Saturday, January 23, 2010

Public Service Announcement about Viruses

Computer Viruses to be exact. Let's discuss the difference between Computer Viruses and the Flu.

You can try and prevent the flu through doing things like washing your hands, staying away from public areas, and not putting things near your face that haven't been disinfected. You kind of have to work to "not get sick".

Computer Viruses are named badly. They aren't like viruses at all except they make your computer sick. With Computer Viruses you almost have to work "to get sick". Computer Viruses would be more appropriately named Computer Hangovers and here's why:

They are caused by you trying to install one piece of free software too many. My daughter gets computer hangovers all the time because she likes trying to watch "free" movies before they are released. You go do an Internet search for "watch avatar 3d for free" and you'll get lots of offers. 9 out of 10 of them probably have a hangover attached. The other 1 just installs spyware which is very similar just not quite as malicious.

Of course, companies like Symantec and McAfee don't want you knowing this because their business model exists based on public fear. I've never used anti-virus software and I've never had a computer virus. You just have to follow one simple rule: if you don't trust it 100%, don't download it, don't run it, don't open it, and definitely don't install it.

Windows Vista and Windows 7 have vastly approved upon this rule. Everytime something tries to change your system Vista will open up a dialog asking you if you it's okay. You can go one step further and make all "user" accounts unable to say it's okay without a password. This way if you have children who are trying to get free movies, when the virus tries to install itself, they'll get the "is it okay" dialog and it'll ask for a password which you, as the parent, have intelligently not shared.

Normally, once you are infected by spyware or a virus, it's not worth the time and trouble to fix it. You'll be 50/50 at best and most of the software is good enough that the act of removing it will debilitate your computer. You'll end up spending 8 hours trying to remove it, 4 hours making sure it's completely gone and the next 2 hours crying about wasting 12 hours.

I'm not good at removing viruses. If your computer has become debilitated from a nasty hangover, you can sometimes revert to "the last known good configuration" and this will sometimes get you back up and running. If it doesn't, you will probably have to find your installation CD/DVD (which most people I've found have no idea that such a thing exists) and reinstall. If you realize that Win XP was installed with a disc and you have access to it, you should follow these instructions...

To get to the "last known good configuration" screen, just start hitting F8 as soon as you power your computer on. It actually is a boot menu just after the BIOS screen flashes by, but I find it's safer just to tell people to start tapping the F8 key as soon as they turn on their computer. You should get to a boot menu that looks something like this:


  1. I just read the not so nice dialogue between you and Mr. Durango and quite frankly, I'm appalled with all of the on line name calling. Really, I misinformed Mr. Durango, cuz when you said in this post that "it wasn't worth the trouble or time to fix it" well, I just assumed (and ended up making asses out of you and me) that you meant for me to chunk the dilpidated antiquated ancient machine. I didn't know that you meant for me to do a recovery. I thought you knew that my computer is a 2001 model, and seeing that I moved the darlin' from Denver to Wink, I'm pretty certain that I no longer have the recovery disk you speak of. Oh, sure...I could probably look for it, but what's the point? When you go through that process, doesn't all the documents, photos and files and such go bye bye? I'm such a lame brain when it comes to this stuff, and now I feel really awful that because of my lame brained question you and Mr. Durango are no longer friends, but have regressed to acquaintances. :(

  2. To describe what Mr D does as "dialog" is very optimistic.

    As to the degradation to "acquaintance", you give yourself too much credit.

    From before I met this individual, people that knew him before me told me he was an a**hole. I just figured he was misunderstood.

    Even my wife after meeting him the first time said something like, "how do you put up with him? He's such an a**".

    It's not your fault dear.

  3. Gar----
    What has gone wrong with you? You're now out and out lying. No one you knew had met me before I met you, so how could anyone have warned you about me????

    As for your wife, the day I met her I drove the two of you for miles and miles, all over the FW zone. She sent me multiple emails after that, during her visit, asking me to find a karaoke place. I reluctantly agreed to do that and drove you two around looking for a place for you to sing.

    I never thought this would happen, but I'm kind of feeling sorry for you with this bizarre revisionism.

  4. Misinformation is your biggest argument. You are calling me a liar.

    I went to 2 or more "get togethers" before I met you. And lots of people there knew you or at least claimed to know you.

    You did take my guest from Germany and I around town and that was quite nice. Only later did you start in the the crude jokes about Germans and Communists.

    If someone wants to go back through your archive and search for all the times you've called my wife a communist or said something derogatory about Germans I'll let them do it on their own.

  5. Gar---
    Yes. You are being a liar and it is very bizarre to see this side of you.

    I don't know if you are having failing memory problems, or what the deal is, but let me refresh your memory.

    Those D/FW singles people were mostly dysfunctional nutcases who loved to fight and argue. You and I, at times, had fun, egging them on. Sometimes you and I would have fake fights with each other. Sorta like we are doing right now. Only much more elevated. And without you acting like such a pissy little bitch.

    Of those D/FW Singles people the only ones who actually ever met me were you, Donisa, Lady Nile, Dana, Nikki and a couple old geezers who's names I don't remember. Of those who actually met me I know Lady Nile, Dana and Nikki would not have described me as an ass. Donisa may have, after the Donisa-Gate scandal, that I sorta helped perpetrate. It was with Donisa that I went to my one and only D/FW Singles Get Together. And she took me to her company Xmas party. So, she really did not think I was all that much of an ass.

    That leaves only you, of those D/FW Singles people who met me, who somehow decided I'm an ass.

    As for your wife. I don't think I've said anything particularly derogatory about Germans, that is out of line, historically speaking. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but was she not born in Communist East Germany? Why is this a bad thing to say you married a communist? I think that just makes you interesting. The only other Texan I know of who married a communist is Lee Harvey Oswald. So, you are in very select company. You just have not assassinated anyone. Yet.

  6. Ahhh Durango, that made me smile. Those were the good ol' days.

    I suspect some part of the last few weeks hit too close to home and you (by dumb luck) were posting the same stuff on the Internet that people were telling me in person. It wasn't fun.

    Anyway, the girl I was living with when we met also thought you were an ass. Maybe my various girlfriends find you threatening for some reason...

    I don't really remember the DFW Singles crew pointing that out in person. I may have been stretching the truth a bit, but I thought you knew it was all in good fun.

    And don't call me a pissy little bitch.

  7. Well Gar, nothing pleases me more than making you smile.

    Stuff I was saying was hitting too close to home? Am I gonna have to re-read whatever it was I said to try and figure what was doing the hitting?

    That crippled girl you were shacked up with when you had your mullet do only saw me for a few seconds and then hobbled for cover. How did she decide I was an ass? You must have told her I'm an ass, since, near as I've been able to tell, you're the only person who thinks I'm an ass. I must admit it hurts my feeling terribly that you would so malign my character to others in this manner.

    Gar, when you stretch the truth a bit you need to do it like I do. Your style of truth stretching comes across as lying, which I'm sure is not your intention.

    You should have said something like "You went to several of those D/FW Singles meetings and dozens of those people told me you were the rudest, most obnoxious creep they'd ever met. Not to mention being butt ugly with poor personal hygiene."

    Now that would have been funny. An almost total lie, but a lie with so much hyperbolization that it was obviously a lie.

    As for me suggesting you were acting like a pissy little bitch. And your request not to have that said about you. Well, that is really easy to fix. Just stop acting like such a pissy little bitch. Problem solved.

    Now, tell us what it is that people have been telling you in person that I also have accurately described, that has so pained you that it turned you into a pissy little bitch?