Monday, May 9, 2011

Three Days of Darkness

A couple of weeks ago, my computer caught a virus. My computer functioned decently even with the virus. What was bad about it was that it was constantly trying to send out information it was pulling off my computer. Trend Office Microscan would catch and block the attempts to send info. By late last week, I was getting pop-ups from Trend Office every 10 minutes give or take. Friday, my husband decided he wanted to fix it. XD Yes, that played out almost as it would have on a cliched sitcom. Reluctantly, I stepped aside. After a little bit of poking around, he figured out what the virus was and found a program that could find and remove it. He downloaded that ran the scan, then rebooted the computer. ... Windows started... My profile was selected... ... ... ... Nothing happened. You can imagine all the color draining from my face. I had not backed up any of my art files in a while, nor my photographs, works-in-progress... anything in a fairly long while.

I'd learned a long time ago that back-ups are a good thing, but in this case I'd filled up my last flash drive and hadn't gotten a new one yet--free space on the drives disappears quickly, considering my What Would ___ Do? art folder is 1GB, the Western Zodiac art folder is 2GB, and the Anime D20 art folder is 4.5 GB... You get the idea. It's probably fairly easy to guess what my husband got me for Mother's Day this year considering the situation. XD He went out Saturday and got me a beautiful external harddrive 4x the storage space as my computer harddrive, so I can back up to my heart's content.

Back to the story. Late Friday night or sometime Saturday morning, my husband got the computer to where it would load almost properly on a different profile. In hindsight, what probably caused the crash on my profile was that three different virus scan programs were trying to load simultaneously and they were fighting each other on the start up. XD Apparently he'd forgotten to disable Trend Office and Spybot when Avast asked to restart the computer. For what it's worth, Avast won that battle. Working with it off and on Saturday and Sunday, he eventually got if fixed. The Avast software did work--it took a special patch written by their staff just for this virus. What this virus did was corrupt a sector on the harddrive. That sector would create files that would try and send information off the computer. Avast would find and delete the files, but the bad sector would just make more. The patch found the problems within the corrupted sector and fixed them. This is the first instance where a program has been able to remove a virus that embedded in the system. Usually I just have to say goodbye to all my stuff and reformat the drive. With that in mind, I give full marks to Avast and the staff working on it. So, long story, happy ending--I have my computer back with everything intact.

I will say though it was very weird not having access to my computer for nearly three days. I still had some internet access--I could borrow my husband's work laptop for parts of the weekend, but it wasn't the same. None of my files were on it; none of my bookmarks. I'll just say, I'm glad to have my computer back.

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