A PC that cannot become infected with malware

I don’t normally review hardware but I could hardly wait to get my hands on the IMGolden PC that the manufacturer claimed was immune to malware infection. The "manufacturer" is actually a Support Alert Subscriber, Bob Schweighauser who, together with some of his colleagues, designs and makes the machines. Here’s what Bob wrote when out of the blue, he first contacted me:

"Gizmo your hard work has helped me tremendously. You inspired my friend and I to build a new kind of PC, in which we now have a U.S. provisional patent, that…I am going to make an incredibly bold statement right now…is impervious to all viruses, trojans, spyware -all malware in fact.

We call it a PI Client. PI stands for Preserved Integrity. It’s the same PC every time you turn it on. It will never slow down, there’s no updating and requires no maintenance.  The machine itself is named the IMGolden PC. IM stands for Internet Machine and Golden means a user has no worries.

About a year and a half ago or so, you introduced me to Live Linux CDs as a fool-proof way of avoiding having one’s PC compromised. Specifically, the Ubuntu distro. I love the fact that the hard drive isn’t used at all…everything just goes to memory. No worries whatsoever! This is the idea the PC is based upon…with a few differences."

By now you should get the idea: the IMGolden PC is a Linux Based PC with no hard drive. When you start it up it boots a version of Ubuntu Linux that’s stored in a non-volatile memory module. It’s kind of like running Ubuntu from a Live CD except that the Live CD is actually in permanent memory. As is the case with a Live CD, there are a whole bunch of programs pre-installed and ready to use, including Open Office and Firefox.

It’s a clever idea with some immediate advantages. Every time you boot the PC it comes up in exactly the same state as the last time you booted it. Indeed, in exactly the same state it left the factory. And of course the operating system running from memory is much faster than running from a CD.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2008-03-20: