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Virus Nightmare - Lessons Learned

Aug 17, 2007
I got a virus the other day, Thursday I believe, and since then I have been making FRANTIC efforts to save all my info.

The most important thing for me to save are my Outlook Express emails and my Roboform passwords. That way I can at least access all the places I need, to download and re-install all the software I use.

Thankfully I was able to still access my Laptop and very, very slowly (the system was painfully slow because of the damge done by the virus) start a process of trying to save my system without having to reformat the whole disk. I say thankfully because after a virus attack not everyone is able to even access the system.

I tried anti-virus software, I attempted to fix things using the various "malicious advertising" expulsion applications (Ad-aware, Spybot etc.). All to no avail. After almost three days I resigned myself to the fact that it would have to be a re-format which means restoring my Laptop to factory settings. What a nightmare!

First of all I made a backup of my Outlook express email software, emails, account settings etc. For this I downloaded a great little free trial software application called Outlook Express Back Up Wizard. This software met by needs better than others I tried.

If you don't use Outlook Express then you can download others by searching here:

The I did a search for some backup software to back up the files that I could and also to use for future occasions. After trying a few that either wouldn't work on my system, or didn't back up to the medium that I wanted(CD Rom Discs) I found a great tool that just did the trick and in fact I plan to buy as soon as the free trial is up. The software is called "NTI Backup Now 4 Deluxe Suite" and it is so straightforward that even a tech dummy like me found it simple.

I added my Roboform passwords, my Internet Explorer favourites, my Outlook Express backup, my Microsoft Money backup files(For accounting purposes), as many software installation files as I had and most of the files and folders that I have used recently.

Of course what I also ralised is that I have not kept the Install files of loads of the software that I have on my Laptop. Bad mistake! This means that I will have to go search for these again to download to my reformatted system.

What I will do in future is save every Install file in it's own folder with passwords, serial numbers and any other useful info in a notepad file alongside them.

The hard lesson I have learned is to make sure in future I do frequent backups of my system. I have been online since 1998 and never had any major problems. This is the first and I foolishly underestimated the damage a virus could do.

My next step is to get an external drive to use as a backup and as I mentioned to use it frequently.

I hope this has given you some food for thought. As I sign off here I am going to insert my Toshiba Product Recovery CD-Rom.

If I had taken the necessary precautions I wouldn't have just lost three days of my time. Three days I could have been putting to better use.

Ah well, there is positive in every bad situation. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself:-).
About the Author
Mal Keenan is editor and publisher of Home Business Tips Newsletter.
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