Ubuntu Rebuild plus Music Importing and Mixing

Rob Farquhar imagines at bigpond.net.au
Tue Jun 9 12:44:12 BST 2009


Hi, folks. I've not made any concrete progress on upgrading my Ubuntu
system yet; I want to dedicate a full weekend to it and we've been busy
with family stuff.

In the meantime, though, I've started helping a friend with some
computer woes of his, and I'd like your advice and suggestions.

My friend Dave isn't the most computer savvy of people yet; he's
definitely keen to learn. At the moment, he's been using a cracked
Windows XP system with a collection of semi-legit software. Just
recently, he's started turning his collection of vinyl LPs into sound
files with the aim of creating a digital library which he can use to
create mixes (I think he's keen on becoming a DJ). He's asked my advice
in the past and I've been meaning to sit down with him and sort out his
PC (we've even talked about putting Ubuntu on) but we both let it slide.

Within the last couple of days, however, everything's gone pear-shaped
for Dave. From what I can tell, his system has been hijacked by a piece
of malicious software. His wallpaper has been replaced with a message
about how his data is now unsafe; he can no longer run apps or even
access Control Panel functions; Internet Explorer starts unbidden and
points itself at very shady URLs (ones that look like a jumble of
letters with .net afterwards). Thankfully, his wireless network card
which connects to his Internet router is buggered, or else I dread to
think what he'd be downloading / uploading.

One way or another, it seems he's going to need to reformat his hard
drive. The problem is that in addition to his other personal files, he
has eighty-one gigabytes of music which he's gone to great pains to
import. I'd repartition his HDD, but thanks to the malware I can't
defragment his HDD under Windows as it stands, and I don't want to risk
those music files by getting Ubuntu to resize his Windows partition.

We're looking at a shopping trip to buy an external hard drive this
weekend, which if he's serious about his music he'll probably need
anyway. In the meantime I've connected his PC to his router via a Cat5
cable and left an Ubuntu LiveCD running 9.04 in his CD-ROM drive so he
can browse the Internet and IM, giving me some grace time to consider my
options.

The main question is, which OS should I install? Now, I know this seems
a silly question to ask of an Ubuntu user group, but Dave's situation
and needs mean the answer isn't obvious (at least to me).  The main
deciding factor is Dave's hobby. He's been using an version 3 of a
program called MAGIX Audio Cleaning to process the audio data from his
turntable and convert it into several digital formats. The most current
version, 15, appears to only be available on Windows, but it's cheap
enough that he can afford it. I have a spare legitimate WinXP disc and
key so he can get a legal system up and running, and can recommend
freeware antivirus and anti-malware products like Avast and Spybot
Search & Destroy, not to mention MailWasher.

So is there a program of similar function to MAGIX that will run on
Ubuntu? If so, what other programs would Dave need to consider should he
get serious about mixing? How is Ubuntu overall with music creation /
manipulation?

Are there any other options I could consider? Is there a program which
will allow me to defragment a Windows hard drive from a USB key?

I'd appreciate any help you can provide!

Cheers,

Rob



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