“It seems you’re having some trouble. In dealing with these changes. Living with these changes. Oh no, the world is a scary place…Get up, come on get down with the sickness.” ~ from “Down with the Sickness” by Disturbed
This week, my laptop was heckled and hacked by a virus. Here is the disturbing timeline:
- It started Monday night as I was doing my usual computer multitasking while watching The Voice. Woosh. A flash of pop-up screens invaded, wiped out what I was working on and blacked out my desktop. From a “security center,” they gave dire warnings of a series of errors that had and were occurring on my system and pretended to be scanning it. Several more messages filled with poor English grammar and it was directing me to insert a credit card number to upgrade to a full version of software from a trial version I’d never downloaded. System fail.
- Tuesday night, I downloaded IT recommended malware software, ran it and assumed to have corrected the issue. I then went about the task of restoring the programs and files that had been hidden in the attempt to hijack my machine. I saw all my files were still accessible and again figured things were safe.
- Internet Explorer was quite sluggish and providing website errors Wednesday night. Also, some other settings I attempted to restore wouldn’t take.
- Same IE performance on Thursday and a mysterious error from my AVG antivirus software saying it wasn’t running and couldn’t turn on, update itself or be uninstalled/reinstalled. Hmm…
- Friday delivered an internal wireless card error. Again, a diagnostics fix failed.
- Saturday, we took a trip to a computer doctor who backed up the files, wiped the system clean and began again.
- The IT experts always say “back up your files.” I shall scream it, BACK UP YOUR FILES REGULARLY. There is a special sense of panic that grabs a writer’s heart when a computer hiccups. I had a backup of my writing folder and print outs of most of my work, but it was months old. My newest work and revisions on some pieces would have been toast.
- Back up your work in multiple places. The full back up I had was on an external hard drive. I also had versions of a few recent items on a jump drive. I’m going to now check out doing this on the cloud as well to be able to access from anywhere and in case of the failure of the other hardware back ups..
- If something funky pops up on your screen, try to close it via task manager, then maybe the “X” in the corner. Don’t try exit by clicking “close” or any other similar prompts. Those are a trick and open up the door to whatever is doing the dastardly knocking. If that fails, immediately shut down your system. It might already be too late, but could stop some of the madness.
- Make sure your security protection has a firewall and tools to find malware, viruses, etc. I had a free version of AVG, which was virus protection only.
- Whatever security system you have, be consistent with use. While my software ran automatic updates, I’d turned off the auto scan and hadn’t done a full system scan in a bit–in part because it made my multitasking run sluggish when it scanned. Look how that turned out for me. 😦
- Consider using Firefox. The computer fixer installed it on my system and said it is better than IE. I’ll be reading up on it today.
- Consider a Mac. I’ve been a PC loyalist since the mid ’90s so I can’t believe I’m considering this move to what I’ve considered the dark side. Part of my loyalty has been wanting a system that would be compatible in handling my work files. I hear things have changed and that it could be a moot point now. I will be researching this. Also, my writer friends with Macs happily shared they don’t deal with viruses. Grr…
ROW80 Goals Progress
- 1,500 words of new fiction a week either on novel WIP or short stories. 601 words done. The remaining time I’d carved out to work was eaten by dealing with computer issues.
- Read at least one chapter a week of a craft book. Done.
Read at least one chapter of a novel each week.Read “Hunger Games” before the movie launch March 23. Being computer-less gave me extra reading time. I’m finally done with “Defensive Wounds” and will be starting “Hunger Games” tomorrow. Counting until the Sunday after it opens, this gives me about 20 days. Nineteen pages a day will get it done. Now I need to scamper off and see about getting some advanced movie tickets.
- Complete assignments each week for Plotting Via Motivation class (March 5-30, 2012) with Laurie Schnebly Campbell. Pending start tomorrow.
- Blog three times a week. Four done.
- Read, comment and share at least 10 blogs a week. Done.
- Check Twitter and Facebook at least once daily. Done via tablet.
Healthy Happy Living
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week. Temporarily on hold as I mend. Still hope to get clearance to try something low impact next week.
- Finish my poncho project via crocheting one hour a week. Not done. Was working on computer madness during crochet time.
- Enjoy watching one movie a week without multitasking. Watching 12 Angry Men in a few hours. I’ve seen bits and pieces over the years, so it will be cool to watch straight through.
Have a computer nightmare to share? Are you a recent Mac transfer or long-time devotee? How have your goals been this week? Share away! Also, be sure to check out the ROW80 updates of others via the blog hop.