week. But I haven't downloaded any executables from them,
> I'm well-guarded against other forms such as macros. And the problem
> up right after I ran Ahead's driver clean utility.
> My best guess at present is that Roxio left something around which now
> detects that the rest isn't installed, and it's trying to repair the
> installation. But that's only a guess.
> I can get to the Windows recovery console, and also to Safe mode. but
> had any luck repairing things that way. Any and all tips gratefully
> Steve Hendrix

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