From: Edgewater, MD
I think I might try and reformat the old box and set it up in a virus free environment - ie no Internet connection. ..unless someone has figured out how to transmit a virus through the power lines...
If you aren't connected to the internet, there isn't much a virus can do. If you are connected to the internet, follow 3 simple rules and your chances of getting a virus are dramatically diminished:
1) Use a router between you and the internet, this acts as a firewall and to someone probing and trying to get in, it looks like nothing is there unless they are real pros, and the pros are hacking much more valuable targets than you.
2) Don't use Microsoft's internet products. Mozilla makes good browsers and e-mail programs and are not as vulnerable as IE and Outlook/Outlook Express.
3) Don't open attachments or click on strange links in e-mails.
We run, I think 7 computers here all running Windows. We don't have any virus protection memory resident on any of them most of the time (though we do run scans manually a few times a month). We never have virus problems. The worst problems are the occassional tracking cookie.
I've been on tech support with the cable company and they have said it looks like we have a cable modem connected to nothing on the other side when they try to probe our address. I've also run those firewall security checks on the net.
I hear so many horror stories, I'm a bit paranoid about something slipping under the radar, but nearly 10 years on broadband and nothing has gotten through. I keep checking because there is always a first time.
If you don't install the network drivers, disable them in Windows, or physically unplug the cable, you will be completely isolated from the internet and at zero risk for a virus unless somebody gives you a dodgy disk and I haven't heard of any disk trasmitted viruses cropping up in over 10 years.
I believe I was a victim of #2. I run my system through a router behind a cable modem. I never click on unknown attachments or download files from unknown sources. And I had virus protection software and a firewall.
Now with all that being said I may have fallen victim to the dreaded 12 y.o. playing with Dad's computer while he is at work virus...but I'm not positive about that as the system appeared to be in the same state when I returned from work the day it crashed.
Nevertheless I went ahead and got the iMac which is what I'm typing on at the moment. I am still debating the merits of setting up the separate Windows partition which would necessitate investing in a new edition of Windows XP SP2 or Vista or using the old box. Problem with using the old box is that it would just take up additional desk space and would require a day to reinstall old drivers etc... c'est la vie.
I think I will opt to install windows in the separate partition and disconnect my cable when installing and then also when I bootup. Until I can figure out disabling the Windows Network drivers as you suggested.
Here's a link to: Treespider's Grand Campaign of DBB
"It is not the critic who counts, .... The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena..." T. Roosevelt, Paris, 1910