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My Computer is a Hypochondriac
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Oct 11, 2011 23:40:38   #
Annabelle
 
I just had a computer crises. Blue screen 4 times in one day. Uh oh. Once is bad ... 4 times, omigod!

I ran every test I could think of and all I got were "Your computer is fine. No problems."

If there are no problems, why is it crashing? Blue screen no less, which is crashing big time. Finally, deep in troubleshooting mode, I discover that an "Unknown Device is missing a driver." The device has an ID number, but is listed in the device manager as "Other Devices" and seems to have no other identity. Can't update the driver because it's unknown. So finally, I give in and call Dell support, which is, as far as I am concerned, about as much fun as root canal. Maybe root canal is more fun.

However, this is my lucky day and I actually get to tech support in just minutes ... fewer than 5. A lifetime record for me. That never happens. And I am not disconnected even once. Wow. Like winning the lottery almost.

Anyway, this charming Indian fellow has me run a diagnostic and asks what the message is and I say "there is no message" because it is saying again that everything is hunky dory. Except for all those blue screens of death. Minor detail.

He tells me I need to reinstall Windows. Do I have any data?

Do I have data? I have 8 zillion photographs, audiobooks, documents. I have applications up the wazoo ... photoshop and outlook and quicken and corel and so much more.

I explain that I would just as soon jump off a bridge as replace my operating system. He says, okay, I understand. We seek a compromise. Which turns out to be uninstalling the unknown device which, as it turns out does not exist. The computer just THINKS it exists. But when I reboot, it's back. Like Jack in the Shining.

So this time, I disable it. Hah! Try and defeat that! Then he tells me to turn off automatic update because the whole thing was caused by a bad update FROM MICROSOFT.

So I double check. "You are telling me to NOT install the "critical updates" from Microsoft."

Yes Maam, that is correct. Do not install, do not pass go ...

Microsoft really IS the evil empire. Too bad I'm stuck with it. I really would rather eat broken glass than have to reinstall all this stuff. Just backing up all the email, omigod.

So hopefully, this fix works.

All you PC users: turn off the updates. You have it from the authorities: the updates are gonna kill you. Or try.

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Oct 12, 2011 00:00:04   #
steve40 Loc: Asheville/Canton, NC, USA
 
That is why I keep several big flash drives, I can copy everything to one of those. I just recently had to reload my Dell, it was a flash player update that did me in. So now flash player updates, are on my "S" list.

At some time or another you have contacted a piece of spyware or a bad update, neither will show in a system check. Go download SuperAntiSpyware install and run it, its free.

It will find adware, and spyware your virus program sees as ligit. I found over 450 adware programs on my daughters laptop with it, deleted them, and the machine ran 500% better.

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Oct 12, 2011 00:19:37   #
Annabelle
 
steve40 wrote:
That is why I keep several big flash drives, I can copy everything to one of those. I just recently had to reload my Dell, it was a flash player update that did me in. So now flash player updates, are on my "S" list.

At some time or another you have contacted a piece of spyware or a bad update, neither will show in a system check. Go download SuperAntiSpyware install and run it, its free.

It will find adware, and spyware your virus program sees as ligit. I found over 450 adware programs on my daughters laptop with it, deleted them, and the machine ran 500% better.
That is why I keep several big flash drives, I can... (show quote)


I will do that. I have CA antivirus, but they don't seem to consider adware as a threat. I DO.

I do have a big external hard drive for my data (everything up to a few days ago when I did my last backup), but all those applications to reinstall ... oh lord what a lot of work that is. It is overwhelming just thinking about it!

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Oct 12, 2011 00:27:26   #
gessman Loc: Colorado
 
Good advice about adware. The problem with turning off MS updates is that you'll likely get them anyway. Microsoft will go ahead and send them to you, load them on your machine, and when you try to reboot it won't let you until it installs all of those updates. From experience, too high a percentage of those updates are buggy and adversely affect your computer. The upside is that within the next night or two, MS will have a fix for that and will do the same thing they did earlier to make sure you get the update even though you've told them not to send them, or send them for your approval. You're gonna get those updates whether you choose to or like it or not. You have a license to use Windows but do not own it and you also do not control it - the owner does and they will fix their property whether you like it or not. So :-)

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Oct 12, 2011 00:30:33   #
Annabelle
 
steve40 wrote:
That is why I keep several big flash drives, I can copy everything to one of those. I just recently had to reload my Dell, it was a flash player update that did me in. So now flash player updates, are on my "S" list.

At some time or another you have contacted a piece of spyware or a bad update, neither will show in a system check. Go download SuperAntiSpyware install and run it, its free.

It will find adware, and spyware your virus program sees as ligit. I found over 450 adware programs on my daughters laptop with it, deleted them, and the machine ran 500% better.
That is why I keep several big flash drives, I can... (show quote)


I downloaded and installed it. 517 adware and tracking cookies later, I feel much better.

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Oct 12, 2011 00:35:39   #
ShakyShutter Loc: Arizona
 
You may have dodged the bullet for the moment but not installing critical updates sent you from Microsoft will eventually cause bigger problems.

CARBONITE.COM

Get a copy of those photos and other important files off that computer and out of the house for safe keeping.

There is a good chance you still have a virus or malware running things.

Additional issues can result if you have missed or dismissed critical updates in the past. These updates often build on themselves or correct earlier bugs as they go.

Good Luck

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Oct 12, 2011 00:36:00   #
Annabelle
 
gessman wrote:
Good advice about adware. The problem with turning off MS updates is that you'll likely get them anyway. Microsoft will go ahead and send them to you, load them on your machine, and when you try to reboot it won't let you until it installs all of those updates. From experience, too high a percentage of those updates are buggy and adversely affect your computer. The upside is that within the next night or two, MS will have a fix for that and will do the same thing they did earlier to make sure you get the update even though you've told them not to send them, or send them for your approval. You're gonna get those updates whether you choose to or like it or not. You have a license to use Windows but do not own it and you also do not control it - the owner does and they will fix their property whether you like it or not. So :-)
Good advice about adware. The problem with turnin... (show quote)


You're right, but he said if I let them download but require my permission to install AND I "UNCHECK" the selection boxes, THEN click cancel, it should stop them. So I will try. I am not optimistic. I am sure that microsoft will kill this computer as it has killed others before this, but I will try hard to fight back.

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Oct 12, 2011 00:37:37   #
Annabelle
 
ShakyShutter wrote:
You may have dodged the bullet for the moment but not installing critical updates sent you from Microsoft will eventually cause bigger problems.

CARBONITE.COM

Get a copy of those photos and other important files off that computer and out of the house for safe keeping.

There is a good chance you still have a virus or malware running things.

Good Luck


I'm not even sure I've really dodged the bullet. I DO back up regularly, but there is so much software ...

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Oct 12, 2011 00:46:56   #
steve40 Loc: Asheville/Canton, NC, USA
 
I let my machine do MS updates, and I haven't seen a really bad one in awhile. But I did get a bad Flash-Player update, about a week ago. I know what you mean about all the apps to reinstall.
Do you have Dell Datasafe on your machine, if so you can make a backup disk with all your installed programs on it. Its called a hard-drive snapshot, I haven't made one myself lately, but I really should it saves a lot of work.

Well disk is a little misstated, its more like two or three DVD's.

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Oct 12, 2011 01:02:39   #
Annabelle
 
steve40 wrote:
I let my machine do MS updates, and I haven't seen a really bad one in awhile. But I did get a bad Flash-Player update, about a week ago. I know what you mean about all the apps to reinstall.
Do you have Dell Datasafe on your machine, if so you can make a backup disk with all your installed programs on it. Its called a hard-drive snapshot, I haven't made one myself lately, but I really should it saves a lot of work.

Well disk is a little misstated, its more like two or three DVD's.


But nothing can reinstall the applications except us. We depend so much on our machines and they are so fragile.

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Oct 12, 2011 01:04:07   #
Annabelle
 
steve40 wrote:
I let my machine do MS updates, and I haven't seen a really bad one in awhile. But I did get a bad Flash-Player update, about a week ago. I know what you mean about all the apps to reinstall.
Do you have Dell Datasafe on your machine, if so you can make a backup disk with all your installed programs on it. Its called a hard-drive snapshot, I haven't made one myself lately, but I really should it saves a lot of work.

Well disk is a little misstated, its more like two or three DVD's.


Apparently there was a bad one yesterday. At least for my machine. They don't affect every machine the same way.

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Oct 12, 2011 01:40:04   #
steve40 Loc: Asheville/Canton, NC, USA
 
Yes a system snapshot backup, will install your apps. It is a complete set of recovery files, it is a copy of all registry entries, program files, and windows. But it wont replace saved files, or non archived files. You need a separate backup for those. :)

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Oct 12, 2011 01:48:06   #
ShakyShutter Loc: Arizona
 
You don't need to back up the software each time. You cannot re-install software from a back-up.

You only should be saving copies of jpg, tiff, RAW and what ever files you generate from word processing etc. The programs will always need to be re-installed from disk or from downloads etc.

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Oct 12, 2011 02:17:12   #
Annabelle
 
ShakyShutter wrote:
You don't need to back up the software each time. You cannot re-install software from a back-up.

You only should be saving copies of jpg, tiff, RAW and what ever files you generate from word processing etc. The programs will always need to be re-installed from disk or from downloads etc.


Okay. I back up my documents, photographs, and financial data. I don't back up applications because as far as I know, you cannot install applications from a backup, or at least not well. It has to do with the registry: when you restore an application from a backup, it doesn't properly register. I would LOVE it if that has changed.

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Oct 12, 2011 07:12:08   #
dongrant Loc: Earth, I think!
 
Which version of Windows are you running? Do you know how to access the Windows Event log? If so try to find an error that occurred just before the crash or if the problems is occurring on boot-up about the time of the last shut down. Google for the error. Your service people should have known to do this. If they did not you need someone else.

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