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Mailbag: .NET vs. Java, More Thoughts on Scareware

Last week, Doug wrote about a survey that showed .NET's popularity is on the rise, after lagging behind Java's for some time. David explains what may be behind the change:

I am not a developer, but from a system admin point of view, I do not care for Java. With .NET, you have 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 3.0 and soon 4.0. With Java, you have 10 or 12 JRE releases per 1.6.xx release. This becomes very cumbersome because most apps are tested against a certain Java release so each time that changes you have to deploy the new JRE (I called it the 'JRE chase'). I had this issue with a company that developed health care software. As a company, they did not seem to care much.

With .NET, you only have a handful of releases and they can be easily deployed with WSUS.

Readers chime in with more of their thoughts on scareware, and their suggestions for fighting it:

I hate scareware! Had a machine last year with this problem. A user was clicking on the supposed 'problem' messages.

I think Centurion or another type of freezing software that puts the computer back to a clean state upon restart is one of the best ways to deal with it in a large deployment. Of course, keeping users from having install rights and user education are effective tools, as well.

Have PCs that you maintain for friends or family? You would do them a huge favor if you set up multiple accounts in Windows, with the accounts that access the Internet having limited privileges. For adults, provide them with clear instructions on the only times they can log in to an administrative account to install well-known software.

My two children would be tempted to do the same thing many other computer novices do when these types of pop-ups occur, or they just want to add that required software to run games on their browser. Secure it and then lock down all the possibilities to find other ways to install executables. We haven't had a single virus for years on a family computer that's actively used by four different accounts.

These stories are all reasons why people should NOT be surfing the Web using an account with administrator privileges! This means setting up the PC from the very beginning with an administrator's account and a limited-user account, and doing all of your normal work with that limited-user account.

Of course, how many people not in the IT field would know about this? Should companies that sell computers do a better job of educating the general public about this?

And Doug's daughter chimes in with her advice:

How do I prevent the scareware pop-ups (and all pop-ups)? I got a Mac, and have maybe had one single pop-up since.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/07/2008 at 1:16 PM


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