madsdyd writes "I am a long-time user of Linux (since 1997) and have not been using Windows since 1998. All PCs at home (mine, wife's, kids') run Linux. I work professionally as a software developer with Linux, but the Windows installs at my workplace are quite limited, so my current/working knowledge of Windows is almost nil. At home we have all been happy with this arrangement, and the kids have been using their Nintendos, PS2/3's and mobile phones up until now. However, my oldest kid (12) now wants to play World of Warcraft and League of Legends with his friends. I have spent more hours than I like to admit getting this to work with Wine, with limited success — seems to always fail at the last moment. I considered an Apple machine, but they seem to be quite expensive. So, I am going to bite the bullet, and install Windows 7 on a spare Lenovo T400 laptop, which I estimate will be able to run both Windows 7 and the games in question." Read on for more about the questions this raises, for someone who wants to ensure that a game-focused machine stays secure.madsdyd continues: "Getting Windows 7 from a shop is surprisingly expensive, but I have found a place where they sell used software (legally) and can live with that one-time cost. However, I understand that I need to protect the Windows installation against viruses and malware and whatnot. The problem is, I have no clue how. One shop wants to sell me a subscription-based solution from Norton, but this cost will take a huge dip into my kid's monthly allowance — he is required to cover the costs of playing himself, so given that playing WoW is not exactly free, this is a non-trivial expense for him. On the other hand, he has plenty of time, so I guess he could use that time to learn something, and protect his system at the same time.
How do other Slashdotters provide Windows installations for their kids? What kind of protection is needed? Are there any open source/free protection systems that can be used? Should the security issues be ignored, and instead dump the Windows install to an external disk, and restore every two weeks? Is there a 'Windows for Linux users' guide somewhere? What should we do, given that we need to keep the cost low and preferably the steps simple enough for a 12-year-old kid to perform?"