The blog below was originally published in Soles of Silk's Column section. It was archived and then republished here in 2016.
Wow, what a last couple of weeks here in computer land. Not only did I manage to get a adware virus, but I also had an error with the Service Pack 3 update totally kill my system. I was so ready to wave the white flag and find a way to buy a Mac again. I didn't do that, however, and was able to pull through. This is why this week's update is being posted a day later than normal.
This whole ordeal began with the adware. While online I had a prompt to install some Active X content so my Window Media Player could play a file. Well, my dumb ass thought it was a Microsoft prompt, but it was not. After I allowed the download, I was now in the land of pop up windows telling me I had a virus and I needed to download this particular virus program. Now, I was stupid enough to allow the Active X to install, but I wasn't dumb enough to fall for the fact that I needed that software. Obviously the company who produced this adware/virus was also selling the program that "fixed" it. I really despise dumb asses who do things like this.
Once I got the adware out of my computer, I had a prompt to upgrade my Service Pack 2 to Service Pack 3. In the middle of the download, it stopped, telling me I had an error that wouldn't allow the download to complete. Apparently, some of the files did install and my operating system seemed to be in a funk with the mismatched files. I tried to go back and reinstall, but my Windows Installer would not function. I kept getting messages telling me I didn't have access or I might be running in safe mode. Problem was, I do have access and I wasn't in safe mode.
I must have tried five techniques to remedy the Installer. With it in its present state I could not install, remove or update any program at all. It was quite annoying.
To make a long story short, I came to the conclusion that I was just going to reformat my hard drive. Simple, right? Nope. When trying to do so, I was given blue error screens with random code at the bottom. I wrote down the code and each time it was different. Of course, with Windows, those codes could mean about 25 things and since it wasn't the same code each time, I had about 75 possible causes to chase down.
Luckily I saw a post on a forum about switching a setting in the BIOS and I was able to reformat. With all my files backed up, I went for it.
I'm still changing little things to the system to get it back to the way it was before (minus the problems). I got all the graphics programs back and I'm ready to rock with the site here. Thanks for your patience and I hope none of you have to experience what I did above.