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Fixing relatives' computers, oh what joy...


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#1
dboy

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Visited the inlaws over the holidays. Just have to share the craziness... First off, my father in law is the VP of IT at [redacted] - let's just say a company that you have certainly heard of. Second, a couple years ago their hard drive died and the lost a ton of stuff - pictures, etc - since they had no backups. They had me pick out a new machine for them, so I got a decent (at the time) Dell laptop and set it up w/ an external drive to do nightly backups. Oh, and added a USB hub since the laptop only had 2 USB ports but they had wireless keyboard/mouse, the HD, printer, digital camera to hook up. Forward to now... while there, my MIL complained that her internet was so slow. We were using our laptop on their wifi and had no issues, so I suspected her machine. Went over to check it out and about crapped my pants. First, the backup drive was disconnected. Turns out it's been disconnected since July and she'd just been ignoring the daily "backup failed" message. Second, she had so many toolbars installed in IE that half the screen was gone. Third, I see several antivirus and antispyware icons in the system tray. So I start digging. The first antivirus I looked at (something I'd never heard of, but it had a red flashing icon so I figured it might be important to look at) said there were 469 viruses detected. Well, actually not. It was counting ad-related cookies as problems. closed it and looked at Norton. It wasn't actually doing anything since it had expired. Closed it and looked at AVG. It said 1 trojan found, and it appeared to be a beast. Forget the name, but a quick google said that no AV could get rid of it, but kapersky had a little program that would - but with the side effect of sometimes making the computer not boot. Closed AVG. Uninstalled all 3 AVs (since AVG was old and nagging to pay) and installed MSE. Also uninstalled all the toolbars. First ran a full backup to be safe. That took a few hours. Then stared MSE doing a full scan and went to bed. Next morning MSE was just showing the one trojan. Let it try removing it, but no dice. So then I ran the kapersky tool and rebooted. Trojan gone. Made sure everything was conencted to the USB hub so she only had 1 cable to mess with when they took the laptop anywhere and told her to quit installing stuff. Later that day she asked if we had a Citi bank account. I said we did, but why? Answered that she'd just gotten an email about an account problem but they didnt' have a citi account so wondered if it could be about us. -bang-!



#2
Monga

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-lol-
You'll be missed, HarleyD.

#3
garsh

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-console-
"I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone." - Bjarne Stroustrup

#4
NARC

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oh dboy, I'm so sorry. You set up remote access so that you don't have to be there for the next time they have questions, right?

#5
garsh

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Or better yet, setup a VM and have it reset back to a known good state every time they logoff or reboot.
"I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone." - Bjarne Stroustrup

#6
NARC

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lol, that would work

#7
TheDiggler

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Switch their user account to a non-Administrative account. They won't be able to install software anymore, which should severely limit their ability to F things up. :)

#8
crimson

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Switch their user account to a non-Administrative account. They won't be able to install software anymore, which should severely limit their ability to F things up. :)

This! I did this to my folks, they haven't noticed the difference, and it alleviated a ton of headaches for me. :p
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#9
penguin110

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Reminds me of the times (fondly now) that I had to run over and help my father (rest in peace) with computer issues.
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#10
Alan

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-lol- -lol- -lol- Par for the course. dboy, next time also boot off of a Live CD and let it scan the system. Rootkits will not be found when scanning from within Windows. Many vendors have free Live CD's which are bootable anti-virus/malware/trojan scanners. The one's I typically use are AVG, F-Secure, Kaspersky and, my favorite, Dr. Web.
I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow - Woodrow Wilson

#11
BlueTDimly

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You need one of these:
http://lh6.googleuse...Q1BT5=s180?.jpg
Who's to say / I can't do everything, well I can try... - JJ

#12
steltek

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Later that day she asked if we had a Citi bank account. I said we did, but why? Answered that she'd just gotten an email about an account problem but they didnt' have a citi account so wondered if it could be about us. -bang-!


Hopefully she will remember you when she gets the happy news via email that she's won millions in the Nigerian National Lottery! -mango-

#13
dasnufus

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limited user acct + remote access = less headaches.




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