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"J? What the hell is J???"

My words up on attempting to reboot Idris (the six-week-old desktop) after she went Blue Screen of Death on me Friday evening, only to get a black screen with a lower-case j, followed by a blinking underscore cursor that didn't actually do anything, and NOTHING ELSE.

Said Blue Screen of Death occurred in my middle of my third or fourth attempt to create a bootable USB for Coreen (the three-year-old netbook, which is of the Asus variety that travels so light it doesn't have a CD drive), which late Thursday afternoon had picked up a particularly nasty trojan that was briefly identified by an AVG alert before proceeding to eat the system files.

Yes. You read that right. BOTH my computers went zombie on me within 24 hours. (The fact that this was just after two Firefox updates in three days makes me more than a little suspicious.) There was wailing and gnashing of teeth and possibly throwing things.

Thank all the stars that I had set up Idris to back up files once a week, so I have everything up through last Sunday evening, which is essentially everything. What I had not done (a procrastination that I'm currently ruing the hell out of) was create a system image and recovery disk. After downloading the reinstall ISO that has thankfully been made available for Windows 7 (since I imagine Idris isn't the only one that didn't come with a reinstall disk), I am now doing exactly that. So that, if this happens again, I won't have to INSTALL ALL THE THINGS! all over again.

Before I do that, however, I will need to turn my attention back to netbook resuscitation. For which there are numerous tutorials, some of which don't make a whole lot of sense, and several of which have not really worked. Once the system image is done (priorities!), it's back to the one I was attempting when everything went kerplooey Friday night.

Needless to say, this has swung my default-browser pendulum back to Chrome for the moment. I'm certainly not going to definitively say it was Firefox's fault, but better safe and all that.

*deep breath* Good thing I didn't have any particular plans for my Labor Day weekend...


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 5th, 2011 12:00 am (UTC)
Does this affect your opinion of the new desktop? (Still collecting reviews before buying a new one here...)
Sep. 5th, 2011 12:09 am (UTC)
As long as it doesn't happen again in another six weeks, no. Viruses happen. *shrug*
Sep. 5th, 2011 02:16 am (UTC)
Scary! You sound so brilliantly capable of handling the problems. I would have no idea what to do, and I'd be pretty lost, as I just manually back up data to thumb drives... not frequently (although I did this week!).

Elsewhere in the world of computers this weekend, I took my fifteen-year-old (no CD-drive, no USB-port, yes internal-dial-up-modem) laptop to be recycled at an e-waste drive/fundraiser. I spent a few hours carefully removing files and programs, setting up a new user profile and deleting my old one... and then got carried away and accidentally deleted the program that allows it to boot up at all. Oops. :-) Well, no one was really ever going to use it again, anyway; I was kidding myself. ;-)
Sep. 5th, 2011 03:33 am (UTC)
Well, you would have followed instructions and immediately set up the recovery tools so you didn't have to do all this! :-}

We have so much stuff that needs to be recycled, it's rather embarrassing.
Sep. 5th, 2011 02:23 am (UTC)
>""J? What the hell is J???""

The first thing that leaped to my mind at this question was: "J" is the designation for one of the major sources/authors of Hebrew Scripture, as understood by modern Biblical study.

Trivia! :-)
Sep. 5th, 2011 03:34 am (UTC)
Frighteningly enough, that thought actually occurred to me. Though I ended up preferring brainiacfive's suggestion that the Men In Black were trying to contact me. :-D
Sep. 5th, 2011 05:23 am (UTC)
Oh, I like that! Yes, see, Jay was supposed to be there, in your house, to receive the communication via your computer, but something went wrong, and as he wasn't there at the right time to give the right response, they covered their tracks by destroying your computer.

Or maybe Jay was there, and you've just had your memory flashed away.

(I remember liking the cartoon version of Men In Black best. Today lacks good cartoons like that; it's sad.)

Kudos to Brainiacfive. :-)
Sep. 5th, 2011 01:46 pm (UTC)
Ouch - yeah, that does sound like a mess. Especially with the no-optical-drive trend of recent portable computers. Had enough experiences of fatal crashes, with and without backups (once a popped circuit breaker trashed my file system, once I had a physical drive crash, more than once an older laptop at school got borked), that having a PC without an image and weekly backups is just no longer an option for me.

Actually, the netbook issue strikes me as something of a crowbar-inside-the-box problem: how is the OS going to get installed?
Sep. 5th, 2011 01:51 pm (UTC)
The sort-of-hilarious thing about that is that all the tutorials and stuff refer to using the "reinstall disk that came with the Asus," as if there were such a thing. Which, in the case of mine, there wasn't. Apparently they didn't think of that until the second generation. *eyeroll* I guess the presumption is that of course you would have a USB external CD drive.

I actually haven't had a fatal crash like this in at least a decade, so I guess my luck had to run out sometime. Especially since I've weathered other viruses with no more than inconvenience. Which of course spoiled me and made me complacent. Not a mistake I'll be making again!
Sep. 5th, 2011 02:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah, sometimes people will forget about things like that. It's only just about now that there are feasible alternatives to CD drives (flash drives, affordable external hard drives, and the like), and even so, the CD or the DVD is still the standard software delivery system for anyone who doesn't have reliable heavy-duty broadband.

Like back in the day, when Apple decided that the floppy was obsolete about six or seven years before it actually was, and sold an iMac with no feasible method of getting a file off the computer?
Sep. 5th, 2011 02:26 pm (UTC)
Dumb question: system image?
Sep. 5th, 2011 02:49 pm (UTC)
Windows 7 thing. You store a backup of the way your system is set up, so that when you do a recovery you don't have to redo all your settings, reinstall software, etc.

I've actually belatedly realized I probably did have one, as the default for the scheduled file backup includes it. I think maybe my recovery would have found it if I'd told it to install the USB driver and thus mount the external drive the backup was stored on. *facepalm* I tried practically every other driver, and that didn't occur to me. Duh.

Edited at 2011-09-05 02:54 pm (UTC)
Sep. 5th, 2011 03:12 pm (UTC)
Ah. Thanks.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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