Run Splashtop, A Free Web Centric OS To Reduce Your Exposure To Malware

imageCurrent statistics indicate that over 95 percent of viruses, spyware, and other types of malware, are designed and targeted to attack Microsoft Windows. And, the route by which the majority of malware spreads, and intrusion attempts take place is the Internet Browser.

It seems reasonable to make the point then, that if you’re not running Windows while surfing the Net, but instead, you’re running an alternative operating system, you shouldn’t have to unnecessarily worry about malware, viruses, and spyware.

Regular readers might recall that I do most of my surfing using Linux; specifically Ubuntu. And yes, I’m aware of of all the counter arguments that surround this choice – “security through obscurity”, “Linux is built from the ground up with security in mind”, and on and on.

None of the various contentious points of view really make much difference to me. The reality is straightforward – all statistics indicate that surfing with a non-Windows system can reduce the malware risks Windows users have to contend with.

If you are leaning towards running an alternative to Windows, while interacting with the Net, then Splashtop OS, a Linux driven Web centric, (Chrome focused), specialty operating system (which coexists with Windows),  and is close to “instant on”, – about 10 seconds to boot and reach the Net in my tests, is worth taking for a spin.

Splashtop, (in beta currently), was initially designed to run on specific HP systems only, but it can now run on virtually any Windows system. Following installation, (from within Windows), on subsequent boots you will have the opportunity to boot into Splashtop, or Windows, through a boot menu.

Booting back into Windows once you’re in Splashtop, is “one click” simple.

You won’t get lost during the install which is very straightforward.

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On completion of the install process, you will have an opportunity to gather additional information.

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and perform a number of setup tasks.

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The desktop is rather plain, but given that Splashtop has been designed as a Web centric OS, it’s still very functional.

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Fast facts:

FAST:  Starts in seconds — way before Windows

EASY:  Featuring Instant Search, powered by Bing

SAFE:  A Linux-based platform running Chromium

READY:  Includes Adobe Flash Player pre-installed

PERSONAL:  Choose from thousands of Web Apps, extensions, and themes at the Chrome Web Store, and install the ones you want

SIMPLE:  Your existing Windows bookmarks and Wi-Fi Settings profile can be imported from Windows into Splashtop OS

CONVENIENT:  Visual Bookmarks show thumbnails of recently visited web pages (or can be hidden if desired)

CUSTOMIZABLE:  From the Status Bar, check the status of network connections, volume, power supply; or open the Configuration Panel and then set your preferences

FLEXIBLE:  If desired, you can exit Splashtop OS and boot to the Windows OS at any time

Running Splashtop will allow you to surf, and interact with the Internet as you normally would – including interacting with instant messaging, email, music, photos, documents, gaming, etc. And, it really is virtually “instant on”.

Additional details available at the developer’s site:

Using features of the Web Browser

Using the Splashtop OS Configuration Utility in Windows

Using the Boot Menu (unsupported computers only)

Announcements and Frequently Asked Questions

More information at the Splashtop OS web page

Download at: Splashtop

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21 Comments

Filed under Alternatives to Windows, Beta Software, Chrome, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Google Chrome, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety Tools, Linux, Operating Systems, Software, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

21 responses to “Run Splashtop, A Free Web Centric OS To Reduce Your Exposure To Malware

  1. BOB SLYKER

    Hey Bill,

    Would you recommend Splashtop for an XP machine (requirements seem very nominal) from going to the bone-yard; I have a few candidates in mind (some of those puppies cost me an arm and a leg back in the day).

    Best,

    Bob

    • Hey Bob,

      According to the developers, the application will run on a machine produced in the last few years. I’m not entirely sure what that means.

      As best I can determine, the issue is one of video and network drivers. In other words, older drivers are not supported. Still, it’s definitely worth a try on an older XP machine. If it doesn’t run, an uninstall should be easy enough.

      Best,

      Bill

  2. Charlie

    This looks very interesting, Bill. Have you spent enough time testing it so that you are fairly certain it won’t cause any problems? Would one be better off waiting for it to go off Beta, or do you feel that it is stable enough now? Thanks-

    Charlie

    • Hi Charlie,

      Splashtop Linux is not quite as new as it seems. In fact, it’s been available as an OEM Linux distro on hardware from HP, Lenovo , Acer, Dell, and others, for a number of years. The closed Beta was released back in November, and the public Beta just yesterday.

      The idea behind a Beta, as you know, is it provides an opportunity to work out the bugs based on wide field testing. But, in the last few years, I’ve noticed Betas generally, seem much more stable than in the past.

      There’s no guarantee of course with a Beta, but in my limited testing (roughly 18 hours of run time), I haven’t encountered any problems.

      Best,

      Bill

      Yesteday HP, Lenovo and LG. On Wednesday, however, its maker released the instant-on operating system as a free download, making it widely available to anyone.

  3. BOB SLYKER

    Hey Bill,

    Thanks! Worth a try!

    Best,

    Bob

  4. Charlie

    One quick question: Can I assume that BufferZone won’t work with this running since it’s not Windows? So if one used Splashtop, there would be no virtual sandbox that would work with it, correct? Since there are so few viurs problems with Linux, perhaps running without a virtual would still be safe? Thanks-

    Charlie (again)

    • Hi Charlie,

      Just to be be clear, there are in fact specialized sandboxes for Linux – normally for Linux servers. But, since Chrome is the Browser around which Splashtop is built, and Chrome itself is sandbox protected – you’re doubly safe, in a sense.

      Best,

      Bill

  5. Hi Bill,
    “Instant on” operating systems are where most platforms are headed, eventually they’ll be as fully featured as any today. Someday well look back at Splashtop as a true innovator.
    Mark

    • Hi Mark,

      In a way, “Instant on” operating systems are sort of like “Back to the Future”. Remember the days when you slipped a DOS disk into a floppy drive, and in a few seconds the OS was up? The came Windows, and it soon became coffee time as the OS loaded.

      You’re right – “Someday well look back at Splashtop as a true innovator.” This is one step “backward”, I fully support. :)

      Best,

      Bill

  6. PJ

    Hey, You people are thinking way too hard. I have been doing this for YEARS( !) with Puppy Linux LIVE, and I insist that my clients do so as well. I tell them if you are going to buy anything, go to your bank account, or even trade hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stocks/precious metals, etc. you will use Puppy to do it…I’m not going to go crazy trying to keep your MSoft ‘crap-storm’ secure. Every reboot to Puppy is clean, fresh, new and as secure as anything can be as long as you never SAVE. Any copies of anything you need: copy and paste into an email, save as a draft and print it out later on your ‘crap-storm’ OS. So far NO(!) security problems. I say forget this ‘sandbox’ stuff and lets poke the Linux community into developing a REALLY secure Live EDITION with automatic VPN and a secure ‘router’ built inside.

    Long Live scroogle.org …and Bill,my other saviors.

    • Hey PJ,

      It’s been a while since I booted with Puppy Live, but you’re right – it’s a terrific OS. There’s some top notch recos in your comment which I totally endorse.

      Thanks for the great comment.

      Bill

      • PJ

        I have burned countless copies of Puppy 4.2.1 -seamonkey and given them away. It runs on any hardware jalopy that will boot, the network connection button on the destop is virtually idiot-proof and Seamonkey(could use an upgrade) is as snappy and fast as anything out there. If my ‘porn addicted’ clients don’t use Puppy I walk away.

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  8. Bill,

    This looks great! My one main Windows machine just got hosed by a virus when one of the kids was using it. I’ll have to try this out.

    The more my Windows systems get nailed by viruses that my Anti-Virus doesn’t see, the more I like Ubuntu! :)

    • Hey Dan,

      That’s a bummer. :(

      Just went to 64 bit Ubuntu over the weekend (after 32 bit for a long time) – it’s very cool.

      Good to hear from you. Trust all is well.

      Best,

      Bill

      • Bill,
        Is the 64 bit pretty stable? I know last I checked, Ubuntu recommended desktop users download the 32 bit, but I would much rather go 64. I’ll have to install it when I rebuild the Windows machine. :)

        Things are going pretty good, been busy, so I haven’t been by as much as I want to lately. Recently was asked to be a technical editor by a small publishing company for an upcoming book on Wi-Fi security. This is new for me, but I am kind of excited about it. Should be fun!

        I will try to visit more frequently, I love your product reviews!

        Take care Bill,

        Dan

        • Hey Dan,

          First, let me point out that I haven’t really seen a performance difference 64 bit vs 32 bit. On the other hand, I haven’t seen any instability issues either, and I’m running Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS (Lucid Lynx) Beta which has been compiled for AMD processors.

          Great news on the tech editor positions – sound terrific. Congrats!

          Best,

          Bill

  9. Lee

    Hi,
    Found your site today after doing searches for AV programs for Windows. Very helpful. I subscribed to the RSS feed.
    Thanks for the great info.
    Lee