If you missed Day 1 (Indiana to Iowa), you can read about the trip that Mark and I are taking. (The second part of this post covers some malware checking tips.)
Days 2 & 3
After two days of travel, Mark & I arrived (yesterday) at my folk's house in South Dakota. Yesterday's travel was around eight hours total, seven hours of it moving. The speed limit in Illinois is 65, 70 in Iowa, and 75 in South Dakota (one wonders if it would would continue if we kept going West ). The total mileage (including side trips) for the two days was 915 miles, approx 13 hours.
Mark remained patient throughout the trip aided by numerous combines harvesting, irrigation systems (sitting idle), and one Fire Engine video playing on the DVD player. He didn't take a nap but was in a good mood kept his nice temperament even when Grandpa and Grandma kept him up somewhat late. Mark got a rare treat by sleeping in a twin bed and new (to him) toys to accompany his slumber.
I wasn't able to post yesterday because there have been some issues with the computer here (more on that later). This morning started early, but since Grandpa Marv was up early, he took care of
spoiling feeding Mark breakfast (drinking yogurt from one of the kid-friendly cups). I arose around 9am (dawdling since I didn't hear anything disastrous) to find Mark sipping his yogurt while watching PBS Kids in his PJ's.
Today's planned activity was going to the Zoo. Even though the weather looked like this:
It was overcast and looked ugly, but the rain was past and we had the zoo to ourselves (actually we shared it with an abundance of wildlife, but you probably gathered that). When visiting the zoo with a three-year-old, you should be ready for surprised. The highlight for Mark was seeing the ducks and geese. He was not interested in the jumping kangaroos at all... He did show proper attention to the white Bengal tiger. I'll see if I can copy some images over. If so, I'll edit this post. In all we spent about two hours looking at the wonderful aviary, monkeys, waterfowl, and some big animals. He got to hear a donkey braying, chickens crowing and chirping, ducks and geese sounding, and lemur's shouting. He thought the gray foxes were 'cute and tiny' (ti-ny being two syllables).
We needed to awaken Mark from his nap today as the neighbor was getting a new sidewalk poured. Mark had slept for perhaps two hours (one can never tell when the playing stops can the sleeping begins) when the cement truck showed up. He had already missed the street sweeper/leaf sucker go by and I didn't want him to miss out on everything! Grandpa took a nap also (Grandma was off playing for a funeral) so felt encumbered to nap as well. This evening we got to see friends Chuck & Helen (they helped build our church in Indiana and were how we got introduced to Bethel Lutheran), Jean, and Mavone. Grandma finished the day by playing matching cards with Mark. He had a great time choosing three cards that would match to create a dump truck or police car. Tomorrow we eat breakfast with BZ and CZ, but that's another post.
Today I've been downloading and running virus and malware scanners on my folk's PC that I set up for them two years ago. I've put Mark to bed and think that I've figured out the problem. When searching, this computer would bring up a list of results that looked legitimate, but the sites that they linked to would be pay-per-click advertising. Some sort of nasty landed in the computer that subverted the search. When trying to download some of the tools to check and fix this, the web browser wouldn't permit browsing of these sites.
[grrrr....I'm retyping much of this part of the post due to the computer eating it...next time I won't click the spell-check button...]
Warning, geek stuff follows...
I suspected that there was an issue with DNS lookups because both Firefox and IE were having the same problems. Most sites would load fine but search sites would show incorrect results (sometimes using Google's Russian pages) and the links to AdAware and SpyBot Search & Destroy were not going through. When I encountered (and fixed) this problem six months ago (using Microsoft's Remote Assistance, which worked great!) I learned that I could get to those sites by using an IP address, but not directly.
Being present at the computer allowed me to download several spyware detection programs. Many different things were found (each program turning up different items), but the problem did not go away (despite the programs indicating successful removal of the offending files/reg entries). I finally discovered a helpful forum posting of a user with the same symptoms. In the end, I needed to go to my Network Settings, TCP/IP properties, and to set the DNS server to automatically be obtained from my IP. While the malware had been removed, the side effect of setting up a custom DNS server hadn't been reset and this trick was needed to make things right.
I did find two very good posts about deleting malware found on your computer.
- Boot into safe mode. This has the best chance of not loading any nasties along the way
- Run several free malware/adware/grayware checkers. I found each one works differently and looks for different things.
- Run a series of on-line malware checkers (adding to the variety of checks and increasing the potential of finding something)
- Turn off System Restore, reboot, turn ON System Restore. This will delete any old system restore points that will likely be corrupted by the malware that you just removed from your machine.
I hope this helps someone (perhaps me, the next time I need it) to clean an infected computer and perhaps save some time doing it.
Just for fun (and to allow me to compare later), here's my folk's speed chart from DSLReports:
Edit: another test from 2008 09 27