11 July 2005
This weekend, my father had a computer problem. Since there’s a rule about computer nerds being help desk support for everyone they know, he asked me to help him. (To be fair, though, I did build the machine for him. Nor did I complain: he makes me dinner just about every week, and he’s my dad.) Windows would stop loading after a little while, then the machine would reboot.
I’m not sure what happened, but running chkdsk a couple times fixed the disk errors. If there’s a problem with booting, that’s one of the first things I’ll do. I love chkdsk! It’s solved a number of problems for me in the past.
When was the last time you checked your disk for errors?
Disk problems are always traumatic: a cpu, a videocard, RAM are all replaceable if they break, but a disk isn’t; a disk has valuable data on it: pictures, video, documents, spreadsheets, music… I always get a little nervous dealing with disk issues. That and BIOS settings.
When was the last time you backed up your data?
Running chkdsk finally made it bootable, but it looked like some parts of the registry were reset, and some system libraries went missing. So then I did a System Restore. God bless System Restore! Just about everything went back to normal after System Restore. There were only a few things to fix after that: Outlook.pst was corrupt (no problem: there’s a tool to fix that, but let me know where the tool is in the damn dialog! I shouldn’t have to search my hard drive to find the tool. But it’s ok, Microsoft, you gave me chkdsk and System Restore, so you’re off the hook… this time.) and Norton Antivirus was going insane with stupid-ass dialogs every minute.
Only one app to reinstall: not bad. So I uninstall, I get an error. [Something I screwed up when I made the machine was keeping his old drive in the machine, so the new disk got assigned F:. I didn't notice until Windows was totally installed, but by then it was too late. However, everything has worked just fine. Everything except for Norton Antivirus. I had to be called in to install the damn thing when he first bought it. I had to use subst.exe to do it.] I tell the uninstaller to ignore the error. I restart. I reinstall, using the hack discussed in the aside. I restart. Still gives me the stupid-ass dialogs. I give up trying to solve it myself and go to Symantec’s support page. The message was something to the effect of, “I can’t my Instant Messenger virus scanning service.” The first thing on their support page is to disable the service, so I open up “the Integrator“. Oh wait, something’s wrong: can’t even load the f’ing gui. (I’m guessing The Integrator is what the programmers call their main window, because that’s what shows up on the error dialog. And it’s an appropriate name: there’s like 50 executables to this piece of shit app.)
What’s their solution for that? You guessed it: uninstall. But I have to remove every Symantec product. So I start removing: 2 reboots to do that. Finally, we’re clean of Symantec products. I was tempted to leave it at that, but my father wants the peace of mind of an antivirus, so I carry on. I install Norton Antivirus…again. I reboot…again. I update it…again. I get the stupid-ass dialog…again. This time the Integrator loads, though, so I disable the shit-ass IM detection service and stop following the steps after that.
The really bad thing about this is Norton expects normal people to be capable of this. Granted: this is an extraordinary situation, but the uninstall should uninstall everything. And a reinstall should be able to fix the problem. Also, you should be able to install the damn thing on a non-standard drive letter. Bitches.
Raise your hand if you can’t wait for Microsoft to write an antivirus.
Norton Antivirus, if you were a person, I’d kick you in the nuts. Really hard.