Sunday, August 08, 2010


I've been a Windows user all my life. Yeah, Macs are cool, but I resent paying $2500 for a system that I could buy or build myself for less than half that. Plus, personal experience and hearing from Apple users has pretty much proven to me that the whole 'it just works' tagline is bullshit.

Hey, at least Wintel machines have an excuse. Microsoft has to write an operating system that will work with infinite combinations of hardware by literally thousands of manufacturers. Apple is proprietary all the way.

However, I think I'd find Windows machines a lot more reliable if they'd take all the training wheels off and just stop trying to help me.

Recently, my desktop contracted a fairly nasty virus that cut its performance in half. What made it so nasty was that it would install itself by attaching itself to a couple of critical Windows files. Usually, you can get rid of a virus by locating it and deleting it…but the one I had made that impossible by making itself part of a file that Windows needs to run.

After a bit of research, I downloaded a program to remove it that needs to be run in safe mode. It also takes an absolute age to complete its scan (roughly 9-12 hours to scan a total of 400 gigabytes)…but it works.

However, about 24 hours after cleaning it out, my computer randomly reset itself and the same virus was flagged immediately after rebooting. So, I spent another 10 hours scanning, which removed the virus, which was confirmed by the multiple 'normal' scans I ran when everything was up and running again.

24 hours later the same thing happened. I was in the middle of writing a post when my computer powered down and restarted. After booting, AVG flagged the same virus again.

It took me a few days to work out what was going on.


Apparently, system restore is supposed to work by taking regular snapshots of your system and auto saving when you change or install something. The idea is that if everything goes pear shaped, you simply run system restore and everything will go back the way it was before you messed up.

This has never worked for me. I've tried to use it multiple times and it's never fixed a goddamn thing.

As for this virus, what was happening was System Restore was running in the background, and when it detected a change to the infected system file (IE, when the fucking virus was removed), it sprang into action, thought "OMG! A system file's being changed!" and saved a copy of the infected file.

Of course, this meant that the virus would lay low for a while (the system restore partition isn't included in the scan), then re-install itself.

Then, when the virus finally rebooted my system to start running again, I'd re-run the scan…only to have Windows save a copy of the infected file in order to 'protect' me.

Here's the deal, Microsoft…take off the training wheels, stop trying to hold my hand because instead of being a protective parent, you're quickly turning into a creepy uncle.

It's my fucking computer. If I want to erase a file, replace it with an older version or do ANYTHING, I should be allowed to. Ask me if I'm sure, inform me that I shouldn't need to change anything in the System32 folder and that they're vital files…but if I tell you to delete a file, DELETE THE FUCKING FILE.

Hell, I'm running a 12 hour scan in safemode to clean a virus that, fifteen years ago, I could clean by simply deleting the infected file and replacing it with a fresh copy from the Windows install disks…but can't do that anymore because not only will Windows not let me erase the file, the install discs a compressed and encrypted to stop piracy.



I cut my teeth on a PC with zero safeguards…and you know what? I royally fucked it up on multiple occasions…but it was those fuck ups that forced me to actually learn about the machine I was using. What you're essentially selling me is a car with the hood welded shut, because as a 'normal user' there's no reason for me to dick with the engine.

Sure, that makes sense…but it's a real fucking pisser when I want to check the oil, or when I happen to know there's a badger living in the air filter.

1 comment:

Evan 08 said...

I've used system restore with a moderate amount of success. With that said though, you should always turn off system restore if you're going to do a virus fix that requires safe mode.