Malware

10 tech tasks you should be able to do in your sleep

Nearly all the jobs you tackle will require you to handle certain fundamental tasks. Make sure these essential skills are part of your repertoire.

In the tech field, there are certain tasks that you do more than any other. There are go-to tasks you almost always do, regardless of the situation. And there are certain essential tasks that can save your skin onsite. These are tasks you should be able to do on autopilot.

Earlier this month, I looked at 10 essential items to take with you on onsite calls. Now I'm going to share my list of 10 tasks I think every consultant or support tech should know. These tasks cover a range of topics and issues. Some of them you will already know like the back of your hand. But you might not be familiar with others.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: Run chkdsk

Recently, I had a client whose two point-of-sale machines were randomly crashing. When onsite, I asked the age of the machines (I had my suspicions) and found out they were approximately four to five years old. And judging from the size of their QuickBooks data file, the machines got hammered on a daily basis. It took only a quick run of chkdsk to find out the machines' drives had errors. This command should definitely be in your toolkit. In some instances, it will save you a great deal of time.

2: Uninstall antivirus

There's been a rash of viruses in this area lately, and the old school antivirus just isn't cutting it. We often prescribe AVG Pro, and as with nearly all antivirus solutions, the current antivirus must be uninstalled before installing the new. The unfortunate reality is that every antivirus has a different path to complete uninstall. The first place to look, of course, is the antivirus menu entry. Sometimes it will have its own uninstaller. If not, your best bet is to either carry with you (on a flash drive) tools that will do the trick or have Internet access so you can go to the vendor's Web site and find out how to uninstall. After a while, you'll have them all memorized.

3: Map drives

This is one of the easiest tasks with one of the biggest benefits (at least in the eyes of the client). Mapping drives makes finding data on remote locations so much easier for the user. And successfully mapping drives means you won't be called out again because the user can't seem to locate the data on the server any longer.

4: Join a workgroup

If a company has multiple machines that need to share files, but it isn't big enough to require a domain, joining those networked machines to a common workgroup will make everyone's life easier. But I am always surprised when I hear that consultants are unsure of the benefits of workgroups and/or how to join a machine to a workgroup. This is consulting 101.

5: Join a domain

This takes the workgroup to another level. Not only can you see other computers that reside on the domain, login credentials are contained on a single machine so users can log in from any machine on the domain. The process of joining a domain is similar to that of joining a workgroup. You will, however, need to know the complete domain of the company. Is it DOMAIN or DOMAIN.local? Another basic task, yet it's overlooked time and time again.

6: Use the command line

It always strikes me as unbelievable when I run into IT pros who don't know how to use the command line. I guess I have an advantage coming from a Linux background, but every consultant should know how to use the command line. Even in Windows, it's a must-know tool.

7: Safely restart a Linux server from the command line

You will come across this one day. And although it's rare for a Linux server to need rebooting, you need to know the command sudo reboot and how to do it so that users have time to log out of whatever they're doing. Just like any computer, if you don't shut down or restart safely, there are dangers.

8: Check for rootkits

Rootkits are nasty. And many times they go unchecked and destroy all of your hard work. Every consultant must know how to check for a rootkit or at least know of a good antivirus software that includes rootkit defenses. If your client's machines aren't being checked for rootkits, cross your fingers when you finally install a tool to check. If a rootkit is there, the damage might already be done. I have dealt with rootkits that rendered a machine unrecoverable.

9: Replace any component on a machine

You never know when you will have to replace RAM, a video card, a CPU, or some other component. Although these tasks seem far too simple to even mention, there are some people who, when faced with replacing a CPU, will toss up their hands and tell their clients they have to purchase a new machine. To those consultants I have to say "Really?" Replacing hardware is done for sport by most geeks. Be it power supply, hard drives ... you name it. Get your hands in that case and get them dirty!

10: Deal with angry clients

Although this doesn't address computer issues, it is one of those challenges you're inevitably going to face. Either you're dealing with a client who is generally an ugly person or you have done something they didn't like. One way or another, you're going to need the skills to calm those clients down and reassure them that you will do everything you can to make them happy. It may mean you take a loss on the job or it may mean you put in more time than you really want. But making that cranky client happy will go a long way in helping your reputation. Of course there are limits. Some people are simply never satisfied. The best solution for those types of clients? Fire them.

Expand the list

These are 10 tasks every support tech or consultant should know. Do you have a few other essential tasks add to this list? If so share them with your fellow TechRepublic readers.


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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

222 comments
mrfiero
mrfiero

I have noted several times when dealing with someone else system, that I may not be contacted until the system is no longer bootable. Without a good rescue disc, access to several of the above tasks are not possible. This can be created by burning an appropriate ".iso" onto a CD, DVD, and with the right software, on a usb drive. Once you have a good rescue disk, with the software appropriate to the system you need to repair, your tech life will be much simpler.

Rolando123
Rolando123

I know about this. This will somehow help. Thanks!

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

I disagree with needing to know how to reboot a Linux machine. They are going away anyway.

reisen55
reisen55

NOT TO DO IN YOUR SLEEP!!! Data Restoration on workstations and servers in the event of a Disaster Recovery situation. Think about it. 2 in the morning is not the time to discover that your recovery protocols have never been tested. Your backups don't work. God forbid it be tape. You have office staff coming in by 8:30 am and you are tired, no sleep and beginning to make bad decisions. Plus you have no set plan, nothing written down, as to how to ensure their business comes back to life. It gets worse. You are on the hook for the success of the client's business. Do you know a lawyer? You may need one. Badly. The client is not going to like listening to excuses at all. Data and server restoration is not to be done in your sleep. TEST and DOCUMENT your protocols. I regularly test my clients and know precisely how to reassemble a lost anything in a timely manner. Why do I do this? I am a survivor of the South Tower, World Trade Center - been there, done that. My servers crashed from the 103rd floor to the ground. Nothing left. Lost good people too. Do not trust your intuitive powers on something as important as this subject: Disaster Recovery is the most singularly important task you may have to do one evening or weekend and if you do not have it tested and documented, be prepared not to sleep, to make errors and wind up in court. A judge won't be sympathetic either.

netmessages
netmessages

Thanks Jack, for starting a mostly good reply forum. The basics are always good to review. I recently learned to look in the host file to check for IP address entries by malware. This can be especially useful if when trying to get on a AV site, you're redirected to a site of the hackers choice. I'm new to IT (training for 3 years so far while taking on a few clients that I think I can handle). I'm happy to say after reading all the posts I'm on the right track. To the senior guys out there keep your prices up, the batch of kids that I see in college scare me. I'm especially thankful to maagero for the website http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/scriptcenter/default.aspx I've been wanting to learn how to write scripts.

higgsj
higgsj

I think you have to be awake to do most of these things.

sura.jan
sura.jan

Setting repair params in chkdsk can destroy files on the disk! If chkdsk reports data errors than first check cables (both power and signal) and run Spinrite to refresh data. Then use recovery software other than chkdsk. Chkdsk is OK only to repair minor inconsistencies in file system. If system reports data errors and you start chkdsk to repair them chkdsk destroys files making fragments from them. My experience is that most of data problems vere cable problems and not disk problems - than I lost data! Spinrite is must have program!

RayG314
RayG314

Two skills I'd recommend: the ability to write batch files (including the CALL command to other batch files, and the ECHO command and >> to append a record of the event to a log file), and the ability to schedule tasks (so these batch files can run automatically).

Bushta
Bushta

I prefer the flash drives with the manual switch on the side to lock it to read only. That way a virally enhanced machine won't infect the USB drive.

dbecker
dbecker

I never perform any of my duties while I'm asleep because the clients are too important.

bill.tkach
bill.tkach

Be fluent in Google... or whatever search engine you like to use. No IT tech would be anywhere without the resources of their search engine, and knowing how to use it productively.

Lost Cause?
Lost Cause?

Some anti virus programs need special programs to uninstall them (e.g. Norton, McAfee...) Why do you think that is? Why don't they just put an uninstall routine into their programs?

terry.sanderson
terry.sanderson

How about Task 11: Breathe. What a useless article. Sure, I'm going to memorize how to uninstall a bunch of antivirus programs. How 'bout using a real antivirus application that has a proper uninstaller. And learn how to join a workgroup or a domain? Wow; where's the power button Just my two cents worth.

jimd
jimd

Why do so many PC users overlook the importance of backup and recovery out of the gate. It should be there and be used on day one.

patclem
patclem

There are so many different flavors of fields in IT. You could have a top 10 in network, top 10 in Windows server management, top 10 in Linux, top 10 in cabling, top 10 in data centers, top 10 in storage management, top 10 in security, etc.... These all have "techs." Maybe it should be top 10 for running a small IT shop or servicing small businesses or something like that.

kpbarry
kpbarry

On most Unix/Linux versions that I have worked with, it is preferable to do an 'init 6' or 'shutdown -r' rather than a 'reboot' command. The difference is that 'init 6' and 'shutdown -r' will gracefully run all shutdown scripts before rebooting, whereas with many systems, 'reboot' will just do a fast shutdown without gracefully shutting down services, etc. The 'shutdown' command has more options for delayed shutdowns, warning users, etc. The options seem to vary for 'shutdown', so do a 'man shutdown' on the system that you are using if you are unfamiliar with it before executing.

hydrodane
hydrodane

Aloha, its that time of the month to provide a less popular, but more common, AND REALISTIC reaction~critique.. First, the writer here does a very very good job of making a list of very key fundamental skills that DEFINE how well an IT tech is going to perform in almost any setting. I like the list. Very Much. In fact, so much, I practically use the very same exact list for my employees this morning to get them all focused on basics...and this is where we are steering our internal training. I reminded me also, going through the list, of the literally thousands and thousands of various tasks that an IT is "expected" to know...and yet, in many situations, NOT KNOWING just ten...will get you sidelined...As in so many other things in life..it really isn't what you know ...it is what you don't know...miss a few key things...don't know them? loss the bid, confidence of contract...period. And I remember the kind of stress that I had as a younger tech just starting out the kind of expectations were so very difficult to meet. It is a good idea to lean on the basics ...to refresh what we think we can know...and train others to focus on them also. It adds incredible momentum to the overall training mindset. Now...I want to make a few points, regarding some of the information that was used to justify the top ten. I am not attempting to create a controversy, but I found that either I suffer from a greater confusion, or the writer might be making some assumptions that I have never run across, or maybe we just disagree..I'll try to be specific to each point. 1. I would only add that some command line operations are so basic that there are not nearly as robust and actually, as when using them WITH A SWITCH! I would additionally add, that if you are encountering a computer that is as old as 4 to five year, and is exhibiting disk errors, and is running business information, such as quickbooks....having or consulting the client to purchase another hdd, or backup, and/or something like spinrite...is JUST AS beneficial as the troubleshooting of the disk itself...ordinarily, we often focus on being the "repairmen of technology"...call me when it becomes broken mentality etc. However, we do a much better job when we are anticipating problems as they become known..and we advise of customer relative to them..have solutions in hand...and we avoid the problems of "if you were aware of it...why didn't you fix it?" heard that before? 2. Could not agree more...knowing how to uninstall virus and malware is critical...KNOWING HOW TO CREATE AND DESIGN LAYERS OF SECURITY TO PREVENT THE SAME RISKS IS JUST AS IMPORTANT! Sort of the same things as above... 3. Agree...I would also add, that a tech should know the difference between sharing folders...and mapping them..and understand the unique limitations/benefits of both. Most small businesses do not have servers for instance! 4. Agree. I would say the same thing as above... 5. Agree. I would say the same thing as above... 6. Agree. Important and Vital! In fact, so important is this point number 6, that I would strongly recommend that you take a poll and then consider making "THE TOP 50 MOST IMPORTANT COMMANDS FOR ANY TECH" its own special submission on your next article. (in fact, for each of these 10 points, I would enjoy seeing the same kind of thing) 7. Hmmmmm...Given your background, I was not bothered that you listed something linux/ibm...However, it is so infrequent (at least in my own windows careers) that I have actually encountered a linux server, that I think it is something that should have been replaced with somethign more common and relevant in the scope of how servers in particular are defined in the real world for most it professionals...Further, you explained this item because "you will come across it one day"...I will also come across more often and more likely a windows server, or an ibm server! In the light of what is most important, I don't assume that everyone is going to have the same field experience as me. However, I would assume I am not far off the mark. Not saying knowing how to boot sudo is unimportant. I can just think of way more common and important server functions and tasks if we are going to think about booting servers...make sense? 8. Agree...root level/memory resident malware is prevalent. And difficult to detect and to eliminate without causing SOFTWARE issues. This is where I was either reading your points as either a mistake on my comprehension, or your intent. I am NOT aware of any ROOTKIT that rendered a machine UNRECOVERABLE! Ever! It would be more accurate to say, that either the tech was limited in his abilities to recover the machine..or the time spent/labor/cost/resources expended where compared to simply buying a new machine...a very important point that all techs and clients eventually have to adjust in their decisions about how repairing technology versus meeting sensible economic/business thresholds. My point is simple: there is no such thing as a rootkit that has caused a system to be unrecoverable..I have never encountered that. I have encountered spending many hours repairing machines from rootkit damage...and if that is the goal and the intent of the customer..restoring that machine is going to happen... again, I am just not satisfied that rootkit wins...It was not a well written point in the list. 9. agree...with MANY caveats! The cost/labor of replacing-repairing components of any machine should be made with consideration to the overall life cycle, performance and other time related,, technology related, cost effectiveness, kind of comparison. Again the true experience of a good "repairman" is anticipating problems. it is more common for HDD and video cards, and optical drives to fail in older machines than in new...that is the point...the other point is..at what age of a machine does it make more sense to upgrade, versus patch working it? 10. Agree...Ah Yes...angry people...I would also add, that there are many situations where I and my staff have made decisions to fire a customer, because of the personal issues. it is probably more common than we want to think about, but in the bigger picture, I want to work for and work with and hire, positive, mature, intelligent people. I don't want to work for, work with, or hire negative, ignorant, immature, unintelligent people. Having said that..I would rather have a stable envrionment in which to operate..and often than means managing your customers...because in the end..it isn't really about technology...it is about people...sometimes customers forget that..and often techs fail to remind them of these facts. The most helpful advice I give my techs is this...WHEN (not if) YOU ENCOUNTER PROBLEM CUSTOMERS, ASK YOURSELF Can I fix the technical problem? Whether I can or I cannot, is the customer allowing me to do that job ? if either answer is no in either, a decision to walk from that job and cut losses is important..and right away! It is a business..and it has to be positive at all times...we don't sink down to every single common denominator. There is a certain culture of service related business here in America that has a tendency to suggest that we provide for all the "needs" of the customer...including psychological coaching and hand holding..nonsense! We must separate the personal from the professional. Techs and businesses in general make decisions to garner trust and relationships for a business reason..period...sometimes we make friends along the way..coincidental... I am not cold blooded..but I have a specific idealogy belief about how to "take care of a customer"..I make it simple. personal empathy skills ARE important..but IMHO they have to be fairly balanced... let me give you an example: at the end of each month in my office, we hold a tribal meeting, not unlike the the popular reality tv show: "survior".. we vote the customer(S) that is paying us the least, AND causing more problems for us. often, these customers ARE BOTH exist! (something to think about!) it is quite cathartic to fire your problem customers! (or you "boss" if you think of it this way!) have you ever watched your staff working slowly dragging heels on a monday, knowing they have to face the same ingrate or bad personality? And the time they spend "feeling" it and rehashing the experience back at the shop...? It is bad kharma..and it travels..and it is contagious..avoid it at all costs! period! always! Voting troublemakers off your island motivates my staff to know that we are going to spend OUR time following OUR dreams and desires to be positive motivated and highly skilled people, who enjoy our work and life in general, picking selectively the customers who will make this possible for us! ..and as such, be willing and ready make "sacrifices" to ensure that is preserved at all times, good or bad! (meaning, profits and money success is not the highest priority!) My point is simple: maybe the best policy is that we have to define limits in meeting CUSTOMER DEMANDS. Normal, mature, intelligent, balanced, people DO NOT REQUIRE SMOOTHING AND HAND HOLDING! We look for customer qualities that enhance our business s as much as we look for their ability to steer business our way, and to pay on time! (usually, all of these things are located in these classes of customers...also something to think about!) The problem with attempting to satisfy problem customer, "to settle them down", should not be a social experiment where business creed and values are sacrificed. There are other kinds of people out there, who are have come to expect that computer people will be intimidated, shouted at, accuse, belittled, harassed, hazed, ridiculed, insulted or manipulate. There are also others who are emotional invalids..and other who are intellectual midgets. When you come across these people...just remind yourself, if they are not capable of running a normal psyche..with a balanced intelligent view...how are they to run and operate a successful business..pay their bills on time..be your long term loyal customer? In most cases, they do not last..and professionally, I am not really interested in "fly by night" passions. And I don't enjoy the company of people in my business who are not strong about this in their own conduct-behavior. whew...now I got that off my chest..I hope some of it strikes the tech people who have been "at it" for as long as me. I guess alot of this is experience..making the mistakes that you can resolve all of your customers expectations is a terrible trap..you have to set limits...know what you "can" do...and know what "you are willing" to do. ********* Now I move to some other things I would like to add to this list. I think these are just as important..and will be just as helpful. a. Know how to properly extract-backup data/files from a crashed system (does not matter is HW or SW related), then to "slick" a hdd and then to reinstall the OS with THE APPROPRIATE LICENSURE and then to install the appropriate updates, patches and then to install the applications that were installed as before, and then to install the security, install the user accounts and policies, and then to demonstrate and confirm all setups are according to the user requirements! b. How to trouble shoot a printer! How to configure a print server! c. install a device driver! troubleshoot a device driver! d. understand how to perform data AND image backups ON A SCHEDULE for a customer? e. understand how to actually test/evaluate the security of a computer? f. perform and know how to "optimize" a computer...cleanup/defrag/profile mgmt/pagefile mgmt/restore mgmt/vss mgmt/services mgmgt g. Know how to call for help! Know when to stop and call for backup...I consider this one of the most important and vital skills of any tech... "KNOW YOUR LIMITS...USE YOUR RESOURCES" we are no superman...but we can be an awesome team..and that is really what matters in business...providing a top quality service..cutting no corners..and not guessing what to do next! this is more common that we discuss. often we send a tech out to something we consider low level and routine..He often runs into other problems...phone home and using the team approach gives the customer alot of confidence also. It is more appropriate that a tech tell a customer, we are sending MR X, our best person for this kind of technical work. Most of my customer will "sense" if you are "winging it"...few of them are satisfied with that kind of approach...and I am not either..Each of my staff has unique and individual skill limits..either by experience, or our company policy, based on how they can actually demonstrate. The first thing we teach in training is this: we give the tech an "impossibly difficult" issue, one we know they will not be able to solve..either by experience, skill, or a limit of information and resources...then we start the clock... in the evaluation, we discuss how they might have been able to recognize when it was time to call for help...and not to waste more time guessing....it is the hardest thing for alot of techs to do...sometimes, they have such a high expectation placed upon them to know and do all things... a great company will NEVER put those conditions and expectations upon a tech. rather the tech will know that there is no harm and a greater positive result that comes from making the call, and stepping aside for someone more talented in that area. I think some of the problems in the culture and expectations of the IT field are a result of the superman complex. We can only solve that, by being realistic! h. Know how to configure a basic nat router and test it for performance and security! i. Know how to configure pop. smtp imap and other protocols for email setup j. know how to recover-reset-delete user accounts AND and administrative and root PASSWORDS, to operating systems and programs and applications. k. know how to flash bios l. know how to repair system files, drivers, and boot records, without destroying user data. m. know how to train a customer user when a repair or an issue is resolved...what questions to ask them...and to observe them demonstrating that they can perform what they need to do...and the answer questions and offer suggestions that will help to prevent the same kind of problem. My most inexperience staff techs usually spend the least amount of time, after they "think" they are done making a repair..The job is not actually done, until the customer tells you..this is GREAT! that makes it simple...how does a tech know when they are actually done? GREAT! is what you need to hear! keeps everyone happy... I am sure I could spend more time this morning coming up with other "top" things...but I got to move on. hope this helps someone else...My mentor taught me everything I really needed to know about the technical stuff..and the business stuff...we can't lose sight of vision and dreams...we end up sacrifices our most important goals... quality! Aloha tm

dbecker
dbecker

I get them to tell me their frustrations with IT Management. Then I agree with them. And then I tell them stuff they didn't even know or haven't heard yet. There's nothing like having a common enemy.

idonot12bonZDnet
idonot12bonZDnet

Dude, do you really get paid to write useless claptrap like this? I want reimbursement for the last 10 minutes of my life.

tom.price
tom.price

Face it, this one should be "Use Google..." How did uninstalling AV even make the list? AVG must pay you guys to plug their products!

Lord Deonast
Lord Deonast

I think they are going away from jfreedle2's work place because they didn't want to learn how to reboot them :)

DNSB
DNSB

Around here, I seem to be seeing more Linux servers not less. Also a fair chunk of servers that are running Windows and Linux in virtual sessions.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Off-site online backups? I mean, a lot of companies have most of their data on-site. The wholesale demolition of the workplace is hardly among the scenarios against which most people prepare. In some small companies key execs might keep backups at home, but as with online backups there are security concerns. Insights?

hydrodane
hydrodane

spinrite is batbelt esential! cheers! Aloha tm

sura.jan
sura.jan

Panda free Vaccine writes Autorun.inf file to USB flash - empty file that can neither be opened nor deleted. Than it is impossible to write any autorun there to start malware program.

seanferd
seanferd

So many still don't understand these concepts. You don't want your rescue tools infected.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

Even the special clean-up programs sometimes miss things. Just check here: Device Manager View: Show Hidden Devices Non-plug and Play drivers You may find hardware drivers left behind by these applications. I wouldn't normally look there for software that has no physical component but obviously drivers can be used for things other than hardware interfacing. If they put something in to my computer I want them to take it out!!

DNSB
DNSB

Hmmm... I've walked into many an office where I had no input into which antivirus program they run, which server OS they run, no input into their update policies, etc. All I am expected to do is to unscramble the eggs and do it yesterday at the latest. As for joining a workgroup or domain? If you don't know the process, are you going to be able to spot any problems or oddities. Joining the domain from the GUI doesn't work since you get a error message about not finding a domain controller but netdom.exe does work from the command line. Quick, what are the most likely causes of this issue? The pay ain't all that great but you can get addicted to the egoboo.

adeyemiadeoye13
adeyemiadeoye13

common sense is not common. and they blame you if u can recover their data. how senseless.

seanferd
seanferd

Not the top ten things, not ten things that cover everything. It's an article, not a Manual. However, they are 10 relatively simple things that so many seem unprepared to deal with. Add to the list. Read other articles here. Something will cover your particular interest.

hydrodane
hydrodane

Aloha, just a little humor.. I could not agree more. the problem with the list is that it does not satisfy the basics required in ALL of the flavors of computer technical services, as you have well stated. further, we would likely list at least 10 sub-list items to each category in each 'class' to add some depth and context. for example: if we call this the top 10 for the small service business targeting small workgroups, or even single users.. we would have to add something about printer troubleshooting and networking... same as with router-modem troubleshooting.. these two list items for instance, belong in just about all 'classifications' of tech services, be it server administration at middle size networks, or enterprise/corp. but the sub-list would be substantially more challenging to list as we go up the ladder. what surprises (is that alot of what is listed on this top 10 appears to be "old school" fundamentals..and does not include a HUGE number of computer related technologies that exist in many classes of technology used today. such as: ipod/blackberry/palm, wireless/bluetooth, POS (Point of Sale) devices, GPS devices, plc/cnc devices, backup devices, NAS devices, ... and.. VOIP. does anyone realize what is missing from this list is the growing use and number of VOIP technologies used across all ranges of the industry...right down to the single home user. and no mention of what basic fundamental KB's are necessary to service voip issues. so, your point is well taken! A top 10 list greatly understates the reality for the many classes of tech support professionals. In reality, to give even a small blush to each and every important technology that we are all called upon to service/maintain/repair...a "true" list would be something like: "the minimum 500 things every tech support professional should know....you can sleep all you want when you are dead!" :-) Aloha tm

seanferd
seanferd

1. Knowing how to use a command means with switches and arguments. Should Jack reprint the Manual here? 7. No. 8. Are you entirely sure it has been completely removed? Not a chance to take in critical business networks. But no, I don't think the systems would be unrecoverable, not from my experience. "Normal, mature, intelligent, balanced, people DO NOT REQUIRE SMOOTHING AND HAND HOLDING!" I don't know if the people exhibiting these qualities are "normal" in the sense of "average" or "common", at least in any given situation. Point me to them! It would be fantastic to be able to choose quality customers, and I'm glad there are folks out there that get to do this. Two thumbs up. :D Your list A-M: Awesome. Agreed. Cheers.

techrepublic
techrepublic

i agree with everything you've said - i've got some customers (2 main one's) that i would DEARLY love to get rid of - sadly not my decision. personally i've never understood why in IT you're not supposed to say you don't know how to do something, and call for help - i have no particular problem admitting my ignorance with a particular topic (not that it happens very often these days)

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

I think I needed a cup of coffee and a scone to read it. Very detailed.

seanferd
seanferd

And are you all the same person who logs in under different names to post this unchanging and stupid comment? Or is the world really full of people like you?

Realvdude
Realvdude

If the article was claptrap, why did you spend 10 minutes reading through the posts. The answer: the article spurs on information sharing and debate. That makes your response claptrap, since it serves no purpose other than for other to point out that responses that serve no purpose are not wanted.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

I beg to differ. I have had some serious problems with McAfee to be exact. I ran the uninstaller that came with the program, it leaves behind junk in every nook and corner of the system it can. Next up I ran the official "Uninstaller cleanup" you can download from McAffe's support site. That appears to help but guess what it leaves behind? Kernel level drivers that are loaded all the time and constantly using resources totally unreported by any process in windows. The only way to remove them: Device Manager View: Show Hidden Devices Non-plug and Play drivers There you will see 2 to 4 drivers with a Mc-something name that are obviously remnants. Go check a computer that you have "uninstalled" McAffe from and then tell me if you knew about that. I found this myself and after spending a large amount of time on Google trying to clean up McAffe I never read about anyone else finding this.

GreatZen
GreatZen

The blog has an author. Jack is not "you guys." And AVG consistently performs amongst the leaders of the pack in detection rates, low resource usage, low false positives, and perhaps most importantly provides far better cross-platform support than any alternative with similar positive attributes. For instance, the industry-standard Symantec Endpoint Protection provides Windows-only protection. Many of the other high quality products don't even have a Windows Server version, let alone xNIX or mac. Personally, I don't deploy any AVG products, but it's a quality product and since Jack supports a lot of multi-OS environments it's the most appropriate choice for him.

Jye75
Jye75

it will be before we can "jack-in" a al Johnny Mnemonic, and straight download every bit of technical knowledge we need to do our jobs? Of course, with that technology, our usefulness may become obsolete to a large degree, as everyone would have the ability to do that and become and expert in any subject... until it breaks and someone has to fix it... Wait... Aahhh! It's a vicioous cycle! Let me out!

adeyemiadeoye13
adeyemiadeoye13

wtf is claptrap. tried to google it lol no response......

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

He doesn't want to be on ZDNet, but wants to act like he is... Another one of those ignoramuses that think anything with which they disagree shouldn't have been published.

DNSB
DNSB

Add in the show disconnected devices variable and you'll see a couple more. The following is a batch file I use: set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 start devmgmt.msc

seanferd
seanferd

Symantec and McAfee both leave a load of unwanted junk behind, even after running their "extra" downloadable uninstallers. Just the drivers which won't go away and the ridiculous HKLM registry entries are nearly enough to make me want to nuke and pave. And all the drivers are not so obvious. Which brings me to the off-topic comment: I want to smack every company that does not include sensible properties information into every file installed with their software.

techrepublic
techrepublic

Endpoint caused several severe issues on windows servers when it was initially release (i still have the nightmares!) it was so poor at removing itself, that i ended up writing a script to remove all of the registry entries - several hundred of the bloody things i believe that Symantec eventually (months later) released an uninstall tool that actually works - but i still use my batch file from time to time

tom.price
tom.price

I didn't want to imply that the author was making money off this personally. The idea was top 10 tech skills. Removing an antivirus isn't one of them. IMHO, AVG doesn't deserve a free plug in this context from Jack or **you**...

techrepublic
techrepublic

hardly a day goes by that i don't get the feeling that someone's trying to kill me anyway - and to live in a world with all those beautiful women (Yvonne Strahovski is sexy as hell, as is Kristin Kreuk) - i'd die happy to live like that for a week. :) but my ambitions are low.

Jye75
Jye75

My mistake, (same principle) but yeah, it's been a while for me as well. Age wears on...

Realvdude
Realvdude

It's been a while since I've seen Johnny Mnemonic, but wasn't he a data courier. The matrix was the one that they could download skills to the humans that were online. I personally like the idea of being "Chuck" except for the part of people wanting to kill me.

seanferd
seanferd

Nobody talks that way. :^0

seanferd
seanferd

You win the internets for today.

hydrodane
hydrodane

Aloha, I routinely remove av and other software...sometimes to get rid of it altogether..other times, to reinstall it "cleanly".. my understanding is that av software (and some other types) install in such a way that is designed and engineered so that malware would have difficulty modifying the security code. And the reasons that security software "appears" to be smattered all over the face of the o/s, is mainly due to the strategy that the designers are choosing to make the security features difficult to detect by malware (and hackers), so they are basically building a method that makes it more difficult to break the security once it is in place. Some of this is debatable if it is in fact a meaningful way to protect security from breaking down. I have not run across any security software from strong and respectable av companies that do not provide a removal tool. And instructions even for manual removal. It is a hassle sure...but I think it would not be a wise choose to 'easily' remove security software with a simple control panel add/remove feature. Too many security issues, INCLUDING future windows updates, could really play bad with that kind of a setup. I contemplated the conspiracy that security software companies may have another motive for making some of their code not especially easy, even with the tools they provide, to be moved. One has to assume this is more of a business reason than any other. Or just simply, poor design... wrt to security companies making public how they install/uninstall properties...well, again, this might not serve the interest of security. It might help with uninstalling, but it also reveals to malware and other security companies, alot of information that may actually make their software obsolete/ineffective. I understand the gripe though...security software has always been a headache..I don't think we are going to see that solve easily. think about where security software is headed at the moment...behavioral, heuristic! if you think definition based code and the current level of behavioral algorithm-based code is a headache to remove...think about how difficult that a truly robust behavioral inspection "bot" will be to uninstall...where it is going to very likely "spawn" new code ..and "learn".. that is where the future is going...one might even make the argument, that at some point, o/s and security code are going to have to be integrated in ways that we businesses have been unwilling to cooperate and tolerate.. imagine a os machine with a separate security bot that evolves? At some point, you are going to find the bot has more controls and procedures equal to and greater than the very os, it is designed to protect. some of this is already been observed.. security software that cannot be removed by the os procedures, but require "special" non-os techniques. got to fight fire with fire...and security software falls into that category... soon, my expectation is that security products will be more valuable even that the services they are designed to protect. given the growing reality of threats and downtime to businesses, this seems a nature path for the economics. Aloha tm

DNSB
DNSB

I find the various removal/cleanup tools rather useful. Symantec/Norton, McAfee, Nero and about a half dozen others live on my USB drive. The uninstall applets typically do a very poor job of removing most of the bits and pieces.

Realvdude
Realvdude

It's the only antivirus I've had to run a seperate program to get rid of after "uninstalling".

ctrogers
ctrogers

What I think he means is uninstalling *expired* a/v. I can't tell you how many *personal* machines I've worked on that had expired Norton A/V preinstalled and were swarming with trojans. After cleaning the system, uninstalling Norton A/V and installing Microsoft Security Essentials along with MBAM is now a given.

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