Thoughts on the Meaning of Life… Todd Helmkamp

A long absence.

Posted by Vogeler on May 24, 2007


It’s been 20 days since my last post.  There is a reason for this.


We had a major virus (trojan) infection on our network.  Those of you who understand such things will understand how big of a problem this is.  Those of you who don’t, trust me:  it’s a nightmare.

Our DMS (Data Management System) provider, ACS, had to shut us down so that the virus did not spread once they reached the server.  All of our accounting records, accounts payable and receivable, our service department’s records and ability to write new repair orders, billing, our sales department’s ability to work deals and quote prices and payments, every bit of our dealership’s daily business was shut down.

Needless to say, our owner was not happy.

Neither were many employees, as they were sent home for the day.

My boss Brett and I spent 10 feverish hours running scans on 30 PCs at once.  It took us about 1.5 days to get stuff going, and get stuff plugged back in to the network.  We thought we got every PC…..

But there was one, sitting alone in a dark corner, rarely ever used.

Of course, it reinfected the network.

Round Two.

We get every PC finally disinfected.  Two days later.  Phew.  Business is back up, we’re rocking, and my boss and I are playing catch-up because we’ve been neglecting our main responsibilities to play Geek Squad the last five days.

My boss leaves to go on vacation.  Some of you are now thinking “Uh-Oh.”  You would be correct.

Monday morning, our Office Manager, Melissa, goes upstairs to the host and server PCs to insert the back up tape (we have a back up tape for every day in case data gets lost).  There’s a “weird-looking screen that says something like ‘Norton’ on it.”

I go sprinting upstairs, and sure enough, we have a major infection.  But its the exact same number of infected files we had last week.  Huh?  Then it hits me:  the back-up tape backed-up infected files, and we just reinfected everything.

Sigh.  May I remind you, my boss is on vacation.  The other employees can barely check their email.  I am alone.

I call ACS tech support.  They are extremely helpful.  They advise doing a Jedi Mind-Wipe on all of the PCs, starting with the host.

So, I begin.

Basically, I have spent the last week rebuilding a network with no prior experience, and only the wonderful folks at ACS to guide me (which they did very well).

I learned a TON.  When my boss got back into town on Thursday, he came right in.  He got there about 4:30 in the afternoon, checked my work, and was pleased.  So was I.  🙂   Then he gave me the rest of the week off (I had put in 54 hours that week).

I finally got to reformatting my PC yesterday.  It was the last one.  Its kind of nice starting afresh, although since I used the recovery drive I had to spend 45 minutes removing crapware.  But still.  Its like the first time you crawl into bed after you changed the sheets.  All fresh and crisp and crinkly-feeling.

So anyway, that’s why I’ve been gone for so long.  Overall, it was a good experience, if extremely stressful.  And I learned that Computer Science is not the field for me.  🙂


6 Responses to “A long absence.”

  1. nathan said

    welcome to the techie world Todd!

    ACS does a lot of church data management as well. i didn’t know they did other stuff as well. But cool. I have indeed heard good thing about them. Just Monday i was talking with Zach, a guy who let them pilot a new program in his church outside Illinois. he was very happy with ACS.

    cool beans man. cool beans indeed…

  2. @Nate: Thanks! I didn’t know ACS did church stuff too. That’s awesome! I’m so happy that now I know that IP stands for Internet Protocol…. 🙂

  3. Carma said

    In an attempt to further my procrastination process, I almost stopped in and said “hello” today. But then DCS called and it was back to the real world.

  4. Adam said

    I was starting to wonder if you were against blogging or something. … lol.

    “crapware.” lol I’ve never heard that before. Does Windows fit under that category.

  5. @Adam: “Crapware” is a fairly recent term for preloaded software on a new PC that you neither requested nor knew was going to be on there. For example, on many new PCs, Google Desktop is automatically loaded by the manufacturer. A new computer’s hard drive and desktop are prime advertising spaces. Sigh.

  6. P.S. And Windows is just crap, not crapware. 🙂

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