Mum’s PC 2 – Gareth 1

Jane and I visited my Mum today, in Selkirk. Mum had phoned a couple of times over the last few days to say that her PC was playing up. Windows XP Security Center (sic) kept reporting that her anti-virus wasn’t up to date, and her anti-virus was complaining that Windows Security Center was interfering, saying that Norton should be the one to complain. And to add insult to injury Windows Security Center was also reporting that Zone Alarm Pro was its firewall of choice … even though ZA wasn’t installed!

I went armed with my case of installation CDROMs and honestly thought it would take half an hour to fix. Uninstall ZA properly and reinstall, update Norton, tweak Security Center, job’s a good ‘un! But no.

No. No. And a great big NO.

Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs had programs listed for sure, but no open to Remove or Change any of them. It took me two and a half hours to uninstall Norton AntiVirus 2004 and Zone Alarm. And when I rebooted it wouldn’t let me log on to any of the user accounts saying that Windows needed to be activated! “IT HAS BEEN ACTIVATED!” I shouted at it. It wouldn’t listen. Did I mention that it wasn’t connecting to the internet either?

So, what do you do with a PC that won’t let me uninstall anything (yes I was in the Administrator account), won’t connect to the net, and thinks it needs reactivated? I found that shouting at it did no good whatsoever to the state of the computer, but it did to a heck of a lot of good for me.

Five hours later I’d managed to reinstall ZoneAlarm (free edition) and Norton AntiVirus 2004; Control Panel still wasn’t allowing me to uninstall anything listed … and then I discovered that O&O Defrag 6 wasn’t working. It was installed. Oh, yes. But Windows didn’t believe that it was.

In the end I gave up. I’d fruitlessly searched Google Groups for a solution, I’d run System File Checker (SFC /scannow) and various other tools on my System CD … but nothing fixed it. I left, defeated.

Still, it was nice to see Mum and my nephew Benjamin. And the gas man that Mum invited in off the street, who was still digging a hole at 8pm, suspecting that the gas main was leaking.

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Former Scrum master at Safeguard Global, Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

2 thoughts on “Mum’s PC 2 – Gareth 1”

  1. Sorry but it sounds like your infected with SpyWare

    While many people now know to keep their AntiSpyware programs updated — most are oblivious that the software’s default settings do NOT scan for all possible problems!

    Software manufactures state that users don’t want to wait a long time for scanning, so they choose a (quicker) default scanning time. So to “properly” configure the software:

    SpyBot Search & Destroy

    1) Launch program and check for (& install) updates
    2) Select “Advanced Mode” from the “Mode” pull-down menu
    3) Click on the “Tools” button on the side toolbar
    4) Select ALL Tools except for the “Bug Report” (only needed when troubleshooting the SpyBot program)
    5) Click on the “Settings” button on the side toolbar
    6) Click on “Ignore Products”
    7) Select “All Products” – then right-mouse click on the list and “Deselect All” items, but (re)select “DSO Exploit”
    8) (Re)immunize to include the newly included “All Products”
    9) Click on “Check for problems”

    Lavasoft’s AdAware

    1) Launch program and check for (& install) updates [click on “Check for updates now” — click “Connect” to continue, then “Finish”]
    2) Click “Start” to begin scanning.
    3) The first time requires that we configure the settings — click on “Customize” (Change all items that are RED “X” (not grey) to GREEN “Check”) — Select ALL of your local hard drives
    4) Click “Customize” to select this type of scanning
    5) Click “Next” to begin scanning.

    Microsoft’s AntiSpyware

    1) Launch program and check for (& install) updates (under the File pull-down menu)
    2) Click on “Scan Options”
    3) Select “Run a full system scan’
    4) Ensure that all check boxes are selected (as well as ALL of your local hard drives)
    5) Click on “Save these options” then “Run Scan Now”

    I’m not sure which version of Norton AntiVirus you are using — but please run the Live Update from within the program itself. The automatic updates ONLY update the Virus Definitions. You may need to manually run Live Update a few times.

    Norton’s AntiVirus has two settings: one for AutoProtect and the other for manual scans. And yes, to scan for all items you’ll need to change these options as well. You’ll notice that each section has a “Comprehensive Scan” and “Scan within Compressed Files” — select these options.

    Secondly, the Norton’s AntiVirus program has “exclusion” options — unbeknownst to you many other programs could have been added (and then not scanned and removed).


    FINALLY — You should turn off Windows automatic system restore (some SpyWare “hids” there) and if necessary start Windows in the “safe mode” (pushing F8 upon starting up).

    You’re not alone — keep me posted!

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