Last week I
received a call from my niece asking for my help and advice on a computer
problem she and her fiance were having. Being the family computer geek, a
distinction I suspect many of the TechRepublic membership knows all too well, Iwas happy to help.
they described the problem it became apparent that this was not going to be a
"go to the control panel" issue that could be resolved over the
phone. They had been hit with a malware bomb — and a
pretty nasty one too. The hard drive is pretty much hosed. I have been trying
to avoid a complete wipe of the drive because it is a cut-rate HP computer that
did not come with a Windows CD. The Windows installation files are, of course,
on the hard drive which is completely useless at this point. Selling a PC
without a working CD with a clean copy of Windows should be outlawed. If I wipe
the drive, they won't have a copy of Windows, just a license number. I tried
the restore procedure but it failed because too much damage had already beendone to the files.
This is the
second family relative to have a major problem like this so I guess part of the
blame is mine since I apparently failed to emphasize the importance of keeping
virus software, firewall, and Windows up to date and patched. I forget that all
of that maintenance is second nature to me, but a foreign language to them.
With luck and some gentle prodding from her nice uncle, this incident should prevent
a future incident, at least with this member of the family. It is the rest ofthe family that I worry about.
catastrophic events have you had to clean up after for your family? Have you
tried to educate everyone about patches and updates? For me the problems reallyhit the fan when broadband is introduced.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.