Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Online, Offline, Online...

I’m back – again. The last several weeks either my computer has been ill or my ISP has been on the fritz. Finally, the computer was sent out for checkup. I would solve one problem long enough to go online for a day or two before another would crop up.

It got started weeks ago when my computer seemed to be under attack. It ended up with a worm and a Trojan which is deemed so hazardous that the anti-virus software companies strongly recommended that victims who have done any online financial transactions change their bank account numbers. That is a pain in the neck!

A program named Spy Sweeper found the bad virus (Trojan – ace x) and Windows Defender found the netsky worm. Unfortunately, my antivirus software, McAfee, allowed two changes to my registry a minute before the problems started and allowed my real-time protection to be disabled without asking permission for either. Needless to say, I was not happy when I saw this in the log.

When I cleared up those problems, I still had another problem. There were shortcuts to downloads for anti-spyware and anti-virus programs on my desktop that I didn’t put there. I also had what looked like Windows dialog boxes popping up warning me that my computer is not secure and that my computer is at risk. Since I didn’t download the shortcuts, I didn’t click on them. Putting my cursor over them showed they led to websites named “virus web protect” and “protect trusted antivirus”. A quick search revealed these were spyware sites. On top of that, Internet Explorer kept trying to load various pages.

McAfee was no help with these problems. After much searching, I finally came across the Tech Guy website. This is a forum where members can ask for help with computer problems. Google brought me to the question that listed all the problems I was having with my computer. Best of all, the solution was there as well! I researched the tech guy and the programs he said to use. He was on the level. I followed the solution. Although there were many steps, his instructions were very clear and easy to follow. I did so and the shortcuts and pop ups disappeared. Internet Explorer no longer attempted to load web pages. I was back online – for a couple of days.

Suddenly, I couldn’t get any deeper than the home page of any website. I couldn’t access my web based email. Back to the drawing board. I checked all cables, connections and plugs. I ran all the antivirus, antispyware programs. I searched the Internet for an answer. Nothing! Suddenly, a few days later the problem disappeared. It was then that I found out that my ISP had a problem that caused this. Of course there was no warning or acknowledgement on their front page.

After all this, my husband and I decided to have the computer checked out by an expert. It meant yet more offline time, but it was worth it. He reformatted the hard drive and reinstalled the operating system. He also loaded a much better antivirus program and helped us secure the computer. The antivirus program he installed is Avast, which is a program I had used in the past. For years, I had used Norton. I wasn’t happy with their lack of support. When the program continued to download updates that knocked out my Outlook Express, I started looking around for another antivirus. Many people had high praise for Avast. With all the great reviews and the great price – free for personal use – I had to try it. I was very happy with it. When we went from DSL to Cable Internet, the ISP (Comcast) provided McAfee. Unfortunately, I decided to try it. I wish I had stayed with the Avast. Now I am back to Avast and happily so!

I decided to write about my computer trials of late in hopes that it might help someone else.

I highly recommend the following websites and programs:

Look here for answers to computer problems, registration is free:
Tech Guy

Free antivirus program home edition (has support forums, too):

Free antispyware/adware program (has support forums, too):

So that's my computer tale of woe complete with a happy ending! LOL

Hasslefree Clip Art


storyteller said...

Ohmygosh! Here I thought I was safe with McAfee running in the background. I guess I need to rethink this. Thanks so much for sharing your experience in such detail. I’m sorry for the problems you’ve had and am relieved you’ve managed to solve them … but now you’ve got me worried about my laptop so I may do some checking with the Tech Guy website … and look into Avast as well. Thanks for the links and the benefit of your experience … and WELCOME BACK!!!
Hugs and blessings,

Sandy C. said...

Goodness! What an ordeal :( Thanks so much for sharing your great finds and links :)

Renie Burghardt said...

Hi Tina,

Sorry to hear about all your pc problems! And I'm glad you shared your pc woe's with us. I've had Norton, with the works, for the past four years, and so far so good. But thank you for the good word about Tech Guy and Avast. And
I'm so glad you're back online again. We missed you!



PS. All our snow is history, today we reached 74 degrees, and I even planted two rows of lettuce. :-)

Tina Coruth said...

Hi Storyteller,

I suggest that you keep an eye on the event log, so you will know if McAfee disables your protection or allows a change to the registry that you didn't authorize. The event log is one very good feature about McAfee. I hope you find these suggestions helpful. Better yet, I hope you don't have these problems with McAfee!

Thank you for the welcome back! :-)


Tina Coruth said...

Hi Sandy,

You're welcome! Thank you for your visit and kind words! :-)


Tina Coruth said...

Hi Renie,

I'm glad Norton is working well for you. I had it quite a while ago. They probably fixed the problem that I had with it. If you ever need help (and I hope you don't!) I hope the Tech Guy site will be helpful.

Thank you! I missed visiting with you and all my blogging pals. I had a great time today getting caught up.

Wow - 74 degrees and you planted some lettuce! How wonderful. It gives me hope that our snow will melt...eventually. LOL

Have a great week and happy gardening, my friend!