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My History is History October 7, 2010

Posted by Peter Varhol in Uncategorized.
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Unlike many tech people who came of age in the days of DOS, I don’t typically tinker with computers for the sake of learning, or for the fun of it.  I’ve always had work that was enabled by computers, and buried myself in the details of operating systems and hardware only when it was essential for that work, or when I had a system or application problem that I had to overcome.  In the 1990s, I dissembled and built more than my share of PCs, but there was always a purpose behind it.

My old but still capable laptop computer (dual core Intel CPU running at 1.8 GHz, 2 GB of memory) acquired a Trojan horse shortly before I left on my first of three trips in three weeks.  It was one of the fake antispyware Trojans, whose goal is to get you to pony up your credit card to by nonexistent software (and possibly use the number and fake purchase for identity theft).  I fortunately didn’t bite on that part, but I’m still stuck with the Trojan.

I don’t use an automated backup system (my bad), but I make frequent copies of working files to separate remote drives.  What I have lost, at least for the time being, is all of my Outlook email and contact archives.  It’s a significant loss, but it’s not the end of the world.  I fortunately bought a new laptop, and was already in the process of gradually moving over to use it as my primary computer.

I may or may not be able to recover the Outlook files on this system.  In any case, Microsoft makes transfers of .PST files saved in one version of Outlook impossible to read with another version (in my case, Outlook 2007 to Outlook 2010), so I may have faced that loss anyway.  In a limited and hurried effort between business trips last weekend, I may have made things worse.

I should feel fortunate that this is only my second virus ever, and my first in almost fifteen years.  While I learn a bit more about computers in working through problems such as this, I prefer my tools to work the way they’re supposed to.

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