September 3, 2013 by thesoapalchemist
This post was originally shared in 2012
As much as I try to limit myself to the humble craft of natural soap making, tricky little buggers like computer viruses and malware are training me to moonlight as a forensic computer guru. If only soap and water worked as well on computer viruses as they do on the biological ones!
My latest attack came yesterday at 2:17 pm, when I opened an email from the president of a respected aromatherapy association. She had attached a pdf file, and a link to a well known essential-oil-expert’s blog. I would expect a large and well-respected organization to have firewalls and virus protection, and to not be littering the web world with malware. So, I opened the pdf. Then I clicked on the link.
Within seconds, my computer screen displayed a large windows-like box titled “System Control Panel”, with four areas of concern: Computer Status, System Drive Status, System Registry tatus, RAM Memory Status. There was a button in the lower right corner saying “Start Scanning PC.” When I attempted to check my firewall or close the browser– or anything at all, new windows warning of critical data loss, critical temperature, Hard Drive failure, etc., popped up. It was quite chaotic. All I wanted to do was learn about essential oils, and now my computer seemed to be toast.
Not knowing any better– I mean, System Restore is a legitimate Windows program that will help restore your computer to a previous state in case of issues…– I went ahead and clicked “Scan.” Then another large white box appeared, with the characteristic blue Windows border that said “System Restore” on the top left side, and said “Scan PC for errors” at the top. It outlined 4 areas of vulnerability, including My Computer, HDD, RAM, and OS Registry. . It looked A LOT like an authentic windows box. But something just didn’t look right.
I would never expect a REAL Windows program to have “click here to activate full functional version” in the lower left corner. And, it just didn’t seem like my computer could possibly go from working just fine, to having no memory, a ruined hard drive, and registry problems without the help of….. A VIRUS!
Instead of clicking anything else, I turned off the computer at the power strip. Attempts to reboot my computer resulted in plain blue screens with nothing to click; there were no icons, no options – I couldn’t do anything. The Start button still appeared in the bottom left corner of the screen, but clicking it just opened the normal start window, with NO ICONS in it.
If you have been infected by the Windows System Restore Virus, have no fear. Most likely, you can cure your computer. I have found a solution, and am now sharing it via the same computer that I thought was forever ruined.
The absolute best way to rid yourself of the System Restore Virus, is to use Bleeping Computer’s tutorial:
I tried another way first, including virus removal by malwarebytes.org (which is part of Bleeping Computer’s solution), but it is totally ineffective without the preparatory steps and follow up steps outlined by Bleeping Computer.
So many of the programs on the web that say they offer free scans and removal of viruses only prove to be total scams, no better than the virus creators themselves. SpywareDoctor and the like lead you through arduous download steps, and scanning steps, only to diagnose your problem and ask you to purchase their software to fix things. Hmmm– System Restore Virus tells you your computer is failing, runs a scan, diagnoses the issue, and then asks you to purchase their software to fix everything. Seems a bit similar…
If Spyware Doctor would disclose UP FRONT that you will not be cured without spending money, I bet many of their downloads wouldn’t even happen. I bet quite a few people get through the downloading process, and are just so frustrated at that point that they say, “Whatever…. I’ll just pay the dumb money and be done with this….”
DON’T be that person. There are free SOLUTIONS out there. Bleeping Computer’s solution works, and won’t cost you anything but time (about an hour for prep steps, 4 1/2 hours for scanning, and another 1/2 hour for follow up steps). Still, it’s cheaper than hiring a repairman, less frustrating and costly than dealing with Spyware Doctor, and it will allow you to fully use your computer again.
Everything they suggest is FREE. There are even links to the downloads you’ll need. And, it’s especially nice that there’s a forum available if you have questions or further issues.
Why reinvent the wheel when someone else has done it so well?
Nuf said. I gotta go make soap.
Best of luck!