Posted by: digibirder | November 19, 2010

I don’t believe it!!

What a nightmare of a week!

I wanted to concentrate on getting things organised for my craft fair on Saturday, and I had hoped to have a practice run to see how all the stuff will fit on the table, as I’ve framed some images this time and I don’t really know how they will fit on the smallish table at the venue with all the previous goods. Anyway, there I was happily thinking that all this wouldn’t take too long when Keith informed me that something appeared amiss with his computer. He had been searching for something on the Internet and had visited what should have been a safe site, but obviously it had been hacked and something sinister has been downloaded.

Virus warning messages kept appearing from something purporting to be a virus scanner and it is also imitating Windows Update messages, encouraging to click a link which then leads you to a page to purchase said (fake) programme in order to remove the supposed infections (we clicked this link once – which was obviously one too many). AVG has been disabled, and cannot be reinstalled and it restricted access to Task Manager.

I immediately removed the network cable so that it was disconnected from the Internet, but messages keep appearing with false information that infected emails are being sent (with the usual request to click a link in order to solve this problem). The numbers of emails supposedly being sent are increasing each time, which is obviously fake as there is currently no connection.

I thought I would save time trying to eradicate this virus by reinstalling WindowsXP, as this was on my to do list anyway, but then hit problems with that operation as the install would not see all the 500GB drive. It was reporting it as 128GB and also did not show the other two partitions. I know there are limits to how much certain operating systems can read, but I must have found a way round this when I installed the drive in the first place. I can’t for the life of me remember what I did though! I didn’t want to risk formatting as I was unsure whether this would eradicate all the data off the other partitions. The hard drive is a SATA interface, so it needs some extra drivers that have to be put on a floppy disk from files on the motherboard CD, but that failed to work.

I also wondered whether it was the virus that was preventing me from doing this, so I logged on to Major Geeks and posted my dilemma and I have spent the past three days performing various scans and tests with anti-spyware and anti-malware tools. They are very good at helping, but it’s now becoming rather tiresome! I’ve since found other similar horror stories about this and associated viruses. Not good reading, but people have managed to get rid eventually. I did try one or two other fixes while waiting for the initial reply from Major Geeks, but only got so far. The browser continued to redirect to dodgy sites. Once this has been sorted I will be battening down the hatches with the most robust anti-virus and -spyware tools I can lay my hands on!!

So, I’ve been chained to the computer all week trying to sort this out, although I did have a bit of a break this morning as I had to get my photos framed for tomorrow’s craft fair. Everything is all packed up now and ready to go. I hope this fair is better attended by people with money to spend than the previous ones have been!

Yesterday, the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L USM lens that I am renting from Lenses for Hire arrived. I had a brief test run with it this morning, as I need to get to grips with it prior to my portrait workshop on Sunday. I also wanted to test this lens against my own lenses, as I have been having doubts about my ability to get sharp images. Certain images look OK in Lightroom or Photoshop, but since my intention is to upload some images to an online agency, I’ve been viewing them at 100% and they are not looking too good. Recent images taken with my recently acquired Canon 50mm f1.8 and Canon 70-200mm IS lenses seem a lot better, so I don’t know if it’s something to do with my Sigma lenses, or poor technique. Anyway, take a look at the examples below – they were just quick snaps of the garden and a brief portrait shoot with Keith – but I have done very little processing on these and I certainly haven’t had to sharpen them very much. I’ve also resized them a bit larger than I normally do. I had to watch my shutter speed as this lens does not have IS, but I think I’m impressed!! I really need to learn how to focus on the eyes when taking portraits, though. Perhaps I will get some tips on Sunday. And I have another workshop booked in December so that may provide some extra tips and tricks. Not sure what lens to try for that one, or whether to keep to my own collection.

Anyway, back to the virus-clearing.



  1. sorry about the virus!

    as discussed the 18-200 will never be killer sharp. surprised about the 10-20 I’ll send you a copy of one I took to see if you think that is sharp.

    the 24-70 looks good though 😀

  2. Oy, what a week! Here we have rent a geeks that I can luckily just bring the hard drive to for a relatively small fee. Otherwise I would lose my mind! What kind of camera do you use? These pics do seem sharper.

  3. Starr – I use a Canon 40D DSLR camera. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will be getting at least one Canon lens fairly soon, based on the results of these images.

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