Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


It’s all magic to them…

Filed under: Geek Work,GUI Center,MicroSoft,The Dark Side — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:35 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

My users think I’m a magician or a sorcerer.

Frankly, I’m not sure which is better.
In any case, this week I finally cleaned up the last remnants of some nastiness that one of my users got himself into. He followed a link from Google search results to what seemed like a perfectly legitimate blog. He was looking for some poetry reference in the Sex In The City movie. (Yeah, I know, I know. A big, tough oil industry service guy looking for poetry in a chick flick. Go figure!) Well, when he got to this blog, it had an embedded player with what it claimed was a clip from the movie. But, when he went to play the clip, it told him he needed to update his Flash player and provides a “helpful” link. That’s when all manner of unholiness broke loose on his computer.

Well, he got updated, all right. With spyware and virii. I lost count of how many and what kind there were. One changed his time and date format to include the text “VIRUS ALERT!!”, so that it appeared next to the time on his Taskbar. Another made his main hard drive, his “C” drive, disappear from his My Computer! And, at least one of these was the FakeAVAlert trojan, but I never did figure out which one scrambled his My Computer. The funny thing was, after running every anti-virus and spyware removal tool that I normally use, the drive was still hiding somewhere. But, he was running from that drive just fine! Well, I searched for a day or two, while doing the rest of my normal gig, but never could find why this had happened.
I did, however, find a fix. TweakUI from the Windows XP Power Toys. I loaded that on his computer then went in to it under the My Computer section and, sure enough, the local drive was shown as being hidden. I corrected that and **SHAZAM**!!
UPDATE: It occurred to me this morning, after posting, that I should let you all know how to fix the clock issue in more detail.  The setting is found in the Control Panel, under Regional Options, which is not quite intuitive.  Under Regional Options, choose Custom, then find Time and adjust the format per the screen instructions.  If you’re in Windows 2000, once Regional Options is open, choose the Time tab and adjust accordingly.

Yep, just like magic, I am.

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