View Full Version : Advice Sought

06-09-2005, 09:16 AM
Some of you will know that currently I am doing work experience as a computer tech, mainly to get practical experience (and also to supplement what I have learned in books).

I am wondering, what would you do in this situation:
Clients computer comes in, has heaps of spyware. Spent ages running every known spyware app and some anti-virus software over their computer.
Found approx 1500 traces (about 300+ actual spyware) and a few viruses.
Got it clean, bootup time increased sustantially. Tech who is keeping an eye on me (and teaching me various tricks of the trade) changed a BIOS setting which increased bootup time a bit more (not 100% sure what it was, I think it was the graphics memory allocation - I turned around for a second to check another computer and missed it :().
Anyway, computer was sweet, booted up fine. I noticed it was SP1 XP.

(Against my better judgement) I was told by the other tech in the workshop to put SP2 on it. I know some comps have an issue with SP2. This one did.
It now brings up a C:\$Mft is missing or corrupt error.
It won't boot into any mode other than VGA mode. Safe mode freezes. I have run chkdsk /r /p from recovery console, which does nothing.

Question: what would you do now (and no they won't uninstall SP2).
Question: is it standard practice to put SP2 onto a computer without first asking the customer if they want it?

mark c
06-09-2005, 09:40 AM
1. I'd get " the other tech" to fix it, and assert yr rights to look over his/her shoulder.

2. When an end user (I'm not a tech but an amateur enthusiast) brings a comp into the shop and says "fix it" then I'd think that putting on whatever is considered necessary to do that and keep it fixed is OK...........m :2cents:

P.S. Never had to take one to the shop. The charges are both frightening and understandable.

06-09-2005, 10:11 AM
I think it's right to stick with SP2 for a customer... it's after all the recommendation from MS.

But personally I wouldn't bother with my own machines. Heck I don't even apply patches - as long as I have adequate anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall cover nothing's going to go wrong.

06-09-2005, 10:15 AM
I have some answers you could try but the data will be at risk so won't post them till I have some more info
System specs:
MOBO, CPU, BIOS version etc

As for installing SP2 I always tell my customers that it should be installed but on 'rare' occasions can cause problems.
I wouldn't install it without asking first

06-09-2005, 10:18 AM
Every box that came through our hands had SP2 applied, right from the RC release.

Our customers thanked us that it was so easy to maintain afterwards.

I'd be inclined to use a slipstreamed copy of WinXP SP2 and install over the top. This would admittedly wipe the slate clean on the current user profiles, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Realistically, be honest with the customer. Tell them:
Look, we were setting up your PC with all the latest Security Updates from Microsoft to make you a less-likely target for viruses and crackers but it hasnt gone 100% and now doesnt boot right. This could be because of the existing spyware etc that was on there interfering, it could be yours is just one of the 1/1000 boxes that doesnt like it.
We're debating re-installing windows over the top of itself with these current updates. Itd cost an hour, but would also speed up the OS no end because it would give you a fresh user account, while still being able to keep all the old documents etc

Sorted ;)

Bear in mind I just woke up 10 minutes ago, re-word it as needed, but you get the general gist of the idea.

06-09-2005, 10:21 AM
Just saw the last post,

Here's where it comes in handy having an external 160GB HDD (They're only $120ish nowadays) and knowing how to boot Knoppix and backup the customers HDD, so you cant make things any worse than they already are. Done this once or twice and its saved my skin :D

06-09-2005, 10:32 AM
OK.. to add to the story:

[bartsdadhomer the computer is a Dell, about a year old, with 4 user profiles on it]... Im not there today (I only do Mon, Wed, Fri - Tues and Thur I jobhunt (to keep WINZ happy). This thread is to ask, what would others have done

Anyway, the rest of the story..... after the computer had been cleaned, and the SP2 install started; I had to go early, so asked the other tech (not the one keeping an eye on me, but the one who said to install SP2) to finish off the computer, as the customer (who knew I had been fixing it) was due to arrive the next day at 9am to pick it up.
He failed to test it, the customer picked it up, took it home, then promptly rang back to complain. So the computer was returned to be repaired.

I am highly annoyed because in this debacle my name has been (possibly) tarnished with the customer through the other tech not testing before it went out

06-09-2005, 10:46 AM
Honesty and integrity are the key.

Be straight up with the customer. It may mean that you do an hours unbilled work because the PC was made worse, without first consulting the client about taking the action of updating it.

06-09-2005, 10:48 AM
i would do a repair install with a XPsp1 cd. this will revert it back to sp1. hopefully pc will be fully working so you can then find why the sp2 failed. if dealing with previously infected pc's make sure everything is fixed and is working perfectly before updateing to sp2. also check for any os intergrated software that isn't sp2 friendly. i usualy uninstall any firewalls and antivirus and disable any spyware protection before updateing.

06-09-2005, 11:17 AM
4 Profiles yuk!
Although it's great for the income!
Did you perform the clean out on each profile individually?
Cleaning out one profile will never clean the whole machine, each one has to be done.
Effectively turning the job into a very time consuming one
I love it when they come in with 6 or 7 accounts on them

Sounds like you m8 is a bit of a toss though.
Maybe you should have his job!

06-09-2005, 11:31 AM
Sounds like you m8 is a bit of a toss though.
Maybe you should have his job!I often think the same thing :p
But then, after getting an inside view of the place, I am not 100% sure I would accept if they did offer me one. If I did, I would do it for the money (unemployment benefit sux when you trying to raise dependents)

And yeah, each profile was cleaned

06-09-2005, 11:35 AM
I wouldn't install SP2 unless they asked for it or it "needed" it. Only reason I can think of to need it would be if they had no SP at all and it had some issue.
As you are the work experience person and they are the techs it is their responsibilty - not yours.
You could recommend to the customer that it have a clean install - retrieve their data or get them to - I usually retrieve it for them (with no guarantees I get every last thing).
As for your name being tarnished - thats a risk you get working for someone else. I was unlucky enough to work for PC Gear (Akld) - but I managed to escape before it went competely to the dogs.
So long as you keep your scruples and don't do anythuing you wouldn't do if it was your own business - then its the company that gets the bad rep not you personally. Well, in theory anyway.

06-09-2005, 11:44 AM
You could recommend to the customer that it have a clean install - retrieve their data or get them to - I usually retrieve it for them (with no guarantees I get every last thing).
I think thats what they are doing today, installing XP with SP2 already on it, then transferrring settings and data

06-09-2005, 02:01 PM
I don't install SP2 untill I have explained to the customer why it needs to be done,the potential outcome (Only had a couple that fell over after installing SP2) and I charge extra for it...

Service $80
Service on machine with multiple accounts $120
Install SP2 and all patches released since SP2 $40

The exception is if I do an install (clean or dirty) I use a SP2 XP cd.If its a format and install then they get SP2 and patched right up to date,plus a raft of security programs installed....

06-09-2005, 02:32 PM
I would have sold Nod32 and apllied SP2, no SP2 no gaurantee how long the fix would last.

Graham L
06-09-2005, 02:34 PM
"Lost all your data, Mr Customer?

That should be no problem.

You have got a backup, haven't you?

Oh dear." :D :cool:

06-09-2005, 04:09 PM
lol the back up thing was funny... my old comp (my dad has that one now and i have a new one hehehe) did not like sp2 at all... lol it crashed about half way through the install and wouldnt start up in any mode so i formatted and re installed windows didnt lose a thing though cuz it was just me and my sister's comp so all it had was a couple school things