Sunday, January 30, 2005

"Reinstalling XP" and/or "My Lost Weekend"

I have tried very hard to avoid negative posts on my Blog, but this one had to be posted...I may delete it--maybe not. Anyway, my daughter's PC has been experiencing the dreaded Spam and Spyware attacks. She called me at work the other morning almost in tears complaining about how her browser was covered up by “ten million” pop-ups. So, like any valiant want-to-be geek father, I tried to calm her fears with “bring it home this weekend and I will fix it.”

Mistake #1: never read the instructions until something does not work.
Man, if I could only turn back the time on this one… I tried to first run the spybot removal software programs. I used Adaware or however you spell it; then I found over 6000 cookies or whatever it finds and followed the directions to quarantine them. From there, I ran a through virus scan Sophos and found it has a have dozen Trojans and the dreaded Sasser virus. Evidently, Sophos antivirus had been turned off somehow or had not been updating like it should have. So, I tried to have Sophos delete the infected files. I must have deleted some important files because when I tired to click on the Start button in Windows, and then click on the control panel, the explorer window would close without showing me the contents of that window. I knew I had to reinstall Windows XP to repair the damaged files. Of course, I did not read the How-To’s on the Microsoft site, and when I inserted the Windows XP Home CD, and rebooted, and entered the “5000” letter authorization key code that I had to use a flashlight and 4X reading glasses to decipher the encrypted code found on the back of the Gateway desktop, while standing on my head, I was exhausted by then.

Mistake #2: never use an antivirus after you have not used an antivirus and you do not know what you are doing or saying…nor shall thy reinstall XP again AWWWW!!!!!
Ok, it was 10:30 pm, Saturday night, and I had not idea what to do next. So,
I started the reinstall. It ran, and ran, and ran, and ran. I noticed after the deceitful message “this install will take 39 minutes” had been sitting there for an hour that it was in a loop. Restarting itself like a stuck LP. For you that do not know what that is—you have probably already stopped reading because you know I am crazy and are already bored with this post anyway- so I am not going to tell you what they are. At this point, the clock on my PowerBook told me I needed to just turn of that piece of junk PC, and go try to lay down and forget about it for a while.
At 8:00 am Sunday morning, I first fired up the drip coffee maker. Boy, did that coffee smell good. I just knew, that I was going to boot-up that PC and it was going to reinstall Windows XP and life would be fine. WRONG! I used my PowerBook to Google reinstalling XP and found lots of interesting crap. Finding the MS site I read the notes on how to reinstall XP and there is was: NOTE: before attempting to reinstall XP, delete undo-guimode C:\Windows\System32\Undo_guimode.txt. Makes me swear, and it is the Lord’s Day. As a good Presbyterian, I reassure myself that if God had to reinstall XP, He would probably bring Hell-Fire and Brimstone down on all of the Microsoft corporate campus in Redmond, Washington. No, actually, I have faith that God uses UNIX or he too is wishing he had a dual-30 inch Cinema Display hooked up to an Xserver with a warehouse full of PowerMac G5s.

Reflections: This is why I will never spend a dime of my hard earned money on a PC. Sure Apples are not perfect, and they tear up and go crazy too. I just think there must be a better way to spend a whole weekend. Arrivederci--Gateway. A Mac Mini looks better everyday!

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