PC House Call - Case Studies

When I turn on my PC a message appears in the middle of the screen that says I have a virus. I cannot remove it or use my PC.
Dick, Davidson

My PC has a message that seems to be running an antivirus program called 2009Antivirus. It wants me to purchase a program to remove the detected viruses and Trojan programs.
Miki, Cornelius

Help! My PC seems to be infected with a virus. I cannot get on-line nor do any of my normal functions.

Donna, Huntersville

My associate, Sparky, and I spent several days in working to disinfect these PCs from malicious software. Most conventional antivirus programs are ineffective because the latest versions of malware cloak themselves or disable the detection programs.

With Dick’s PC we connected the hard drive to another PC so we could run scans against Dick’s infected drive. This is known as a master/slave connection in which one device (known as the master) controls another hard drive (Dick’s drive). Eventually we scanned and removed a number of Trojan programs and a notorious rootkit.

We also ran the master/slave connection against Miki’s hard drive which was infected with a rogue program. We backed-up her documents from her 80 GB hard drive; afterwards it became so corrupted we could not proceed. We discarded the drive and replaced it. From there, we made a clean install of Windows and all the updates.

With Donna’s older PC after backing up her data files, we removed numerous Trojan programs and a rogue anti-virus application with the master/slave method. Then we updated Windows and protection.

Each PC had antivirus software and Windows updates. While we cannot be certain how these PCs became infected, it appears from industry research by security experts at TrendMicro that the majority of the attacks of malware were caused by unsuspecting users surfing to malicious sites and then accepting some kind of download, eventually causing the infections. In addition, a smaller percentage of the infections tracked globally were caused by users opening e-mail attachments. In other words, about two-thirds of all computer infections result from duped users entering situations that put their computers at risk. So stay safe out there.

My parents just purchased a new computer with Windows 7. Their printer is a Canon BJC-250 Color Bubble Jet Printer. They still have the original software for the printer. I try to install the software to the new computer; however, it will not recognize the printer. When I went to the Canon Website to find the software information for this particular printer is not available. I have a friend whom has a ten year old printer and a brand new computer and for some reason, they are compatible.
Kaleigh, Huntersville

Kaleigh is correct. The original software is not designed for Windows 7 or Windows Vista, unfortunately. I also went to the Canon website and the following message appeared for her printer model: "No firmware updates are available for this product." Some manufacturers (printer and otherwise) would rather encourage the customer buy new hardware than write new software for older equipment. It is a manufacturer’ business decision.

If your printer will run on a Vista PC, it will probably be compatible on a Windows 7 PC. The manufacturer’s website can advise as to whether the software can be downloaded and installed.

I have a 5-year old XP computer that over time it has gotten slower and slower. It has 1 Gigabyte of RAM (memory) but it will take 2 GB or is there something else that I need to do.


Roger, Cornelius

More RAM is almost always better than less, but whether that's what's slowing down your system or not depends on many things. Overtime, PCs need a digital cleanup by clearing out programs and files that have slowed performance; I call the process a PC tune-up. Many times I detect malicious programs (malware), which run in the background using PC resources. The malware intrusion is usually undetected by antivirus programs. While a tune-up may be a time consuming process, it is cost-effective to restore an older PC to new condition without having to backup/reinstall your files and programs.

The time on my computer with Windows XP recently started showing in military format notation. I am not sure how it happened and I can't seem to fix it.

Kirk, Huntersville

You must have made an inadvertent mouse click.

The fix is not intuitive, but here is the path to change the settings for number, currency, time, and date: Open Regional and Language Options in Control Panel. Click on the Customize Button and then the Time tab. Follow the instructions for changing the time format.

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