This morning, I did a stupid thing. When my virus scanner said ‘Trojan found in suchandsuch dll!’ I believed it, and pressed the ‘heal’ button.

 

This was followed by six hours of frustration and faffing about with installation discs and boot menus, while my favourite IT capable person held my hand over msn. How you’re supposed to do this when you only have one computer that connects to the internet, I don’t know. What I do know, is that a button with a safe sounding name like ‘heal’ shouldn’t have that effect.

 

You might say it was stupid of me to delete a Windows dll-file, and I’ll agree with you. I should know better. But hey, it was early morning, there were lots of exclamation marks in the virus popup, and not even an ‘are you sure’ thingy when I pressed ‘heal’. So I figured it would be ok. It wasn’t, obviously, and my virus scanner didn’t seem to know or care that it was completely destroying my desktop by removing one file.

 

Which begs the question: why does Windows hide all its system folders behind fifty popups that go ‘are you sure you want to see this’ or ‘if you change anything here, you’re screwed’, if some random program can just delete them without thinking twice.

 

And if these files are so unprotected from third party programs, shouldn’t said programs be a little bit smarter? Yes, viruses suck, but non-working computers are, in my opinion, worse. I’d like my virus scan to at least tell me that by messing with a dll file, I’m likely to be heading for a reinstall or recovery procedure in the close future.

 

Not everyone knows what files do or which files are important. And some people will never even have seen them. These are the ones that believe XP when it says they shouldn’t even look at files in the Windows folder, lest they be struck by the evil eye. So why does my virus scanner let my computer grind to a blue screen of horrifyingly unbootable death, if it could just tell me that the dll file in question was kinda important, and that I should replace it with a nice clean one from the install cd?

 

The assumption that it’s better for a computer to not work at all, than to have a possible Trojan is Machiavellian, to say the least. It’s also wrong.

 

Considering my virus scanner is notorious for false positives, I did, for the record, scan my system folder again. Know what it said? ‘Trojan found in suchandsuch dll file!!111omgbbq’. I’m going to take my chances with the virus for now. I’m also getting a new virus scanner…

 

Update: As it so happens, I’m not the only one. Turn out AVG’s latest update decided user32. dll is infected in every single one of the computers it runs on. And my guess is most people pressed the ‘heal’ button. One of the first reports is here, and about every tech forum on the interwebs has desperate AVG users by now. 

Sad thing is I was rather happy with AVG till now. But major fuckups like this make me lose all faith in the scanner. And I won’t be the only one turning her back.

AVG: making the computers of most of your user base crash is not good.

Advertisements