Ok, background first: this past year, I've been participating in a computer-lending program through school, which has allowed me to test out those laptops where you can draw on the screen, and fold it back, and other spiffy things, as a classroom and general learning tool. You know, scribble on PowerPoints, underline things in essays, etc. Very nifty.
About halfway through the year, they got a batch of shiny new-and-spiffier Dell computers in; I switched to the newer model (mostly out of curiosity, to see the difference). Other than Windows Vista not being my favorite program ever, it was fine. And the pen for writing on the screen was definitely less plasticky.
And then, a week before classes were done (ie, student presentations were imminent), the Dell's hard drive started sending out panicked, Shakespearean, "I fail! I diiiieeee!" messages.
Cue panicked back-ups, which managed to save what needed saving. And the nice folks in the computer/tech department were happy to switch the soon-to-be-tragically-dead PC with another. And that worked fine.
Until last week. At which point, it skipped the "Imminent death is imminent" messages, and went straight to massive hard drive failure. Yippee. Now, I didn't have anything vital on there, but it was still really, really annoying. And, frankly, I wasn't expecting to be able to keep the computer as long as I had, so it wasn't like I had a reason to complain.
Once again, the fantastically nice folks in comp/tech were able to switch the defunct laptop-- this time, with one of the older ones from the previous semester. Fantastic. And, yes, I have a use for it for the rest of the summer.
Sooooo, yesterday, brought in the dead computer, switched it out, and, after being a moron about not remembering the password, booted it up and used it just fine.
Until this morning. When it suddenly started saying, "OH NOES VIRUSES TROJANS SPYWARE INTRUDER ALERT OHNOES!" I still have no idea what caused this; I had visited the normal websites, plus a manga website I don't usually visit (but folks I know do, so if it were virus-infested, I would assume somebody would mention it), and downloaded a single Word file from a friend via IM. And now the computer was making horrible predictions about keystroke trackers and screenshot captures and who knows what else. Which would have been fine, if it could have done anything about them. Apparently, while there IS virus protection software, you have to get a key code (ie, pay them) to activate all of the features-- and by all of the features, I mean anything useful other than freaking the heck out and starting to run a scan detailing exactly what horrors it was unearthing (seriously; it hadn't been running for 5 minutes and was already up to about 17 problem programs). I have no idea where all of the problems came from, and it's not letting me fix anything-- because trying to download anti-virus software I know isn't working, the firewall keeps popping up messages about data trying to escape, when I block whatever the firewall is panicking about, the computer goes straight into the blue screen of death, and any attempt to get the included (but not activated!) anti-virus software to work results in a ridiculously annoying round-and-round about "there are threats! lots of threats! horrible threats! click now to activate protection! ok, now enter the key code! what do you mean, you don't have a keycode! click now to activate protection! there are threats! lots of threats! ok, now enter the keycode..."
Yes, fine, this is a borrowed computer, not my computer. However, aside from "Oh no, what of what I've been typing is now ALL OVER THE INTERWEBS and about to lead to hacking of my e-mail accounts and so on," and the vast annoyance about the problems themselves, and the feeling like an irresponsible moron about the viruses themseves, I am completely mortified that I have to go back to the tech people and say, "Um... you know that computer you gave me to replace the computer that died that was a replacement for the first computer that died... Um. Yeah. It's kind of... well... at least mostly dead."
EDIT: Aaaand, according to the fabulous tech people, the program that's demanding I purchase it to save my computer from viral rape and pillage is, in fact, itself malware (which, of course, used the original "ACK TROJAN INVASION ACK!" message to get me to click so that it could install itself and commence the invasion... in my defense, if you've just started using a computer running Windows XP, and something official-looking pops up and claims to be the XP Protection Center-- and, well, you figure that the university folks would have programs installed designed to panic about malware... ok, yeah, I still just feel stupid). Wheeeeee.