Two computer cases I had tonight.

Tonight I fixed two computers “on-the-side”, not relating to my actual job.  One was a Vista laptop whose password had been lost — I downloaded and burned a copy of Offline NT Password & Registry Editor, used that to change the person’s password to the same as her BIOS boot and hard drive passwords.  This was a bright, shiny new Compaq, and incredibly hefty.  The screen was gigantic and beautiful.  A shame it was sullied by Vista.  I’d have had Ubuntu on that baby and travel in style, with XP on a boot partition for playing games away from my desktop (which would be possible given the sweet on-board NVidia it had access to — a shame it was wasted on Vista’s Aero decorations).

Heeeeey, I could play Fallout 3 on it and be able to not be a hermit.  You know, hang around out in the living room with Jodi while playing that Oblivion-engine-based Fallout revival.  I’m a bit surprised by how much of Oblivion I can still see in that game.  They did a decent job making what appears to be a first-person shooter with heavy exploration elements, basically Oblivion with guns.  Called shots (VATS — dunno what it stands for) are cool.

But I digress.  More on that later.

Case number two was a fantastic issue, and by fantastic I mean it puzzled me for several hours.  Local-ISP Internet Security Services, a rebranded F-Secure by F-Prot, apparently stomped on some files installed by Google Toolbar, causing the venerable old toolbar to refuse processing DNS while in Internet Explorer.  By extension, because the stomping seems to have damaged the internet stack itself, which Firefox has to share, it refused to process Firefox requests for certain webpages, and seemingly pushed all internet traffic over a localhost-based proxy (which I’m assuming Google Toolbar used to interpose itself into the flow of internet traffic).  As a result of this, the issue I was approached with was that the Local-ISP internet services installer was unable to, after installation of the software, actually contact their registration service (since its own traffic was redirected to that no-longer-existing Google Toolbar proxy).  The poor owner shut the computer down rather than letting the computer run without any kind of antivirus, and called me for help.

Local-ISP Tech Support had been no help whatsoever, having run through the uninstall and reinstall of the security product to no avail.  I’m thinking either they’re not aware of the incompatibility of their software with Google Toolbar, or I might just be off base on the exact cause of the situation as the whole timing thing is my only real concrete link between cause and effect in this case.  That, and uninstalling Google Toolbar via HijackThis having fixed the issue, which isn’t quite a solid evidence one way or the other for whether or not the security suite actually stomped the Google Toolbar files.  The thing is, I can’t see any other possible cause for the toolbar to have just fallen over and died.

Anyway, the installer for the Local-ISP software is running now, and I have all through the weekend to finish this thing, so I might as well go to bed.

Oh yeah.  Back is still sore, I’m heading back to the doctor ASAP.  It’s getting better, kinda, but it’s way slower than it should be.  Granted, I haven’t come to another crisis yet, I’m more worried that I’m just going to be stuck like this if we don’t start getting some x-rays or MRIs or whatever else and figure out what the hell is bugging my back so much.

(Mini update — I fixed the time frame.  I had intended to post this tomorrow morning if I didn’t get it finished, but I did, and forgot to go back and change “last night” to “tonight”.  Bet that’ll be funny in the RSS feed.)

Two computer cases I had tonight.