January 31st, 2008


Working in IT is a bit like being the one friend who owns a pickup truck.

You know how that goes?  If you're the one friend with a truck, you'll inevitably get hit up to help your friends and acquaintances move.  When you're in IT, you find yourself not only supporting your business users, but getting hit up for answers and help with their personal machines.

I try to be friendly about it and answer their questions as best I can.  Once in a while, if they offer me money, I'll even take on some repair work.

After this week, I'm beginning to rethink the latter.  One of the staff offered me fifty bucks to deal with "a virus" on his laptop.  Of course, it wasn't so much a virus as a really, really vile piece of malware.  So vile, in fact, that nothing I could do would take it out.  I even downloaded a couple of utilities that aim specifically at that particular type of malware and even they couldn't get the last traces off the machine.

After more hours than I intended, I realized there was no way I could clean the machine and I was at the point where, on a work PC, I'd just format the bastard and start over.  I ran that by co-worker, explaining all the details as best as I could (yes, I'll preserve your files, no I won't reinstall AIM and Yahoo Messenger, that's for you to do) and he agreed to it.

(Also, by reinstalling, I could put XP Pro on the machine instead of XP Home.  I've not dealt much with the Home version of the software, and what little exposure I've had is nerve-wracking.  The things they crippled for no apparent reason make my head asplode.)

So, last night, I did the reinstall.  Got things up and running just fine.  Reloaded the drivers, everything was hunky-dory.

Except that I couldn't get his Windows Firewall to turn on.  Something failed in the install.  I couldn't activate the service, nor the Security Center service for that matter.  I tried all manner of fixes and finally got some semblance of the Firewall up and running.


I'm fairly sure that for the amount of work I put into this machine, I made about seven dollars an hour fixing it.  Maybe less.  But it did pay for most of my new license tag.