Look at you, hacker   Leave a comment

Well if you were really so perfect in the first place…

Oh gosh, Tuesday was a fun day.

It started when FireFox was up to its old tricks again; being horribly sluggish, especially switching between tabs. And then Windows Update popped up with something to download. Righto, click-click… And it doesn’t open. I just got a window like an empty folder.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Because that doesn’t bode well.

I start the virus-scanner, and break out the malware detector. Whilst mucking around UAC annoys me, so I go to turn that back off (I’d only put it on to see if it fixed something else, which it didn’t), but the Users control panel has gone the same way as the Windows Update one. Hmm.

None of the scanners discover anything, and neither does a rootkit detector. It’s lunchtime, though, so I go to the town centre to get a loaf of bread, whilst I think about it. Whilst out I notice somebody collecting for the Poppy Appeal, which surprised me until I realised it was November again (mostly, to my shame, because of Skyrim’s release date). It makes me sad, for all the obvious (or I hope they are) reasons, but also because it’s sad that such an organisation is necessary, and even worse that it must rely on charity.

As problems go, it does put my misbehaving laptop in perspective.

But that’s the one I have to solve today, and it’s time to break out the big guns. Careful prodding with Process Explorer, and then going through a HijackThis log, reveal nothing.

Okay, maybe it’s some kind of conflict; I did only update to a new version of Avira Antivir the other day, maybe that’s breaking something. I uninstall it (the nagging was getting on my nerves anyway), along with Rapport, but the control panel still doesn’t work.

There are only two options left; the nuclear option, and then Exterminatus. First it’s ComboFix. It runs. It reboots. It doesn’t find anything, and it still doesn’t work. Argh.

Well, I’ve got the drive image from when I installed the machine, which will save some effort, but there’s still a lot of faffing around; that was two or three years ago. And whilst I’m thinking of the easiest way to reinstall the machine, I remember something: a few days before I’d replaced shellstyle.dll to get rid of the annoying, useless “Organize/Views/Burn” folderband. Maybe, somehow, that was breaking it?

It turns out it was. Phew. But did I feel like a numpty.

On the bright side, I’m as sure as I can be that this machine doesn’t have any malware on it. And I held off reinstalling Rapport, because it seemed to be blocking safe IPs in Amazon’s cloud, and since then Chrome has worked perfectly; no DEP errors, and no unloading pages. At an entire day it might seem expensive, but at least some good came of it.

In the evening I call Mum to ask a yes/no answer; it takes 45 minutes, and turns out she doesn’t know. And I also start playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Almost a new game! Hurrah! Will I finish it before Skyrim arrives?

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