Ask Leo! #392 – The problem with system restore discs, live CDs and keyloggers, legalese and more…


The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** Featured

Why I'm not a fan of System Restore *discs*

My Acer laptop was running perfectly fine until one day I was infected with Live Security Platinum "scareware". So I went through a lot trying to get rid of it. Everything from using anti-malware programs to removing it manually, but it kept coming back. So, I finally decided to "Restore system to factory defaults" (my laptop does this from a hidden partition).

By the way, my OS is Windows 7 Home Premium.

Anyway, after everything was installed and the whole process finished, my laptop went to the login screen (you know when you have to pick a user profile if there is more than one). For some reason, the profile I created during the restore process was disabled; it said something like "User profile disabled. Please see System Administrator." And there was also another profile with no picture (the box was there for the profile pic, but no pic) and there were boxes to type in both a user name and password.

Nothing I tried worked and after not finding any answers online, I gave up and restored my system once more. This time, after everything installed, I can log on to my profile now, but there are still problems. Every now and then, Windows Explorer crashes or sometimes, I see the desktop then the screen goes completely black aside from the mouse pointer. Then, after a few minutes, the desktop comes back with a bunch of error messages, but after dismissing them, everything runs fine. Everything except for Internet Explorer, of course, which is now slow and has trouble loading web pages and sometimes only loads half the page or can't load the page at all, even though I still have an internet connection. Sometimes, I even get an iexplorer.dll error (I occasionally get other .dll errors, but I can't remember them).

And here is the final and weirdest problem. When I turn on the computer after Windows loads up at the login, there is a circle with a line that looks like it supposed to be a clock and under it says two min. No matter how many times I reboot, it stays there but it wasn't there before I restored.

Is it possible that something went wrong in the restore process or is there some other problem or problems?

*

Wow.

It's really difficult to say exactly what's gone wrong here.

I have a couple of suspicions, one of which is probably evident by the title of this article, but in reality it could be many different things. It could be anything from, as you say (and I suspect) a bad restore, to something that's causing malware to reappear, to even coincidental hardware problems.

For anything short of hardware, though, my recommended approach will be the same.

Continue reading: Why I'm not a fan of System Restore *discs*
http://ask-leo.com/C5843

* * *

*** Answercast

Answercast #55 - Illegal paths, unresponsive scripts, Live CDs, slow printing, keeping backups and more...

Do you wonder about a long-term backup solution? Worried about a hacked Facebook account or a roaring computer? Curious about illegal paths and unresponsive scripts? All that and more in this Answercast from Ask Leo!

Listen

Continue reading: Answercast #55 - Illegal paths, unresponsive scripts, Live CDs, slow printing, keeping backups and more...
http://ask-leo.com/C5837

Does using a Linux Live CD protect me from keyloggers on public computers?
I do need to point out that there's never going to be an absolute "safe" when using a public computer. You'll see why in a moment.
Continue reading: Does using a Linux Live CD protect me from keyloggers on public computers?
http://ask-leo.com/C5838

Why does printing take so long to start?
There are a lot of different things that can impact the printing process, everything from large graphics to disk overload.
Continue reading: Why does printing take so long to start?
http://ask-leo.com/C5839

My Facebook account was hacked. How do I get it back?
Free online services do not provide any customer support. So, my recommendation is essentially not a very pleasant one.
Continue reading: My Facebook account was hacked. How do I get it back?
http://ask-leo.com/C5840

Is there a backup solution that will keep files I delete forever?
Set up your own system and backed up files will be kept as long as you keep them. It's totally in your control.
Continue reading: Is there a backup solution that will keep files I delete forever?
http://ask-leo.com/C5841

Why does my computer sound like it's running away sometimes?
What this normally means is that there is some software on your computer that is essentially trying to hog all the CPU.
Continue reading: Why does my computer sound like it's running away sometimes?
http://ask-leo.com/C5842

Can I prevent something from being forwarded by adding a legal statement to my message?
Ultimately, I think the best thing to do is realize that it can be forwarded regardless of what technology you use.
Continue reading: Can I prevent something from being forwarded by adding a legal statement to my message?
http://ask-leo.com/C5844

What does "the path is not of a legal form" mean?
I can't really answer where it's coming from or even what to do about it, but I can talk about what it means for a path to be of a legal form.
Continue reading: What does "the path is not of a legal form" mean?
http://ask-leo.com/C5845

How can I retrieve some photos on a failed hard drive?
This disk is definitely on the verge... in fact, it's probably over the verge. Clearly, you can't get your data off of it and recovery options are limited.
Continue reading: How can I retrieve some photos on a failed hard drive?
http://ask-leo.com/C5846

What should I do when my browser tells me a script is unresponsive?
This is usually a side effect of JavaScript taking longer than the browser expects and it's probably worth while letting them continue to try for a while.
Continue reading: What should I do when my browser tells me a script is unresponsive?
http://ask-leo.com/C5847

Can I use this other Windows XP Setup Disk on a different computer?
It's certainly worth a try, but there are a few possibilities that may cause it to fail.
Continue reading: Can I use this other Windows XP Setup Disk on a different computer?
http://ask-leo.com/C5848

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Word o' the Week

scareware

Scareware is a form of malware that is designed to scare you into taking some action that further damages or infects your computer or costs you money.

Most common forms of scareware display a list of infections supposedly on your computer and inform you that you need to purchase the "full version" to remove them. In fact, the infections are completely fake and are listed only to intimidate you into handing over money. Whether or not the software that you purchase actually does anything at all is debatable, but it's not uncommon for this program to then contain even more malware.

Word o' the Week features a computer term or acronym taken from the Ask Leo! Glossary. If there's a word you're not sure of and would like to see defined, click here to let me know.

*** Thoughts and Comments

Thanks to a friend's recommendation I recently started using Remember The Milk - a task managing service that, like so many these days, operates cross-platform. It integrates well with my Google calendar and has applications that run on my Android phone as well as my Amazon Kindle.

We'll see if it helps me remember a few things a little better.

I'm a big fan of GMail and many of Google's applications, but my use of Remember The Milk (RTM) came about because Google's own Task Manager integrated with GMail is so ... well, I'll just say underwhelming. I really expected more.

Fortunately, that's what I got with RTM.

Now, if only someone would pull together a decent cross-platform, cross-application contact manager that integrated well with ... well, with everything, I'd be a happy camper.

It seems like address books and contact managers are the final frontier when it comes to online services. I've not yet found one that I can really say, "Yes, that's it!".

My current solution? GMail's address book. And that only because it shows up on my phone, and I can synchronize it (sort of) with my primary email solution, Thunderbird.

I swear, there's an opportunity out there for someone to solve this.

'till next time...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom
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