The downside of being a “little” technically minded – dealing with zombie PCs

The free one ain't enough

This week has seen a series of spectacular technology failures on equipment owned by family, friends and clients alike. First comes the invasion of viruses.

I’ve never used free anti-virus software. Never. Ever. I may use the odd freebie alongside something paid for (I sadly use the system resource hungry McAfee, but it’s part of a multi-license with other machines owned by one side of my family (hint: I don’t personally pay for it)).

So, when a friend or family member’s PC becomes infected and they’ve been using the free version of AVG… the downside is that due to being a “little” technically minded I’m asked (or Paul or both of us) to have a look at the very zombified PC.

The main case this week, and the only one we’ve looked at, was Paul’s mum’s machine that was so crawling with crap after having its Norton subscription lapse and having AVG free installed instead… I had to tell Paul we could do nothing for it when the crap that had got into the system wouldn’t let us edit the registry or run any programs even when in Safe Mode. We advised Paul’s mum to have it properly looked at by an expert.

Today it came back. It was virus free and had had most of its data retrieved. It’s having something more potent than a freebie installed on it later this weekend.

A friend has also had their PC come under a similar virus overload these past few days. Thankfully Paul and I won’t have to deal with it.

Mind you, the most annoying part about investigating Paul’s mum’s PC at the weekend was when family members were chirping in on Facebook, “Use AVG-Free, blah, blah.” I sat there thinking about how the damn thing had let the crap in anyway.

And it’s a false economy, spending hundreds on a PC, but not bothering to pay a little each year to protect it. The cost of losing the PC to a virus or having your data mined is more than the renewal of security software each year.

Finally… a client’s Mac has died. I witnessed its last throws on Monday – it goes on, but won’t go past the OS loading screen and attempts to get it to start in Safe Mode have been unsuccessful.

And whilst in a meeting with the client and another contractor of theirs… the contractor’s Mac Book Pro decided to have a case of failed DVD disc drive – disc stuck in the drive, wouldn’t come out and just kept turning. Having an internally built disc drive, perhaps a bit of a design flaw on the part of Mac Book Pros?

Thankfully, both client and their contractor plan to take their Macs to a professional to have it looked at.

Bad news: I’m installing new security software on an Aunt’s PC tomorrow night and I don’t know if she’s been using the net whilst unprotected… urgh.


4 thoughts on “The downside of being a “little” technically minded – dealing with zombie PCs

    • McAfee has always worked well for me. Otherwise, Avast has been recommended to me by quite a few people. I would say that the main thing you need to consider is that you need anti-virus along with a decent firewall and software to keep you safe whilst browsing online – and that it’s better to pay for it than to rely on freebies.

  1. I recommend Kaspersky, although I haven’t used their latest version. It did get a bit memory-hoggy at times, but I heard they streamlined it a bit.

    Otherwise Nod32 has been recommended often in the past.

    I did used to enjoy fixing the PC problems of family & friends in the past, but just don’t have the time to dedicate to it now :(.

  2. I had Kapersky and now have the AVG you have to pay for installed on there…. didn’t stop that damn virus but in the end we found the right patch. I would never ask you to fix my computer though – I put the call up on facebook for the attention of those of my friends who work with computers or are full on electrical engineers. Let them deal with the problem I say! 🙂 xx

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