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.

56 comments:

Deb said...

Good Morning ~ I am just out floating around in the blogosphere this morning and thought I'd say hi. I do appreciate this info and will keep this in mind as I try to keep my computer healthy -no easy task somedays. I loved your post about window washing - and could relate. Enjoy your day.

CatHerder said...

unfortunately, there was a bug in my updates on my mac laptop...it was the FIRST update it ever did in april when hubby got it for me.....it WIPED OUT half my stuff and my fan...IM STILL ARGUING WITH APPLE to get it fixed....its so annoying! they have no idea why it did that...and after over 6 hours on the phone running disks over and over and over it is still missing tons of software, which was the reason hubby bought it for me, for my photoshop stuff...i will take my dell desktop anyday.

Stacey said...

Yes I do! Great reminder to those who don't though. If John didn't do it for me, I wouldn't have known! xo

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Mac is a dear! Wish that every family had a computer savvy person to help in times of need. That computer repair guy is truly unethical and I hope that she tells him so!

Greg C said...

I ended up having to wipe my computer to get it fixed. There are some sick people out there that get their jollies from screwing with other people's computers. I wish when they catch one of these people they would simply turn them over to anyone they annoyed and let us do some gold old boy justice on them. I bet I could find a way to get their sorry butts infected with something that would never go away. Ok I feel better now.

Mima said...

I'm really careful with mine, I do regular back ups and have anti virus & firewall. I can't believe that someone could do that and charge money for it - there ought to be some sort of authority that you could report it to, I wonder if the Police would be interested in someone installing illegal software? I am very lucky, I know a bit, and have a very good computer man who helps me to fix problems when they happen, but not as lucky as you - Mac sounds like a useful man to have around!!

Mima said...

Completely forgot to say thank you so much for your offer of help - we have a big booklet called the care plan which has almost everything in it, and that prevents most of the questions, but somehow there always seems to be more questions and things that aren't covered!!

denise said...

hey, it's denise in c'field. you're not talking about a certain computer "expert" here are you?
still lovin' your blog!!!!!!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Poorly computers are scary. It's so hard when you know nothing as you can easily get taken for a ride. Mac sounds like a good person to know.

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Excellent post Sandi and yep the same thing happened to me. I hate being computer illiterate. I was very upset when we first got a computer and found out that no manual came with it. I am one of those people who wants to know how things work. At the same time I hate doing the updates because it always changes something. Lynn
P.S. Hope you cooked that collard. :) I love collards

ancient one said...

Well, I guess I'd better start ok-ing those updates... who knew?

Mary said...

Hi Sandi Hope you are well today Been sort of tied up but hope to post soon

Sandi McBride said...

DENISE! Good, you identified yourself! And I'm pretty sure you know who I'm talking about!
So glad you "commented"! hugs

Sandi

Sandy said...

Thank goodness my hubby knows about computers because I like your friend would take it for repair thinking all is well and be none the wiser. It's a shame that there are horrible people out there taking advantage of others!

Have a wonderful weekend.
Blessings,
Sandy

Lib said...

Hi Sandi,
Thats terrible to take advantage of others!
THanks fo rthe info!
Hope you're having a great wk!
Blessins',Lib

Maggie May said...

Glad I got a Mac as they are not so prone to viruses.
Glad you got yours sorted out & that you have your man Mac to fix things for you.
I hate the way people take advantage of computer users like that and garages do it too with car owners. not nice.

bj said...

I have a hard time keeping my computer clear and clean and I appreciate any help I can get. Thanks for all this info.
bj

Akelamalu said...

Mac sounds like an angel in disguise. That's good advice for novices like me. Hell I'm not even a novice I'm a know nothing gal!

Jeni said...

The guy I bought this current computer from back in February of 2007 set it up with the automatic updates, showed me a few things here and there but as someone else mentioned, neither with this computer, nor with the one I had before this, did I get any type of "instructional" book on various little things about computers, upkeep, etc. A few weeks ago, I had an issue with my computer -don't even remember exactly how it started -but I called the computer shop and was told if they sent someone to the house, it would be an $80 service call right off the top. Couldn't tell me anything to do to check other things out on the computer over the phone and at that time, I had no way to get my computer into the shop. I realized my next door neighbor's son happened to be home that day, called him and he came over and "played" around on my computer for about an hour -found a virus my anti-virus had missed, got the computer up and running for me and all for free too! (He's a bit of a whiz kid, sophomore in college, very computer oriented -just a nice young man, although at times he can be a bit of a know-it-all about EVERYTHING, not just computers. But I can abide that little bit on the knowing everything as all part of his youth!) Oh, and the staff person at the computer shop had told me that to get my computer working again, sight unseen, they would have to reload the OS which would, of course, erase every freaking bit of data I have on the thing. Getting the data retrieved would have cost me who knows how much extra and in the end, none of that was necessary after all! This puppy's been skimming along, fine and dandy since my neighbor kid worked on it! It is, indeed, sad that some of these places will take those of us less knowledgeable or computer illiterates, for the proverbial ride though, isn't it?

Brenda said...

Im so excited...Im finally off for a weekend. I hope to go to a Pecan Festival on Saturday. I will take pictures.

Lee said...

That's good info Sandi! You're a boon to the community for posting it. Has anyone reported this wolf in sheep's clothing to the Better Business Bureau? That is the very least he deserves. I'd also gather some of his past fleeced lambs and sue him for cheating them.

Hugs!
Lee

Love Bears All Things said...

I remember one time some of us "computer users" were discussing viruses at my Mom's house. She wanted to know if it was the same kind people got. I think it is worse. It can wipe out the entire hard drive so be sure and back up often. I need to do a couple of back ups of data right now.
Mama Bear

Jeanne said...

Gak how scary. I have Trend Micro AntiVirus protection and that thing is always sweeping or updating. Got SpySweeper too and I'm very anal about keeping them both updated. Thanks for the chance to play with your little virtual kitty pet.

Lavinia said...

Good advice. I am fortunate to have all my computer matters looked after by my brother in law. You are right---one must arm oneself with knowledge, otherwise there is a high chance of falling prey to one of these unscrupulous thieves, as you describe. Important message in this post.

Lavinia said...

p.s.---I love your new banner!

SandyCarlson said...

Sandi, you are so write. I have often been cowed by repair people who know more, etc. I remember a professor who called tech support one day in class. The techie tried to bamboozle him with the lingo. The professor, who was as learned as could be, said, "All I know is it doesn't go 'ding' when I press the button!" I admired his gumption! We have to be like that.

Technonana said...

All I can say after reading this is Praise the Lord for my computer nerd son-in-law!!!
By the way he is from Lancaster!!
Nice to visit with you, strange that I found your blog though on of my West Coast friends.

Strider said...

Hey Sandi....thanks for dropping by my blog today. I was running my "blog trap line" this evening and saw Lavinia had my address on her blog today. What a nice kid she is! I was in S.C. late last week and over the weekend visiting my son and his family. I hadn't seen my grandson since March. I had a good visit. Even thought the weather was pretty good....it was still pretty humid for me. Thanks again for coming by.

Veggie Mom said...

My youngest is still trying to get her Mac set up at school. The college's IT department is PC-centric. But it looks like there's a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, and she'll be up and running soon...

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Thanks for posting this informative post Sandi!
Penny

Terri and Bob said...

Wow, I am a MAC girl and this is all new to me but I can tell you I will be taking your advice seriously. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Sandra Evertson said...

Sound advice, Thanks for sharing it!
Sandra Evertson

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Thank you for your advice Sandi. Much appreciated. I've insisted that hubbie update the virus scan system on this computer that we share. Zone alarm (the scan virus thing) have cleverly linked payment to other companies so that I ended up buying children's books to get Zone Alarm. Aah these marketing types...I think they outfox us all! (At least me!!)

david mcmahon said...

Thank heaven for blokes like Mac.

Donna said...

Our computer man charges $80 an Hr to do repairs!..Geez!! Happy computing!

Seamus said...

The sad truth is that there are so many shysters out there regarding computer services. One really has to walk in the door with their guard up!

It's wonderful that you've got a "Mac" at your disposal.

Jules~ said...

Very good advice to keep in mind. It is so great that your hubby set out to learn all about these techie type things and helps people out. What a blessing.

Maddy said...

Well that's not good. My husband swore that the whole point [part of the point] of getting a MAc was to be far less vulnerable to viruses.
Best wishes

Jules~ said...

Good morning Sandi. I just read your blog roast interview with David and really enjoyed learning a bit more about you. I didn't realize that amongst the many things you and I have in common...we are both red heads.
I loved your advice to new bloggers.
So many people thank you from your law enforcement years...that is because it is easy to see that your heart shows through in whatever you do.
Have a blessed and wonderful weekend.

Jules~ said...

And I forgot....I really like your new banner picture. Is that a place out by you?

i beati said...

agree entirely also call first asandyakesslernd ask for a lot of questions and estimates/ sk

have a special weekend

CrazyCath said...

Excellent advice Sandi and thanks for posting it. Truly - it is only through the help of friends like you and Mac that we all learn how to protect ourselves.

I just popped over to tell you that your interview at David's is a ROAST girl! Brill interview.

Sally said...

I'm so glad Mac was able to help your friend. I wish he lived here and would fix my car. :)

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

I came over after reading the Blog Roast on David's Authorblog. I have to say, he picked a very good one to let us know about. Your blog is excellent. I've spent a while reading back through some of your posts. Your site will go into my feeds for sure!

Mockingbird Hill said...

I can do many things with a computer, but fix it is not one of them! Lucky me...the Hub has IT guys at work and for the price of a lunch will fix, de-bug or install just about anything we might need. Heaven knows what we will do when he retires!

Susie Q said...

Hi Sandi! The post you were looking for is called, Dogs Already Know...it is at:
http://www.rabbitruncottage.blogspot.com/2008/04/dogs-already-know.html

I am honored by your mention of this sweet lady. I loved your interview... I love you!

Sue

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

You're a winner at mine!

Jay said...

Never mind the Better Business Beureau - by installing pirated software on your computer, this guy has broken the law and should be prosecuted! At the very least, report this to someone so that the appropriate steps can be taken.

And you should not have to pay one penny - in fact, he should be made to compensate you for the damage he's done.

Good grief ... but going to a professional, you have a right to expect professional service!

Oh, and yes, many places do just install a new OS, because it's easier. My advice to anyone taking a machine in for repair is to get it in writing that they will not so so - or erase any part of your hard drive - without express written permission. Then you can sue the pants off them.

I would be so mad!!!

jazzi said...

I'm one of those people that learned how to fix my own computer, mainly because I found it very interesting! But I'm also lucky to have very knowledgable IT people at work to ask questions when I run into something I'm unsure of.
I'm floored someone is still in business and installing pirated OS. He should be turned in to Microsoft.

Sandi McBride said...

For everyone who agrees with me that this thief should be turned in, well, he has been...now we'll just watch and wait to see how he is punished!
hugs to all!
Sandi

Merisi said...

Oh my goodness,
you make me shake with fear.

joan said...

Hi Sandi,

I am lucky because I have a comouter guru (my son). He knows more about computer then I'll ever know in my lifetime so he takes care of his Mom when I need help with my computer. But this is all great advice and it's just a shame some people are not honest. Also wanted to tell you that I love your new banner photo. Fall is so pretty. Hope you are doing well and I wish you a great week!

Denise said...

URGENT PRAYER....... SEE MY BLOG

Pam said...

oh, I'm so sorry to hear about your friend's computer. I don't know much about the inner workings either except using the things..most of the time. ;)

Denise said...

Thank you for your prayers for Sandy.. I spoke with Sandy and I told her that there are many beautiful ladies praying for her.. She is in good spirits, her husband is not doing as well as she is.. I spoke with him and he has to take the baby home today..... New Father with new baby and wife facing open heart surgery is a tough pill to swallow........ Remember David when you pray.....

Merisi said...

Just checking in,
to see if your computer is still working! *grin*