Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Computer Down

Yes, I'm writing yet again about computer problems.  But as awful as my Internet interruption was that I wrote about last week, things got worse.  A lot worse. 

Can you imagine a writer, one with deadlines and other ideas to flesh out, being without a computer???

That was me. 

It turned out that my Internet problem was at least partly caused by malware, which I guess is some kind of really horrible computer virus.  Although I had virus protection on my computer, it apparently wasn't savvy enough to detect malware.  As a result, my computer got slower and slower each time I opened a program until it finally froze.  I had to massage it for a long time to get it to shut down and reboot, and when I did I could use some of the programs--for a while, till they, too, froze.

I was frantic.  My husband got the idea of taking the computer to the nearest possible help, which was an Office Depot store.  Their technicians diagnosed the problem and told us that the hard drive had been murdered by the malware.  (Okay, they didn't quite explain it that way, but that was the effect.)  So, we bought a new hard drive and had them attempt to save anything they could on the old one.  That was going to take some time.

So there I was, a writer without my main computer.  I turned to one of our two laptops, the one that had the same version of Word on it that I'm used to using.  Guess what.  It had also become a malware victim.  We trundled it over to Office Depot, too.  Good thing they are close by.

I then attempted to write on the other laptop.  Problem was, it only had a mini-version of Word on it that I didn't know.  Even so, I tried writing on it and actually drafted a small document.  Good thing I didn't do more, though, since eventually, when I did get my old version of Word back up and running on the other laptop, it couldn't read that document.

Rest of the story?  Well, good thing I back things up.  Plus, when we got the computer back with the new hard drive a few days later, even though most of the programs weren't there, if I searched for a while I did locate my old data.  Yay! 

With help, we installed the programs again.  And one of the first was a new virus protection program, one that, at least apparently, has malware protection.

I'm back in business.  I'm writing.  But my inability to work for a couple of days was really depressing.  It's not me!  I'm a writer, and I write all the time.  Oh, yes, I had some stuff printed that I could edit, so the time wasn't completely lost, but close enough.

What I really want to know, though, is why there are people out there spending their time thinking of ways to hurt others indirectly... by creating stuff like malware and viruses.

What about you--have you experienced any of this nasty stuff?


NoraA said...

I have THREE hard drives on my newest computer. The one with all the programs which actually boots the computer. The second is a 500gig internal back up drive where I save all my files... The third is a 1.5 Terrabye external drive with duplicate backups.

I've been through drive crashes hurts, and takes up way too much time redoing things back to the way I liked them.

I have Norton 360, Reg Tool, and the Win 7's own firewall and virus software all up and running. It's the way things are these days. But if you make sure they are all up to date, and have auto scheduled scans you shouldn't have a problem anymore.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Wow, Nora. Sounds like you've really got it figured out--and I should take lessons from you!

Ellen said...

I have an external 500 gig external drive, and back up documents and pictures to it at least once a week. Then I move the backup over to my laptop. And I don't turn on the backup drive *except* when I'm doing the backup. So if anything happens to my main computer, the backup drive is probably safe, and the laptop even safer.

If I get malware -- I'll pull the main drive, stuff in the Linux drive, and probably be safe to look over the infected drive externally.

I used to be a museum curator. Paranoia is a bona-fide occupational asset. Entropy is always gnawing around the edges, trying to bite chunks out of your stuff.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I've tended to keep my backup drive attached all the time, Ellen, but maybe that's not such a good idea. I'm really not sure how my laptop got affected, too, but it somehow did. Sigh. I've always had a touch of paranoia, but it's growing now!

Betty Hechtman said...

I'm glad you're back up and running. Computers are great until they don't work.