Trojan Horse Scare
Wow, the past 36 hours I've been fighting a HORRIBLE Trojan horse virus that I got from a bad webpage I opened during some research I was doing for the Sails and Sorcery short story I'm working on. It was the first virus I've ever actually goten, and it was AWFUL! My virus protection site described it as low risk -- not because it is benign, no it's listed as highly destructive, but extremely rare, thus it's a low risk to most systems... unless of course, it happens to be yours that gets it.
My anti-virus was able to detect it, and prevent some of what it did, but for other stuff, it just ran wild. It kept opening webpages, and popping up boxes that I suggested I needed this or that to "fix" my computer (like every three seconds, these things would pop up). It disabled my task manager, so I couldn't turn it off, and it disabled my system restore, so I couldn't go back to a time before it had infected my computer. It even corrupted the files I needed to do things like turn task manager back on!
It was like getting one of those deadly tropical diseases no one has ever heard of -- very rare, spots keep popping up all over your body, you go feverishly delirious and start seeing things, and then you either miraculously get better or you die.
My anti-virus program was only a partial help -- they got rid of the actual trojan, but couldn't help with the programs/processes it had installed. Microsoft was no help at all (big surprise), they suggested doing pretty much what I had been doing, and then they wanted me to wipe my whole c drive. BLECK! I have so many programs that I would have to reinstall, and re-register, and so many updates that I would have to try and remember that I had installed, and some programs that I love, but I can't even remember where I got them, and a few I've lost the registration code. I used to have one, even, that the download that I purchased was only good for six months and when I had to get a new computer, I lost the old downloaded program, so I couldn't use it any more, even though I had paid for it. (lesson of the day: save your downloaded installer programs and files to cd.)
Well, to make a long story short, as a last desperate attempt, I decided to try the program I use to back up all my data and my document files. It came bundled with an external hard drive I bought to make it easier to do running backups of all my writing, but it does a lot more. In fact, a WHOLE lot more. I have two sets of files -- one is just an exact copy of my c drive. That' great to copy an individual file, but it doesn't help if you lose a whole program, because it doesn't recreate the linkage (you know, the stuff that tells Outlook where to store your saved mail, or Word how to define this particular font). The other thing it does is to make a "snap shot" of your drive, which does include all this stuff. Anyway, I asked it to restore my entire C drive and it repaired my registry and fixed all the missing/corrupted parts of windows that the virus had attacked, and somehow managed to leave all my latest document files, but not the latest virusy program/document files.
So now my computer seems to be perfectly well again. I'm running another virus scan to be sure. But all the pop ups are gone. I can use Task Manager again. Everything seems to be hunky dory. AMAZING! And to think, I was that close to erasing it all, when I thought, hey, why don't I give that data backup program a try!
Anyway, that was sort of the point of this post... 1) I highly recommend external hard drives for people who do a lot of work that they want to have backed up on a consistent basis. 2) I highly, highly recommend Retrospect by Dantz. They just saved my buttinsky!