Entropy Central Held Hostage: Day 11.
Desktop PC still at the shop. found traces of viruses on the bootable drive, but I do scan regularly and with the situation of how I experienced the crash, I think a virus is not likely the cause. More likely the boot sector was corrupted by the abnormal shut down.
Data Doctors has been charged with the recovery task, something I'm starting to wish I had just taken on my self to do. Got a call from them this afternoon. My video card, which was working just fine before the crash, apparently was smoking when they tried to start up the system. It does look like some serious electrical overstress on the package of one of the power MOSFETs resident on the board. Having worked in the industry, I can recognize some of these things. The question I can't answer is how it happened. The component is in the middle of the board and it would have needed some serious current to damage the package and not just the silicon inside.
In any event, now I have some new questions. Did the video card cause the whole flap? Did the people supposedly fixing the problem damage the board? I have no reason to believe that, but there is always that doubt.
I did buy a new 500 gig hard drive to transfer the contents of the old one with bad sectors. The majority of my data should be salvaged. And, the good news is that I got some of my more urgent files off the image--grades for the classes I'm teaching, my web site offline directory, my Cactus Wren contracts, and other assorted items. The one thing I didn't find yet was my shared drive which held my NaNoWriMo novel's 5200 words, my customized David Gerrold spreadsheet, and the most up-to-date copy of my short ficiton tracking spreadsheet. Don't leave anything in a shared folder. Share the whole hard drive so you can see where your files live.
Getting back to viruses, I exchanged some emails with Jerry Pournelle, who is always up to date on all the PC goings on. He used to write a column in Byte magazine back in the day. Anyway, one perk of belonging to SFWA and hanging out in the lounge on sff.net is that a guy like that might actually recognize my name. Jerry and I have had occasional discussions on sff.net, including one on scouting.
I asked Jerry for his recommendation and he says that anymore, he only uses Microsoft Security Essentials. Which, I should point out, is free so long as you own a legitimate copy of Windows. Since I am very unhapy with Norton and with McAfee, I decided to give MSE a shot. So far so good. Cleaned 3 trojans off the computer the kids use attached to some of my daughter's mp3 music files.