Merry Xmas to You Too

Well, since it’s not unusual for me to not post around here for four to five days at a time (or longer) I doubt anyone’s been worried about my absence, especially with the holiday season. And there’s no reason for you to be worried, I’m fine. Lyar, my computer, on the other hand, is feeling a bit put out, and I’m pretty unhappy about it.

Seems I was chilling on Mangafox and I accidentally clicked on an ad — I think it was for Nissan cars. That alone should have hit alarm bells, but the McAfee popup really should have alerted me. But no, it was late, I was bleary-eyed, should have been in bed, and generally not at my most alert. And I’m used to McAfee putting annoyware messages on the screen. (Apparently I installed some of their crap with a browser add-on a while back). So I blew it off without reading it.

A few minutes later, the system starts acting cranky, and I get a Windows pop-up alerting me to a problem on one of the drives. Really bleary-eyed, really not alert. So I start looking for a scandisk utility. “Hmm, that’s odd, I don’t remember that directory of tools being empty; let’s check the next one…. Oh, here’s this handy ‘Fixdisk’ utility…”

I think you can see where this is going. When it started telling my my memory was bad too, I got suspicious. (The irony is, it appears to have been correct about that.) At least I was no longer bleary eyed and half-asleep; rage has a way of fixing those problems.

Between the malware going after the file allocation tables, and my ham-fisted attempts to recover them once I realized I’d been had, I managed to fubar EVERY single drive beyond recovery. Almost. I picked up a utility that was able to recover one of the drives, so I got my music collection back, but beyond that, I lost EVERY file on every other drive, because I didn’t leave bad enough alone before Dr. Heinous talked me into risking it.

All the downloaded anime.

All my games/saved games.

All my screenshots.

All my .mkv viewers and 10p codecs.

All my files involving various creative endeavors over the years, including 50,000 words of a novel I started and never finished (and the 6,000 pages of background and outline), plus about 10,000 on a second one.

All my backups. It didn’t matter that I’d backed them up across multiple drives; they weren’t raid formatted or backed up on multiple computers. The only bright side is that some of the recent stuff survived on Misaki, as I do the bittorrenting on it, and then transfer to Lyar. And of course, I later delete it from Misaki, because it’s got such a small drive. So nowhere near the full 1TB I had downloaded; maybe 10% of that.

So after I got what I could out of the C: drive (damn near nothing), I installed Win 7. But then I decided, no, I’d go back and install XP and try one more time to recover the files. But not only did it not work, somehow it seemed to reactivate the malware (I hadn’t formatted, hoping Win 7 would be able to recover the files). So I gave up and reinstalled Win 7, only now I’ve got a fubared drive that thinks it has two installations for dual booting, and I’m going to lose everything I reinstalled. I said “ham-fisted” didn’t I?

The brass lining (not quite good enough to qualify as silver) is that a lot of the games can be re-downloaded from Steam, GOG, and GG, or their publishers. Of course, that means I’ll be downloading several hundred gigabytes over the next few weeks. And I have to re-format the C: drive and reinstall Win 7 again.

But the dark cloud to that brass lining is that now that I have a 64-bit OS installed, I’m using all 8 GB of my RAM, and one of the chips appears to be bad, as I’m getting random crashes during high memory usage. I may try to swap it around and see if that helps.

Merry f’king Xmas to you too.

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8 Responses to Merry Xmas to You Too

  1. You have my deepest sympathy. I fully know what that’s like, believe me. It’s heartbreaking to lose so many things.

  2. RichardCranium says:

    Did you try using a Linux live distro of some type to look around at the file system?

    While it was on Vista machine versus an XP one, my wife’s computer picked up some horrendous virus/malware that made it appear that many of her files had been deleted. They weren’t; they were actually present. When I booted Linux on the same machine (I already had it as a dual boot), I was able to see and copy the important data files off prior to reinstalling Vista on it.

  3. It’s no consolation, but BakaBT is running their usual end-of-year FreeLeech amnesty for the next week or two, so you may be able to get some of the torrents you lost.

  4. Ubu Roi says:

    I saw that on your blog. Yep, but I’ll have to transfer files pretty often. That system’s got only an 80GB drive in it. Misaki is pretty old now, about seven years, I think. I scrounged up another old drive that would work with that motherboard, but it was not in good shape, which was why I’d removed it in the first place. Frustratingly, it has copies of some of the very same files I lost, but it won’t let me copy them; it thinks they’re “in use.” Edit: And it was only 8 GB. However, I do have a 400GB in there… which I partitioned into a bunch of smaller drives for some unknown reason. Couldn’t conceive of needing 400GB on one drive. Now I’m going “Wait, the limit on a drive is 2 terabytes? Who came up with this system??”

  5. Ubu Roi says:

    Richard, that’s an interesting suggestion; I didn’t realize you could do that, Linux reads NTFS? I suppose it’s moot anyway, I’m Linux-illiterate, and my meddling with it before I really understood what happened is what killed any chance at recovery.

    • RichardCranium says:

      Yes, Linux has been able to read NTFS volumes for a while now. Writing to NTFS volumes is a relatively recent ability, but you could have used that to examine the disk contents without using any of the native Windows system calls that some malware intercept. The virus you picked up may very well have trashed your FAT tables; if so, you would have been as SOL as you thought you were.

      You can’t really copy off any programs using Linux (well, you can but you’d have to know what registry values you’d have to make when you copy them back so that they’d actually work…), but you might have been able to save your novel and other data files.

      I’m sorry that you lost all that work and memories.

  6. Ubu Roi says:

    Oh, now this is just stupid. I knew that at work, there was an issue with Win 7 not being able to talk via network with older servers, specifically, our NT4.0 servers. But I forgot that NT was the base for Win2k, and didn’t extend that to home systems…

    Lyar can’t access Misaki, which is still on W2k, as it’s too old and has too little memory to stick XP on it.


    • Ubu Roi says:

      Update: and I’m already out of space on all drives. 80GB, 8GB, 400GB (3 partitions, all full). And because of the access problems, the only way I’m going to get it to my main system is to cross-load it to my brother’s computer, which is the only one both of the computers can link to. This is a royal pita. Instead of buying a new game system, I may buy a computer and configure it as a media player. I just hate to do that when my main TV isn’t much bigger than my monitor. (Just four inches on the diagonal).

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