November 1, 2012

It all started back in July when, courtesy of that crappy PC security solution known as McAfee, my parents computer was hit by a virus that not only raised havoc with its general functionality, but corrupted some critical core Windows operating system files. I spent the better part of four days of my Goodboys break week using various tricks and tools to eradicate the viruses, but it was only after calling in reinforcements (specically, Robert Healy of HealYourPC) that we were able to restore some sense of normalcy that allowed my folks to at least play their games and surf the internet.

The one thing we weren’t able to resolve, however, was their ability to print. After more troubleshooting, I was able to determine that a critical core file called spoolsv.exe was missing, but nothing I could do could get it back. Because I’m sort of a tekkie kind of guy who loves his parents and wants only the best for them, it bugged the daylights out of me that I was unable to get their printing functionality back, and I spent the next couple of weeks exploring various Windows XP tech forums seeing what options were available. Consensus was the only solution was a Windows repair, but we didn’t have the original Windows XP install disks.

Fast forward three months. Back in Massachusetts once again, I called back in my reinforcement to bring his XP install disks and perform a Windows repair. And after doing the necessary prep work and backups, and running the necessary repair scripts, we were able to create ourselves a brandy-new spoolsv.exe file. I then reinstalled their printer to start accepting requests. To my dismay, printing still wouldn’t work. Oh, I could now stop and start print services to my heart’s content and send items to print, but nothing happened, everything on the printer remained in pending status. To make sure the printer wasn’t the problem, I installed it on my work laptop and was able to print anything I wanted successfully. For some reason, the printer was always considered in “busy” status on the folks’ PC.

Worse yet, we lost a bunch of Internet Explorer functionality because the repair somehow removed Internet Explorer 8 and installed version 6 from the recovery disk. Not only did my folks’ favorites not work, you’d get these weird “The requested lookup key was not found in any activation context” message boxes whenever you clicked on particular kinds of links. Not sure what on earth was causing that! Worse yet, the Windows “Help and Support” application wasn’t functional either. Neither my folks PC nor I were in a good place.

I was beside myself, and after a very late night trying to get anything to work (unsuccessfully), I had no choice but to call in my tech guy and plan a full reinstall of Windows from scratch. Sure, the option was also to start over with a brand-new machine, but either way, I was going to end up reinstalling everything from their wireless internet to Outlook to the games they play. Neither option was very appealing. I was a desperate man.

On Wednesday morning, I called my tech guy and arranged a XP reinstall for Thursday afternoon.

It’s now Thursday morning. I’m drinking my coffee and hear my mom call out that she’s not having any problems with the Internet and accessing her favorite websites. That’s funny, I’m thinking. So I take a look at the machine and see that Internet Explorer 8 has been reinstalled on their machine. And, sure enough, all internet functionality appears to be back.

And then it hit me: their machine schedules a Windows update every Thursday morning at 2 AM. Obviously, the Windows update must have seen the machine was behind in its maintenance and began the painstaking work of bringing it up to date while the house was asleep! I check the “Help and Support” application, and that too is now fully intact!

So now I’m wondering: what if, in the course of the Windows update, some file or process got upgraded to enable printing to work? Could it be? I drag the printer over to the bed beside their computer desk and connect the printer to the computer via USB (they typically print via wireless network, but I wasn’t willing to get crazy!). I pick something to print, and voila!, didn’t I hear the printer spring to life and start spitting out printed paper from their PC for the first time in three months! I reinstalled the printer to their wireless network, and printing that way was also successful.

So, in the end, all’s well that ends well. Thanks to a some expert technical assistance, a great Windows Update process, and more than a little magic and grace from the PC gods, the folks PC is back to where it was pre-July virus. (Actually, better, since they’re now using Kaspersky Anti-Virus instead of McAfee.) And I feel like the weight of the world is off my shoulders.

As Gerald Ford once said after pardoning Richard Nixon of any Watergate crimes he might have committed, our long national nightmare is over. And by “our” I mean for both my parents and me. Life is now very good, indeed…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 12:05 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. Wow Bear, now you can finally get some sleep:)
    Your Bear……….

    Comment by The Great Whire Shank — November 1, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

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