Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Few Useful Tips and How to Win at Guess Who?


In my line of work, (which is incredibly secret) my computer and I have been subjected to many viruses over the years and we have learned some things about love, life, and mostly computers. So, say a random pop-up box shows up on you screen and says your computer’s infected, what do you do? First, don’t touch anything and say a little prayer to the patron saint of computers, St. Isidore of Seville. Then, if at all possible, find another computer and search the name of the program that is warning you about the virus or bug. Usually if the program is not to be trusted, you will find the word virus (a word here meaning a contagious computer program) after the name of the program. If the program that is warning you looks trustworthy its still good to take the following steps as a precaution.

If you have a virus or suspicious program downloading onto your PC do the following:

1.      DO NOT CLICK ON THE SUSPICIOUS BOX! Sometimes even hitting the little “X” button on the box with cause the virus to start infecting your computer.

2.      After saying a prayer to St. Isidore of Seville you go and click on the “Start” button in your lower left-hand corner and NOTHING ELSE!

3.      After you go to start there should be a tab that says “Programs” click on this with your mouse.

4.      Once you’re in “Programs” click on the “Accessories” button

5.      There you will find a program called “System Restore” click on it and it should open up a dialogue box.

6.      From there follow the directions until you get to the point where you pick a date to restore to. Every day your computer is on it normally does a system checkpoint. These days will be highlighted in the little calendar that will show up on your screen. After choosing a date, you will be asked if you wish to proceed, if you would want to proceed, tell the computer.

7.      The computer will proceed to shut down the computer, and then a box will come up that says something similar to “Restoring System”

8.      After your computer is automatically restarted by the program, after you log back on you will see a box that says something like “System Restore complete. Computer restored to____" and the date you chose to restore to will be listed.

9.      Finally, TADA! Suspicious program that was downloading on you computer five minutes ago is gone without a trace! Poof! It’s magic!

Now, I hear you saying “It’s not magic, but it’s nice to know. Thanks. Now what about the programs that I was working in when the suspicious program invaded my computer? Will they be lost? What about all the documents that I created and saved before the restore date? Will they be gone too?”

Now, hear me say:

With the programs that you are working on when the suspicious program invaded your computer may not save the progress made on them if they were open and hadn’t been recently saved before the System Restore shut the computer down. That is why it is important to save! Secondly, about your documents created after the restore date: They are still intact! Even if you got a bug in the afternoon but had just written a paper and saved it on your computer that morning, then restored your PC to a week ago, your paper would still be there! A side note: after restoring your computer some updates on your word processing, security, or firewall programs may become void, but usually these programs will just re-update themselves. And as a testament to this method, I’ll tell you a story.


One day I was really sick, so I stayed home and watched Reading Rainbow on PBS. Man, I loved that show….

(I’m sorry did you say something? Oh, you said that you wanted to hear about how this helped me with my computer virus? What? You don’t want to hear stories of my elementary school sick-days? Well, I will honor your request, but let me ask: Are you even human? These stories are classics! The stuff legends are made of! Yeah, yeah, okay. I’ll tell you about the (computer) virus.)


So this little nasty is called HDD Disk Defragmenter, and this is what it does: It pops up on your screen and says, “Oh no! There are suspicious programs on you computer! Let me scan them for you!” And you (or me), being the trusting people that we are say, “Okay! Thanks!” Then the program proceeds to “scan” aka mess around with your hard drive until your computer ruuuuuunnnnnnsssss liiiiiiiikkkkkkkeeeee thhhhiiiiissssss…… (really slow). Then it says, “Hey, your hard drive is all messed up! Buy this program and we can fix it for you!” So, if you weren’t suspicious enough already, it asks for your credit card number so you can buy the program! (Hint: Don't buy the program! It just takes your credit card number and the fries your hard drive to erase evidence of the program. Game over.) If you were like me the first time this program invaded my computer, you would just give up and shut your computer off and hope to never see it again. Then, when you start your computer up again, there is the virus, waiting. And every time you start your computer it messes up your hard drive even more. I started and restarted my computer a lot, just wishing for this mess of my computer to go away. Eventually I had to get a new hard drive. Then, not a month later, the same program invaded again! Luckily I called tech support straight away and didn’t touch anything. And that is how I learned this neat little trick called system restore. It wiped the program off the computer and I still had all my files! I wanted to hug the guy through the phone! Anyways, if you’re ever in a similar jam, I hope that helps you out.

I hear you saying “Wait!! Don’t shut the door yet! You were about to tell us how to win at Guess Who?!” I apologize. I didn’t realize that “a few useful tips” would turn into one really big tip and a little story on the side. Maybe next year or even tomorrow I’ll tell you how to win at Guess Who? For now, as Sally once said “We’ll always have Minneapolis.” And how right she was!  

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