Thu, 05 Feb 2004

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so I spent part of my weekend in nyc screwing around with b's computer, which was completely infested by spyware and viruses and all sorts of irritating, memory-consuming, surreptitiously installed programs. the computer is on the verge of complete unuseability. my advice was simply to wipe the hard drive and reinstall windows xp. this is, after all, the favorite piece of advice given by anyone who does win xp tech support. but this would require backing up the hard drive, which would inquire purchasing a hard drive, and in the freezing temperature at this time, this wasn't a palatable option.

we then tried installing spyware-removing software, which either don't really find anything, don't remove anything without a $60 fee, or they actively install even more spyware.

Adware did discover about 200+ different spyware processes living on B's machine, but, of course, it wouldn't remove them without us paying for it.

so we delved into the registry. fun, fun, fun.

what stumped us was svchost.exe. installed in C:\windows, masquerading as a legitimate process (which really lives in C:\windows\system), if you try to kill it in the task manager, it does some funky RPC stuff that makes the system shutdown in 1 minute, a la MSBlaster. eventually, we called it a day, and I headed out to manhattan.

the problem is internet explorer. using internet explorer is a lot like having unprotected sex in thailand. I'm mean, really, the advice to not use hyperlinks and manually type the URL is utterly ridiculous. and given that there will no longer be a stand-alone IE, and that the next update will not occur until Longhorn is released, that means these things will probably proliferate for years. it's like gonorrhea before penicillin was invented.

if you don't buy this argument for migrating to mozilla and family, well, good luck.

when I got back to L.A., my sister ran into a pop-up that started opening her cd tray.

I'm so glad that I've been windows-free for five years now.

so. stay safe. practice safe web-browsing. don't use ie.

09:03:57 5 Feb 2004 > /computers > permalink > 0 comments

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