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March 18, 2015

“Why don’t you write a book about…”

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

The other day I got a phone call from my mum. She wanted to get rid of this nasty program on her computer and it just wouldn’t uninstall.

I walked her through the paces. Lamentably, I could not remove the nasty program over the phone. So I told her to hire someone who would sit there and kill the thing.

The big problem with unwanted software (which has been a topic on this blog) is that you invite it in yourself. You’re too quick to click the Install button and you fail to notice the little check mark that says, “Also install this web-browser-hijacking pain-in-the-rump piece-of-poo utility that you don’t need?”

By granting the program permission, you allow it to embed itself deeply into the computer system. You clicked OK, or the Allow button in the User Account Control. Thunk. The software is installed and it’s not going anywhere.

“Could there be a class action lawsuit against these guys,” asked my mom.


I believe cases did go to court, and the malware makers proved that by allowing the malicious code ti be installed, people granted permission. It’s like inviting a guy with a racoon mask into your house to spend the night, but also showing him where you keep the jewelry and giving him permission to “borrow” it. That’s a tough case to prove your innocence.

“Then you need to write a book on how to get rid of this software,” she said.

On that topic I paused.

The problem with writing a tech book on anything is that it’s mankind’s present instinct to look up a problem on Google instead of considering the purchase of a fine, professional-crafted tome of well-written text. Of course, if you’ve faced the unwanted software problem, you know that the Google search results in page after page of “solution” that simply urges you to get such-and-such removal software to cure the problem.

Ah yes: The solution of trading one problem for another, or sometimes ending up with two problems.

Back in the old days, I remember when the web page solutions were actual steps you would take to remove an unwanted program; you didn’t need to download any “free” utility. But those days are gone, which my mom pointed out would make a book all the more necessary.

So I replied to the question by asking a question of my own: “Did you look for a book when you had this problem, or did you search Google?”

Ah. So Mom gets the point. People aren’t trained to use books, which is why I’m not out there madly writing books on vital topics, and having those books sell like hell.

My book Troubleshooting & Maintaining Your PC All-In-One Desktop Reference For Dummies (which is also my longest title) does cover how to remove unwanted programs in a sober set of steps. It’s an older title, but the solution still works. Perhaps an eBook update might be in order, but until people are trained to look for a solution in a book and not on Google, it’s an option that sits squarely on one of my back burners.


  1. The easiest way to deal with virus software for elderly people or non-techy people is to use a Mac or Linux. Seriously you should just buy your mom a Mac. I want to get my mom a Mac but I cant afford one.

    As for removing malware, it is extremely difficult and tedious for even experts. Sometimes it is impossible as it permanently damages your system if your remove it. Here is a video from a guy I know on how difficult it is to remove malware:

    Also, what do you think of the new MacBook? Isnt that thing a joke?

    Comment by BradC — March 18, 2015 @ 1:39 pm

  2. I think she has a Mac, but they don’t use it. They’re addicted to the games that come on the PC. What she really needs is to dump the computer and get a tablet. I mean, have a computer if you need a word processor, but that system doesn’t need to be connected to the Internet.

    Fortunately the malware wasn’t as malicious as the cigarette-wielding beard guy mentions in the video. In fact, I just noticed my son’s PC was compromised with the same annoying program I had accidentally installed two weeks ago. It was quite simple to remove the vexing program.

    Comment by admin — March 18, 2015 @ 2:14 pm

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