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» Friday, June 21, 2013So It Does Compute!
I run a virus check on my laptop every night. Well, a few weeks back, instead of seeing the unobtrusive little house in the status bar turn aqua-colored and have a circle spinning in it, a popup window came up instead. (Yeah, you already know this is Not A Good Thing.) A "virus scanner" with a totally strange name came up, running frantically to tell me I had a bunch of viruses. I certainly did, but it was only the one that was running. Despite my trying to "X" out of it without triggering something else, it continued to run, and when I restarted the laptop, it just came up running again. James went to his computer, looked it up, and found a fix on Malwarebytes' site, loaded it on a thumb drive, and I ran it from there. It seemed to take care of the immediate problem, but it also caused another: it had apparently overwritten Microsoft Security Essentials (and also my chat program, mIRC, I discovered a week later) and made its file components unable to read, so that I couldn't re-install it. I tried a program recommended by Microsoft which removed partially-uninstalled programs, but the strange virus also blocked that. So in the interim I installed Avast, which drives me berserk. Every time it updates it announces itself in a strident tone, and nags you to register.
So last night I backed up the laptop files I wanted to keep—there were barely eight GB of them, which made it hard to figure out why there was only eleven GB left on the hard drive—and I tackled knocking the laptop down to factory settings in the afternoon.
But first, my first eight hours of sleep in days, and oatmeal and yogurt and milk for breakfast! Now, I still had two 20 percent off coupons for Barnes & Noble I'd gotten in the mail. There was a book I'd seen last week in the Buckhead store that I wanted, so I set out about ten o'clock. West Paces Ferry Road was a lot less crowded on a weekend and it was a pretty ride for all that it was already starting to get hot. I don't miss working in Buckhead, but I sure do miss the all-surface-streets ride, especially in a neighborhood as pretty as West Paces.
I picked up the book, Names from the Sea, about an English woman who emigrates to Iceland, and then with the travel books discovered the "other" book about the Lincoln Highway, newly in paperback in a centenary edition, by Brian Butko. So I had the two coupons effectively spent when I noticed Harvest of Time, a new Doctor Who novel. Not only a DW novel, but one featuring the Third Doctor! Jo Grant! The Roger Delgado Master! The Brigadier! UNIT! How could I pass that up? The answer, of course, is "NOT!"
On the way home I stopped at Aldi for milk and found more of the garlic and chive pita crackers, which I could match up with plain goat cheese from the Farmer's Market on Saturday, and also stopped briefly at Book Stop, but didn't see anything I wanted. Once I got home, I had a leftover chicken thigh for lunch and then started on the laptop project, or thought I was, anyway. I had forgotten that to do a complete recovery one had to start in the bootup sequence, not do it within Windows, so I wasted an hour waiting for it to start doing something in Windows. No hurry.
So I started it up properly, and it actually doesn't take very long to erase the disk and get back to factory settings. The problem started after that.
My previous memory of doing this two years ago (when the laptop quit connecting to the wireless network) was that I downloaded a ton of Windows updates to start, and then, only when I tried to download Microsoft Security Essentials, did Windows notify me that I needed Service Pack 3 (released about a year after I bought the laptop) before I could do so. So this time I went promptly to Windows Updates and searched around for Service Pack 3, which was available in the automatic updates section.
There was only one problem: !@#$%!@$%! Windows wouldn't let me download it. It said I could use something called "Mr. Fix-It" to help.
Except you couldn't download Mr. Fix-It if you didn't have Service Pack 3. As Han Solo said, "Didn't we just leave this party?"
Okay, let's have a live chat with Microslop...I mean Microsoft. I "spoke" to Arianna, and explained my problem. Of course, she said, I can fix that for you with remote assistance. I've had that before and said okay. Then she says, "Of course, Windows XP is out of warranty now, but I can put an extended warranty on for you for just $99.00 and then I can fix this remotely." Hon, if I had that kind of money to waste on an operating system, I would have just ponied up the additional funds and gotten a new laptop. All I wanted to know was how to download Service Pack 3!
James was home early from work, so he finally went over to his computer and downloaded Service Pack 3 (the laptop just said I had downloaded Service Pack 3, but it wasn't in the download folder) for me and put it on a thumb drive, so I could plug it in and run it. After that it was almost a snap to wait through downloading 125 Windows updates, and Adobe updates, and Java updates, ad infinitum.
In between all the updates, we went to Panera for supper. Even on such a warm night, after tussling with the laptop, it really hit the spot!
And then we came home so I could resume tussling with Windows again. It was sort of only mildly irritating by then. I copied all the files I had backed up back to the laptop, including a couple of executables, reinstalled Firefox so I wouldn't have to deal with Internet Explorer anymore (half the trouble I had earlier was WindowsXP being in full graphics mode—I always take it back to classic settings where it's nice and plain and doesn't distract me—and IE being its usual daft self), and installed mIRC.
I've just been taking this slow and defragging the hard drive after one or two installs, making sure everything is optimized. Since more Windows updates started to download about the time I went to bed, I took the time to start searching through the files and killing off un-needed text files and instructional files in foreign languages. It didn't make a big dent in improving room on the hard drive, but every little bit helps!
Anyway, so before bed I had a working laptop connected to the internet with a browser and a chat client.
Oh, and WordPerfect, because you shouldn't leave home without it. :-)