Want to know why I wear my hair so short? Let me tell you a story: I sat down to write this column on Saturday morning and I got an e-mail message. I had e-mailed a document to a business colleague the day before, and the message told me that my transmission had triggered the Norton AntiVirus for Exchange system. Apparently my document was infected with the Word macro virus "Jerk". Terrific -- a great way for a consultant to treat his clients.
The mystery was how this was possible. I run an up-to-date copy of McAfee VirusScan and it didn't have any problem with the file, so how come the recipient's system was detecting a virus?
As I had a copy of Norton SystemWorks that included Norton AntiVirus, I thought I'd install it and see if the virus was detected.
SystemWorks is potentially cool. The package includes all sorts of neat utilities as well the object of my desire. Unfortunately, after installation my monitor resolution was reset to VGA. Why? No idea. And there was no way to easily reset it to a 1024 x 768 resolution, because the system tray applet no longer offered a list of supported resolutions. I ran Norton AntiVirus anyway and nothing!
But now I had another problem. I tried to reset the resolution through the control panel applet. No joy. It denied ever knowing about any resolution beyond VGA; so I reinstalled the video drivers. Joy, I was back to the display I wanted.
But wait! Now SystemWorks was unhappy. It said it couldn't load some component and I should restart it or reinstall SystemWorks.
So I followed the stupid advice and restarted -- no use -- and then reinstalled. Guess what? Back to VGA resolution! OK, I tried to reinstall the video drivers . . . no use, the system didn't want to find them this time. So I uninstalled Norton SystemWorks but that didn't help so, OK, back to the original disk that came with my Hewlett-Packard Pavilion 8485Z. I inserted the CD, rebooted and selected the restore option and whirr-clunk-clunk . . . whoa! Who said that my registry would be replaced?
OK, I could deal with that, but now network features weren't working so I had to reinstall TCP/IP and I couldn't find the network information folder in my filing system, because it was misfiled and then I had to re-install the NetWare services but this time I got an error message that I needed a new version of NETDI.DLL and that I should check out a Microsoft technical document, but that didn't point me to a downloadable copy of the file but rather said that I needed to talk to MS Tech support who would send me the file and charge me for it but then credit me back, but who wants to spend all Saturday hanging on for support, so I searched for other technical support documents and discovered that there was some kind of issue with this DLL if Microsoft NetWare support was installed, so I removed that and then NetWare installed OK and then I found that Microsoft Office 2000 would no longer work, so I had to reinstall that but when that was done it asked for the CD key to allow access, but I couldn't find that so I had to call Microsoft Tech Support and they said "No trouble, please hold" and after 15 minutes I realised that the key was written on the CD anyway so . . .
Fixing everything that went wrong took a total of 36 hours. Oh, and the virus? A false positive caused, I think, by a macro fragment left after the document's original author cleaned out the Jerk virus. This explains the hairstyle: If I didn't wear my hair so short, I'd have been ripping it out by the handful.
Styling tips to nwcolumn@ gibbs.com