13 November, 2006

At least it's not the BSoD...yet

If you get the reference in the title, you know where this post is going. If not, refer to this Wikipedia page before continuing. This is also a tech update for my own mental health. I don't profess to be the best at computers, but I can hold my own with most problems that arise. That said...

...if you ever see this screen pop up on your computer, let me know. Here's why:

This evening I wanted to do some work and write an article or two. Instead, I think I may have irritated the neighbors. You see, my computer fell victim to a host of problems. First a Trojan from the Virusbursters program (an anti-virus program nonetheless) found its way onto my computer, and a good one at that. I was at a tech website and an embedded video indicated that I needed a new codec to play it. Normally I ignore these things, but I just downloaded the new version of Windows Media Player, so I figured it needed updates that I hadn't acquired yet.

Immediately two new buttons appeared on my bottom right toolbar, with a relentless balloon that informed me that my computer was infected with a Trojan and I needed to buy the full version of Virusbrusters to get rid of it. Great. A poorly contrived, pixelated windows update graphic accompanied the balloon. My first though: Fuck. I need more coffee.

Let me break that down simply: Virusbusters installed a fucking Trojan on my system. The purpose? To get me to buy a program to get rid of Trojans. If I ever, and I mean ever, find the sick fuck who made this program, I will beat the shit out of him/her with the brake lock from the trunk of my car.

Anyhow, I didn't do the bright thing and just revert to a system restore point that I had set about 5 minutes prior after finishing my mild weekly cleaning of my hard drive via spybot, adware, etc. and defrag. No, of course I had to go and fix things myself.

So I found a McAfee thread on their message boards (my favorite source for tech fixes) and after an hour of tinkering, removed all remnants of the bastard from my system. I hate deleting .dll files and altering things in my system folder, but this time it was met with success.

Of course I restart in safe mode sans networking, run my virus scanners, spyware programs and the lot, and a program I found on that same forum posting to ensure a drive free of Virusbursters. Phew. Trouble averted.

I muddle around on the internet, and then I figure hey, I haven't updated Windows in a while, and I bet there is some sort of security update that may have dealt with this problem. I should download their updates and if there is a scrap of crap on my hard drive, it'll find it, right? and answer to that seemingly rhetorical question is of course, FUCKING WRONG.

I update windows, and restart my computer (per instructions.) Even before the logon screen pops up, something is clearly wrong. My mouse cursor is a third the size of my monitor. Then my logon screen came up. It was splotchy. And 800x600 resolution. And PINK. I, of course, screamed a string of obscenities, sending Millie and Walter to the rear of the apartment and surely disturbing the upstairs neighbors from their bowling or tap dancing or whatever the fuck they are doing up there for a moment or so.

So I type my password, and enter into the world of shit that is (was) my computer. Half of the programs are gone. The display driver is nowhere to be found. In fact, the graphics card isn't even running correctly, I find. Great. I think back to moments before, when I had chosen to update Windows, in particular when I decided I would get an update to my graphics driver. And Internet explorer. Hmm.

I started to download the drivers again, and prepare a tumbler of the only liquor in the house (Hennessy, of course), and settle in. Then I think to myself "wait a second... This is ridiculous."

I head to my system restore points, select the point which I had set only hours earlier, and click. My computer whirs down, and hums back up again. Lo and behold, everything is the way it was when I walked in the door from work this afternoon.

I've turned windows update off. Yes, I realize that this was all a product of my own stupidity, but if I were using a Mac or running Linux, the seed of the Trojan wouldn't have run on my computer.

If you want to buy me a Mac, see my e-mail address in the sidebar. I also accept monetary donations.

And I'm serious about the brake lock.


Anonymous Patrick J McD- etc etc said...

I don't even want to know what kind of viruses are lying, harmless, on my Mac's HD.

10:51 PM, November 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear me, I like your writing style. I can PICTURE the Lou I know screaming at the top of his lungs. I recall it happening a few times over the summer. :P

11:26 AM, December 01, 2006  

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