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Snakebit Friend (Rant)
Old 04-07-2014, 10:12 PM   #1
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Snakebit Friend (Rant)

I just gotta vent a little bit about my snakebit friend. No, he did not get bit by a snake, I am being figurative, of course. But he is the friend to which all kinds of weird things happen, mainly with his PC. And I have become his personal Help Desk, often making house calls to fix his PC's problems all the time. Once in a while, he can figure things out on his own. Once in a while, I can describe how to fix the problem via email (if he retains email access, sometimes that's the problem) or over the phone. He has a minor speech impediment so understanding him on the phone is sometimes tough.

But he can rarely go more than a month or two without something stupid happening to him or his PC which I have to fix, often with a visit. His PC is fairly new, he bought it in late 2012 and it has Windows 8. It lacks a Start Menu which I became tired of so I found a Start Menu program (ClassicShell) which gave him back a Start Menu. (I hope this is not the cause of his latest problems). My system is Windows 7 so I am not that familiar with the unique things of Win 8.

His email has become very slow and it takes many attempts to send one out since I was last at his place last Thursday when I fixed a few things such as the Start Menu. He has been getting popups with those fake spyware "Scans" with those "Click Here to Fix Your PC" windows he can't get rid of or get rid of easily. Everything was working fine last Thursday. So, why do all these stupid things always happen to him time after time after time, especially after I visit? I don't want to go to his place every week to fix the latest dumbass things which happen to him. It is like he has a sign on his back which says, "PC problems, KICK ME HARD!"

I am simply running out of patience with him and his endless PC problems he always asks me to fix. I told him I'll go to his place next week so he will just have to put up with these problems until then. Or he has to find someone else to help him once in a while. Or he should learn how to fix some of these things himself and not be so reliant on me.

rant over.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:17 PM   #2
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You may be the one who is snakebit.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:30 PM   #3
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Sounds like he doesn't have or doesn't use anti-virus software. Can you set him up in a VM, so he can browse dangerously, which he seems unwilling to change, and then get a fresh new VM each time he borks up the old one.
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Old 04-07-2014, 11:44 PM   #4
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I agree with Steelyman. As long as you keep fixing things for him, he's going to keep having problems and asking you to fix them for him and he will never learn how to fix these problems himself.
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Old 04-08-2014, 12:19 AM   #5
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I'm not in anyway a computer expert, as it quit being fun fixing folks computers a long time ago.

There is no place like 127.0.0.1

Install MVPS Host file on the computer. You need to have admin privileges as it replaces the regular host file. You can read the faq to get up to speed.

Your computer hits the host file as a look up table for where to go on the internet. The file is updated 2 or 3 times a year but once a year or so is fine.

127.0.0.1 is the waste bin, dead end, going no where.
The names of all known scammer/junk sites are listed to go to 127.0.0.1
Say good bye to many ads, pop ups, etc. I'm amazed upon seeing the junk most folks think is normal on their computers.

This has helped several coworkers who were constantly rebuilding their family computers.
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Old 04-08-2014, 02:04 AM   #6
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My mom does that except she lives 400 miles from me and I have to troubleshoot by phone. Somethings I can help. Others, I can't. Troubleshooting remotely can be frustrating, especially, when she's calling me at odd hours.
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Old 04-08-2014, 04:29 AM   #7
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The malware is in several places. Probably in system restore, too. These things are difficult to eradicate. The time you put into this is not rewarded, so best to find him other support. He should be running with reduced privileges.
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Old 04-08-2014, 05:51 AM   #8
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I get this from my parents, who just don't get the basics of how the computer operates, making it difficult to help over the phone. This actually gets me out of it because we live over an hour away and I can't just hop over there any time they need help. We often end up with "call your local computer fix-it store." I still get to help them with their smart phones at visits.
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Old 04-08-2014, 06:35 AM   #9
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Aren't there a few good "PC Anywhere" type softwares that a "helper" can access one's friend's computer remotely?

Doesn't make the problem go away, but at least you can fix it from your living room. My experience is that the problems that newbies have are most often very simple issues....I'd hate to get out of my jams, drive 10 miles only to find that the user just had to hit "esc" or something.

Same for smartphones.
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Old 04-08-2014, 07:25 AM   #10
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There is no place like 127.0.0.1

Install MVPS Host file on the computer. You need to have admin privileges as it replaces the regular host file. You can read the faq to get up to speed.
Sounds like an interesting solution for families with kids who F*** up their PCs. I'm a bit worried about my grand kids who will want to mess with mine in a few years. I will have to start locking it down which I don't bother with now. Probably a useful exercise anyway.
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Old 04-08-2014, 07:33 AM   #11
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Tell him to buy a Mac.
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:21 AM   #12
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I think all of us who know a little bit about computers have experienced this. I wish I had a nickel for every time I had to format-hard-disk-and-reload-Windows after my teenage kids got their respective machines hosed with malware.

Alas. There's no great solution. The closest, I think, is what Dash mentions... tell your friend to go buy a Mac.
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:35 AM   #13
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Tell him to buy a Mac.
+1 on the Mac
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:41 AM   #14
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Scrabbler,

As the saying goes, "No good deed goes unpunished" as in being a known computer geek around your circle of friends and family

I feel you pain, as I've been also. Usually, I don't mind but it does depend on the person your trying to help. Some get confused between a router and a hard drive, and for them the solution is to pass the buck out of frustration or say, "OK...I"ll pay a visit" rather than attempting over the phone.

That said, if you can't say no to your friend, check out a freebie remote desktop sharing program called "Teamviewer."

TeamViewer - Free Remote Control, Remote Access & Online Meetings

It's easy to use and effective.

I've used that a few times to see the other person's desktop rather than having to make a long trip.

(Or you might tell your friend you need cash for gas money to work on his computer, then like magic , he may say that he no longer needs computer help )
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:58 AM   #15
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:45 AM   #16
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Another suggestion I'd make is to after "fixing" the computer one more time to (with his permission of course) make a good image of the hard drive. At least then when the next time he needs help, at least you can easily go back to when the computer was last working fine.

But of course, this may be more involved as one really wants but it's a matter of saving your own time and aggravation if you do decide to be his computer help desk.
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:56 AM   #17
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+1 on Teamviewer.

I use it to do remote upgrades and weeding on my 80y.o. mom's windows machine, and walk her thru some ocaisional instruction.

The danger is she knows I can at least try to fix something, and won't attempt to learn herself. I give her a pass for age and temperment, I wouldn't do that more than once for a normally capable adult.
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:00 AM   #18
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I've used Teamviewer as well with my mother - works great and it's free
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:11 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panacea View Post
I get this from my parents, who just don't get the basics of how the computer operates, making it difficult to help over the phone. This actually gets me out of it because we live over an hour away and I can't just hop over there any time they need help. We often end up with "call your local computer fix-it store." I still get to help them with their smart phones at visits.

Yep, same here, though I guess I had it coming to me since I am the one who convinced him to buy an IPad. He is always messing it up. One time he called said it wasn't working only for me to figure out over the phone he "nuked" it. He doesn't even know what or how he did it. Heck I had to go online to figure out how to nuke my iPad before trading it in, and he did it on his own and didn't even know he did it.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:19 AM   #20
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I'm not a Mac guy, but this is a case where your friend needs to buy a Mac.

Barring that, tell him to stop watching porn, and to stop any and all installs of anything. He must have antivirus software installed. AVAST is one of many free ones that does OK.

I've found the best way to fix this is to reinstall Windows and start fresh. It is very hard to get rid of this ad-ware. First thing on is an antivirus program. But that isn't the be-all end-all anyway.

Finally, I want to say it is easy to get duped into installing this junk. I'm pretty PC-aware, but I once got bit. I was installing a program I've used many times and accidentally installed from CNET's repository instead of the programmer's. CNET used to be clean, but now it will add an install of a bunch of this "helper junk" if you install from them. Beware. It is very easy to accidentally install this garbage.
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