Sunday, July 20, 2008

Illness in the Family

My daughter is sick right now. She's somewhat diarrhetic and has headaches, a fever, a sore throat, and general weariness. She ended up staying home from church today (with my wife) and though she "sounds" fine, it's clear she's not up to snuff. Having a sick child is never fun.

Okay, now my confession. My daughter is sick, but I am far more concerned about my laptop. There, I said it. *phew* I know she'll get better, and seems to be on the mend even as I type, but my computer, on the other hand ...

It's got a virus. I think. A few days ago, I was downloading some software for my handheld and I believe said software was bundled with a "trojan" virus called "vundo". My virus protection software found it and attempted to clean it, but it doesn't seem like it succeeded, as symptoms were still present: slowness of response, occasional pop-up ads with no source for (ironically) virus protection software, and refusal to access any yahoo or google domains (such as this here blog).

So, I went online and tried to find out how to deal with it. I found from my virus protection software company a procedure for "manually" removing the virus, which seemed approachable and straightforward. The first step was to reboot my computer into "safemode". So, I used happy-go-lucky "msconfig" to set my boot.ini to include the /safemode:minimal flag, and then went to restart my computer.

Here's where things got miserable for me. Beforehand, with the virus, I could still operate my computer, though with the above-mentioned issues. When I set it to reboot into safemode, suddenly my password no longer works! I can't even log in anymore! And since I can't log in, I can't return to a "normal" boot sequence. My laptop is a work laptop; I don't even have the "admin" password, so I went online looking for a procedure to circumvent the password and after several hours of trying and failing, my laptop remains worse than useless right now.

So what will I do? I will have to wait until work tomorrow morning where I will call the "help line", where I will have to schedule an appointment many hours in the future for a tech guy to show up in my cubicle, where I will have to wait for him to access the computer (hopefully the "admin" password still works!), reset the boot sequence for me, and clean it of the virus, all the while glaring at me as if I'm some great on-line sinner who invited this calamity by being addicted to child pornography.

I don't really have time for that, and I have to get home early tomorrow, so I don't really know how this is going to work. My laptop really is the focal-point of my entire computer-centered existence. It is my livelihood as far as work is concerned. It has all my genealogy on it. It has my church calling stuff on it. I've got the (few) computer games I play on it. And it is my window to the outside world via the internet. So the fact that it is unusable right now is greatly distressing. I just hope it can be resolved quickly.

Luckily, I do regular backups of the entire hard-drive, so if the computer can not be fixed (which isn't very likely), at least I've got the data from a few weeks back. It would hurt, but it wouldn't be a killer.

As for right now, I'm blogging on my home computer, which remains, gratefully, fully functional. I just can't do any of that other stuff on it ...


Melissa said...

Computer problems are the worst! Just makes you sick. By, the way, I think you invented a new word in this post. I've never heard a person being referred to as "diarrhetic," (although it makes sense).

Roy said...

Well, it showed up on with root word "diarrhea". I believe it is indeed a real word, not to be confused with "diuretic".

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