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Fucking. Dammit.

So another girl asked me to repair her computer - the symptoms were slow laggy startups and overall performace degradation. So I'm like "ok" and go up to her room thinking it would be a quick 5-minute fix.

I get onto her computer and check the active processes. csrss.exe is taking up 50% of the CPU cycles... red flag omg? So I disable her other virus scanners, download Lavasoft AdAware and run a scan.

102 Critical Items.

Okay, not too bad. So I check all of them and clean the system, then reboot windows.

Upon rebooting, I get a BSOD even I've not seen before -


At this point I'm pretty much "oh shit oh shit" but she said that she's gotten this error a couple of other times before, and rebooting fixed it. This wasn't much consolation because... wtf corrupted registry?! So I restart it anyway.

Now get this - it goes directly to the "select windows startup mode" screen, and when you attempt to select any of the options it prints the message -



Okay, what the fuck happened to the Windows install?! At this point I'm starting to panic, because wtfbbq. I ask her for the windows installation CD (because at this point, the OS is toast), and pop that in there.

I take the message's advice and press 'r' to run the repair utility.


...LE WHA? She has neither a boot floppy nor a floppy drive to put it in. So I'm like "shit". I reinstall windows and manage to preserve the existing filesystem, but it was really messy.

So now its working, but there are a lot of missing drivers, most notable the network ones.


And they're neither on the drive nor the CDs. And I clearly can't connect to the internet since I need them to connect to the internet (OMG CIRCULAR DEPENDANCY) and omg. THE IRONY IT BURNS US ASUUUGHHH.

So yeah, now I feel like shit because I completely managed to trash her system somehow. Mushu--;
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sounds like some of the new tricky spyware shit. drops fun stuff in the registry like early null terminators etc.

might want to check for a rootkit on the box.

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Well, I completely re-installed Windows, but its still a little wacky. I told her to burn everything important onto a CD, and then completely wipe the system.

That'll show that damn malware. Fucking hell.

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Oh man, that stinks. I follow the age-old trick of playing ignorant when someone wants PC repair help. "Windoes? What that? I not speaky much Engly!"

Heh, heh. Works every time.

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Stupid people hate computers because they don't know how to use them. Fucking idiots install crap on their computers.

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Stupid people hate computers because they don't know how to use them. Fucking idiots install crap on their computers.

Now that's pretty unfair. A lot of this malware shit is insidious, and I've never seen it in such prevalence. If I hadn't known about all this crap from spending all my free time on the Internet talking to you guys, it's probably unlikely that I'd know about how to defend myself properly from it. Hell, I still get tagged with stinking Alexa cookies from time to time because I forget to update Adblock when I install a new version of Firefox.

At some point it is a humongous problem with the way the system is set up, and not so much the people. Machines *should* be coming with spyware protections installed to protect the user, but now we see pinheads like Dell shipping machines with the spyware preinstalled. And even if you are a smart user, these protections should be in place. I have better things to do than scan my machine for spyware every couple of weeks, and I'm certain they do too.

Since a default operating system install doesn't have everything anyone could ever need, inevitably you will download and install something. The problem is that users don't have the proper tools to be able to judge whether something will fuck them up before they install it. The only two solutions I see are either to keep pressure on somebody until they provide a decent set of tools, installed by default, to protect the system or move them to a less popular OS/hardware combo (though that's going to change probably as soon as OS X becomes more popular).

It's easy to make the argument that you deserve what you get if you're negligent, but I'm sure you wouldn't want your doctor having the same opinion of you because you decided to use a doorknob and then not wash your hands.

Now, if Mushu fixes it, and spends some time with her explaining better protection and smarter computer use to her, and she still gets hit with it, then yes, she is a fucking idiot. If she goes on and spreads that knowledge, Mushu's done a much better thing than if he just threw up his hands and said "no habla Englais".

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Mushu, you broke her computer? Seems like you should take her for a night out on the town, at your expense of course, to pay her back :)

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I wish I had thought of it. You could even intentionally fuck her computer worse so you have to come over more often to fix it.

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Mushu's done a much better thing than if he just threw up his hands and said "no habla Englais".

I disagree vehemently. [smile]

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