Thursday, 10 October 2013


Quotation Of The Day ~ Ian Rankin:  Daytime drinking was special. In a bar, time ceased to exist, and with it the outside world. For as long as you stayed in the pub you felt immortal and ageless.

In case you're unaware, the acronym F.R.E.D. stands for f*ck*ng ridiculous electronic device and, yes, folks, i'm here to tell you about the latest computer problem i've had. For the umpteenth time....

Actually, i blame myself for this one. I don't know if i've complained about it here, but i know that i've been moaning a lot elsewhere about the amount of email spam i've been receiving lately -- "reduce your mortgage" (i live in an apartment), "$25,000 loan, low interest" (only available in the U.S.A., unfortunately), "Hot Girls In Milverton Want To Meet You!" (my ISP is based in Milverton) (how'd that little fact slip past the $25,000 loan people, i wonder?), you know the schtuff.  I normally just delete them, unread, but if i do happen to open one, i certainly never, ever click on any links.

But, last Monday, i received an email with no subject line and no sender's name and i opened it and ... my anti-virus software (Avast, probably the best of the free ones) immediately went nuts. Basically, a great huge boxing glove sprang out of the DVD drive and bopped me on the nose. Avast started a boot-time scan, but that self-aborted after a minute or so, the computer re-started itself and ... nothing worked.

I tried to open Avast, i couldn't. i tried to run HijackThis!, it wouldn't open. So i thought, why not uninstall and then re-install Avast, maybe that'll work. It didn't, i couldn't open the .exe file. So i tried to run System Restore. Oh, guess what? I couldn't.

I booted into Safe Mode to see what i could do there and -- woo hoo! -- to my amazement i was able to run a Malwarebytes scan. It detected, along with a few PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) a trojan -- Agent.V26 to be precise -- so of course i deleted the lot. Rebooted. Still couldn't open the Avast executable, so there i was, my desktop computer unprotected and potentially infected. There was no chance i was going onto the Internet like that, but thank god for my laptop.

I Googled, i Googled, and then i Googled some more. Didn't have a lot of luck, though, finding a solution. (Why is it, he asks rhetorically, that while there are around three billion computer users on this planet, so often i have problems that no one else -- judging by the forums -- has ever had?)

Confession time: my desktop PC runs Windows XP. Yes, yes, i know -- sentenced to death next April. Maybe my predicament would force me to buy a new desktop now rather than later, although it would place a terrible burden on my already-overstrained cash flow situation. But one does what one has to do (is my philosophy). And after all, i still had the laptop (and the smartphone) -- not like i would be completely isolated by any means.

But i tried one last thing. I ran Spybot Search & Destroy. ( Yes, it opened!

Now, at one time, Spybot had an excellent reputation as a malware-remover,  But then they changed their entire user interface, i didn't like them any more and evidently i wasn't the only one: i read quite a few poor reviews. But they've turned themselves around: it cleaned out everything that was stopping me from opening security software, i re-installed Avast! and now all seems well, whew.

Still and all, though, i see a new desktop PC in my very near future -- this old gal is definitely showing signs of age....

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