Thursday, September 25, 2008
Computer Health 101
Mac, that genius of the computer, the wizard of the keyboard the Mr Fix It to the neighborhood, has been working for several days reformatting and setting up a friend's computer that was attacked by the dreaded virus syndrome. How many viruses you might ask? I am not really sure, but when the screen came up he said "OH MY GOD!" I took this to mean that the computer was sick beyond repair. Our friend had taken her computer originally to a person in business to do this. He has a shop in the center of a small town and a cutesy name to invite you in. Once he has finished with you, you may feel that you wish you had , in the words of a song, walked on by. Sadly, this is not the only person we know of who will take advantage of the common computer user's lack of knowledge about the inner workings of this marvel of science. After being taken for $75.00 by a businessman, Mac set about to learn all he could about the computer. He studied, took courses, has become something of an expert in all things computer. He is one of those amazing people who, if he doesn't know something, is not afraid to say so, but assures you he'll find out. And then he does. So, he's working on this computer and finds that rather than repair the problem the original operating system had, the "Professional Shopkeeper" had simply installed anther OS (operating system) and added some games for the kids, while losing most of the other things our friend had uploaded, such as music and pictures. What he failed to tell her was that he had installed a pirated copy of the OS. So, it could never be updated with the security patches and upgrades to the programs already loaded into the computer. (You may ask why this can't be done...because Microsoft has it set up with a validation system so that pirated copies are identified, then they tell you where you can purchase an authentic version.) The viruses that came along can just, well, come along. Which they did. Our friend, who like me, knows how to use the computer, but little about the inner workings of the computer, had no idea that she should be getting new updates (live update) and that the computer should be set to receive them. No one told her. Certainly not the thief who charged her $125.00 to take the lazy man's way out of fixing her problem. That is to NOT fix her problem, just replace it with another problem. So, I hope y'all have your PC's set to get live updates as they become available. They are important vaccines that will keep your PC healthy. Arm yourself with knowledge. Know what to ask the repair person working on your equipment. And when ever you take your computer in for repair, don't be afraid to ask those questions. If you don't like the answers, walk out the door. Take your computer with you.