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Saturday, October 01, 2005

"I'm not cleaning up that mess!"

(Well, yes, I guess I am... ) Surely no one who reads this blog would have this kind of problem…

*sigh* Easy money. It was a small gig but satisfying on a coupla levels.

Let me describe it for you. A naïve user called me. “I think I have a virus or something. Can you help me?” Sure. Why not. Not gonna pay much, but they really were desperate. They’d already had someone “work” on it. Twice. (Second time, they said they didn’t pay ‘em. And I can sympathize. Even agree.) Picked up the comp and the “Oh, here’s all the software that came with it” box of disks (more on that in a sec).

So, what was the problem? Read more... Let’s see, un-updated WinXP Home. The comp really was slow. Their user profile was corrupted beyond repair (“beyond repair”—worst I’ve seen, absent a complete Windows crash). 85 trojans or pieces of trojans scattered in various places. 536 pieces of spyware (PLUS a fake anti-spyware program that was itself spyware and was encouraging more infestation).  More than 200 Registry errors that I could find, most concerning malware Norton had ineffectively dealt with.

And it only had 128MB of memory (that’ll make a WinXP computer crawl all by itself!) and had apparently never been defragged.


Oh, and did I mention SP2 had not been installed and it was short 45 other security patches/updates?

Slapped some decent anti-malware software on, let them run sequentially, made manual repairs to various parts of the OS installation, installed all applicable OS updates, etc.

Oh, and I kept the CDR with the pirated copy of MS Office XP. The Setup file was infected with one of the pieces of malware I cleaned off the hard drive…


Logged all work and returned the thing.

It’ll be a mess again in no time, I’m sure.

At least it was an amusing hour or two.