Items Covered This Month
Panasonic TX-68PS12A (MX-10A chassis)
Sony KV-HX32M31/Wega AX-1
Sony KV-KF34M31 (BG-3 chassis)
I have been messing about with computers for more years than I
care to admit. It has been a love-hate relationship and I am here to tell you
experience has not improved my Knowledge Base. It has taken away a large chunk
of my life and I have now reached the stage of GIGR and EMGO – ie, Garbage In,
Garbage Retained and Even More Garbage Out!
One thing I have learned is that if your computer works well,
don’t mess with it. I need something that works reliably even if it is getting
on a bit and until recently, my little hp Pavilion zt3010ap notebook has just
chugged along, doing good things at work. It has XP Pro SP2 and the usual
anti-virus and anti-spyware programs but because it had been running so well for
so long, I got complacent and didn’t keep these up-to-date.
I must also confess that I hadn’t been keeping the operating
system up to date by installing the latest security fixes. And that’s not a good
idea, as the following story illustrates.
Basically, everything was OK until recently when I decided to
update some applications and download a few other small programs I needed. It
was during these downloads that I first noticed things going wrong. Strange
messages were popping up and at least half the icons on the desktop
And then the gremlins really did surface. Suddenly, up popped a
message from "System Defender" (a trojan look-alike of Microsoft’s Window
Defender) to the effect that my computer was in danger from a malicious software
attack and that I should immediately download another program to fix this.
While I was contemplating what I should do about this, another
web page automatically opened and the machine started downloading the program. I
tried to stop it by closing the web page but as fast as I did this, it would
open others. In fact, it was somewhat like watching the skeleton soldiers out of
the old film "Hercules".
Eventually, I managed to switch everything off but I felt as
though I had just hit an iceberg and my ship was capsizing. Frankly, I didn’t
quite know what to do. Several technical friends told me that the best course of
action would be to fdisk and reformat the hard drive, then reinstall the
operating system but that was advice I found easy to ignore. They really don’t
appreciate how much stuff I have on this computer.
I mean, I really do have some serious stuff on it, all vitally
important, and I wasn’t about to throw the baby out with the bathwater. After
all, it took me years to get into this mess and I was going to fight this menace
come what may.
When I had a quiet moment, I switched it on again and began to
notice a number of things I had overlooked before. First, the firewall wasn’t on
(or had been turned off), my antivirus definitions were out of date and I was
being shut out of the update site, Automatic Updates was switched off and the
Taskmanager was not working. Worse still, I could not switch them back on