I’ve written before of my ongoing battle with computers, which is now some 30 years old. My first opponent was a Commodore 64 and the current combatant is a Lenovo B575 laptop.
About ten days ago, I was reading one of the news sites I frequent when the computer froze. It wouldn’t accept any input – mouse, keyboard, touchpad or foul language, so the only way out was to shut the system down. When I rebooted the computer, Windows wouldn’t load. Fine. Put the computer away for a couple of days. I wasn’t going to be home anyway, so that was no sacrifice.
The Lenovo has something called a “one key recovery” feature. Checked it out. Two options were presented, the first being restore to factory specs and the second being restore from a backup disk. Naturally, I hadn’t backed up the hard drive, in fact I don’t know many people who do, so “column B” was out. Reading the information on option 1, I saw that using it would eliminate everything not on the hard drive when it left the factory. I had about $300 in software that I’d ordered online (Paintshop Pro Photo X5 and WordPerfect Suite X6) and taken as downloads (dumb idea). It was a couple of days before I remembered to phone Corel, the supplier, to see if I could get backup disks for these two programmes. For a fee, I could. Great. Now that I know I haven’t thrown away three hundred dollars, I decided to proceed with the restore.
It didn’t take that long to restore. I was pleasantly surprised to note that Future Shop, where I bought the Lenovo as a demo (last one in the store), had removed a lot of things from the system before they put it on display. These are things I don’t use or, having tried them, don’t like, such as Chrome. The system also came with MacAfee antivirus ware. I’ve never been impressed with MacAfee, but before I uninstalled it, I downloaded and installed my preferred programmes. I might not like it, but at least it should ensure I get clean download. Got all my software installed and restored my files from backups which were about a week out of date. I frequently chat with a friend using Yahoo messenger so went to download that as well. During the installation process, I was asked if I wanted the Yahoo toolbar. No. Guess what. Despite declining the offer, I got the damn thing anyway. Uninstalled Yahoo. Noticed a separate line in the programme listings for this toolbar. Uninstalled that as well. No use. Still stuck with this thing I don’t want and don’t use.
Checked tools and settings in Firefox. Couldn’t find a way of deleting the toolbar. Looked in the computer settings with the same result. Finally had to resort to restoring to factory specs again, which meant back to February 2012 when this system was built. Through the process again – deep six Chrome and MacAfee; download my choice of antivirusware and reinstall my own software. I noticed that Adobe Reader was two versions out of date and decided to update that as well. I know from experience that occasionally there are unwanted hitchhikers on Adobe updates. In the past my system has caught key loggers and, in one download, a worm buried in these updates. This time I ended up with something called “Yontoo”, which is adware. It planted itself in 37 different locations on my system. Spybot was able to remove 35 of them and I was able to track down one more and delete it, but that last one was in a registry key. Now I might be crazy, but I’m not stupid enough to go messing with the registry.
I spoke with my son, who is also my tech despite being 3,000 miles away, and he recommended AdAware. I’ve heard of this programme before and knew it to be good. Downloaded it. Again, during the installation I was asked if I wanted to replace my current search engine, Google, with the AdAware secure engine. Again I said “no”. And again I might as well have saved myself the effort. During the install AdAware replaced Google with its own search engine. Decided to deal with that later. Ran a full scan of my system with AdAware. After four hours it caught 13 tracking cookies in addition to the remaining Yontoo irritant. Deleted all of them. Decided that if AdAware wasn’t willing to listen to me when I said “no” in response to their offer, I would uninstall the programme. With AdAware, part of the uninstall process is asking why I don’t want it. I told them, quite bluntly, that when I say I don’t want part of the programme when asked, I mean I don’t want the f’ing thing. I must say though that AdAware did also give me instructions on how to restore my preferred search engine.
I don’t know about you, but if I’m offered something in a download, and I decline it, I have an expectation that my wishes will be honoured. When I say “no”, I mean “no”.
Anyway, my computer is now back up and running and free of any unwanted visitors, so I’ll be posting more rants/raves/reasoned discussions (as usual, reader’s choice).
Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.