FINALLY Got My Computer Back!

Last Wednesday night I was watching Seinfeld. Cramer said something and I wasn’t quite sure what he said so I went on the internet to look it up. I had previously bookmarked a website that contained scripts from all the Seinfeld episodes (yes, I’m a Seinfeld nut). Anyway, I was sitting there when all the sudden my computer went nuts. This little popup appeared and I must have accidentally opened it (it all happened so fast I’m not exactly sure what I did).

Whatever I did, unleashed a nasty, nasty virus that rendered my computer useless. My screen was blue with ominous red writing (full of misspelled words and horrible grammar), telling me that my computer was at risk. They then tried to get me to download some “anitvirus software.”

In an attempt to get rid of the virus…

I ran Spybot Search & Destroy…it didn’t work.

I ran Malwarebytes…it didn’t work.

I ran Windows Defender…it didn’t work.

I did a boot-level scan with Avast…IT DIDN’T WORK!


I even had my brother work on it for me. Apparently the virus unleashed different files that disabled various programs (Windows Update and Defender would not update properly). Internet Explorer was hijacked and every place I tried to go was redirected elsewhere.

It was very frustrating.

I finally decided to admit defeat and do a complete format/restore, which took my computer all the way back to the way it was when I bought it over three years ago. I have been reloading software this evening and hope to be back up and running tomorrow morning.

BOTTOM LINE: BE CAREFUL. There’s a lot of crap out there. DON’T CLICK ON ANYTHING—warnings or otherwise. Keep your software up-to-date (easier said than done).

14 thoughts on “FINALLY Got My Computer Back!”

  1. Did you ever find out what Kramer said?

    Don’t forget to run Windows Update (automatically is the way to go).

  2. Wow, good point. And the scariest thing of all is with the newest form of phishing, you don’t necessarily have to click on anything to have your personal information compromised!

  3. FYI, the problem with IE, WindowsUpdate, and other programs not updating is that the virus writers modify your c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts file and add tons of entries to (loopback) for all the common anti-virus companies and windows update websites. You normally only need this one line in that file: localhost

    Let your brother know about that trick. Another tip, use Firefox to browse the web, most virus use security holes in IE to infect your machine — keep everything patched up, and turn on automatic updates, and of course, don’t run untrusted programs that you download (shame that Avast didn’t catch it).

  4. BG,

    I can’t blame this on Avast as I think I might have mistakenly (not sure if I did or not) clicked on the fake warning, which installed the virus. Both Avast and Spybot launched warnings but it was too late because I had already clicked on the popup thinking it was Windows Defender. It was one of those DOH! moments.

  5. JLP,

    You can test to see if your virus-scanner is installed and running correctly (also shows you what a virus detection will look like) by using the EICAR test file. The test file is not a virus, but all anti-virus companies have agreed to use it as a standard test file for endusers:

    You will need to scroll down to the bottom of that page and click the link for “”, if your antivirus is installed properly, then you should be immediately be notified of the (fake) virus detection.

  6. It happened with my laptop also 5 months back. I now use Firefox only for browsing http sites with 2 add-ons “No Script” and “WOT”. No problem since then.

  7. You could also try a *nix like ubuntu for free. It does basically everything a Windows does. And getting a Mac doesnt help, there are exploits for all OSes.

    Next time try running a AV or spybot type scan from Safe mode (press f8 before windows loads) or by booting a live cd and scanning the drive.

  8. Don’t feel bad, this sort of thing happens all the time. I’ve worked at large law firms across the country and people still manage to download viruses in spite of the incredible amounts of money spent on anti-virus software.

  9. #9 MikeG) As crappy as windows is, I still can’t recommend linux for the masses yet (I’m a 9 year linux user).

    Especially if people are not knowledgeable enough to clean an infected windows PC: they will be totally screwed in the linux world.

    Here’s to hoping that Win-7 is a decent OS, because I can’t recommend Vista to anyone either: Vista is worse than Win-ME (remember that garbage?)

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