Healing a Sick Computer

MAJOR computer malfunction yesterday! Not that I had anything to do with it!! No way.

Fact: I had an anti-virus software on my computer whose efficacy I doubted.

Fact: With this doubt in head, I proceeded to do what I know NEVER to do – download another anti-virus software program without first deleting the existing one. OUCH! I will proffer an (lame) excuse – I have been “under the weather” for the last two weeks with some sort of respiratory crud-ness. Still, I know better!!

Fact – thereafter NOTHING worked! Out of commission were email, Yahoo messenger, ease of Internet access, and overall speed (lack thereof) of computer. In other words – as stated, nothing worked.

Thus began an odyssey into digital hell. I spent HOURS on the phone with various vendors – several anti-virus, Microsoft, and my ISP. No one was able to fix what was a wildly complex issue, or set of issues. In one de-moralizing 2 hour conversation with a gent from India, my enthusiasm for the company’s ability to help me grew to a great crescendo, that instantly collapsed when he said, “And we can do all this, AND MORE, for just $139 for the year.”
So, there I was with a completely vulnerable and unprotected computer, not knowing which way to turn. The thing with these tech support operations is, it’s all in who you get. I got several very nice, but frankly ineffective folks who could tell me no more than I knew myself. (I know enough to be EXTREMELY dangerous). Finally, towards the end of this journey, I got a fellow who offered me priceless advice: download Microsoft Essentials anti-virus (free), after performing a system restore – setting the computer back to a previous state, which of course had to come before downloading anything and all previous removals would have to be removed again.

The saga was not over, though the pieces began then to fall into place. Here’s what had to happen next:

  1. Find and download previous anti-virus software removal tool
  2. Make sure previous anti-virus software was indeed removed
  3. Download Microsoft Essentials
  4. Fix, fix, and fix again the settings for my email (Outlook)
  5. Do a disk cleanup
  6. De-frag the hard drive
  7. Perform a system restore – setting the computer to a previous, non-messed-up state
  8. Test, test, and test again: email, Messenger, and all other programs
  9. Restart, restart, and restart again
  10. Bid adieu and glad tidings after spending 12 hours sorting through this mess

When I left my computer last night, it was still not 100%. Email was acting flakey and Messenger required a here-to-fore unnecessary massaging before going live. The question then became: what was I in store for in the morning (now)?

Voilà! Somehow, magically, miraculously and without the proverbial further ado, my computer is at 100%. In fact, it is at 150%, maybe even 200%! I am much happier and markedly de-stressed.

Okay, now for the moral of this long and sordid tale. Actually, there are several:

  • Never, never, never put more than one anti-virus software on your computer at one time. The associated conflicts wreak havoc with its previous operational equilibrium
  • If installing a new anti-virus program, find out whether you need a removal tool for the one you have currently. With some anti-virus programs, the uninstall program feature on the control panel is not enough to rid your hard drive of the subtly infiltrating fingers of some programs
  • Do not take on digital projects of massive proportions when not feeling up-to-par
  • Take advice from the computer: REST – things always look better in the morning!