Although I have a difficult time understanding it, this same thing keeps happening. A client calls with an immediate problem. A computer used primarily for business has become slow and now does not seem to work at all. The client urgently needs to check email.

A quick visit and I discover that this essential machine seems to have been treated like a holy relic that is self-protecting, self-maintaining, and not subject to decay. The latest case involves an ancient machine that had originally been shipped with Window Millennium, but it had been updated to W2K somewhere along the line. McAfee once protected it, but that had expired years ago. Sure enough, it was sluggish.

The client wanted me to get her a new computer, transfer here data, and make the new one look like the old one.

When I got her computer back to my office, I kept is isolated and installed RKILL and Malwarebytes from a flash drive. A complete scan found only 35 infections (nowhere near a record!). These included several varieties of Trojans and a backdoor.bot. The last one bothered me the most since she does online business, and that could have been compromised.

Given that this person is unlikely to be consistent in backing up data or otherwise protecting data, and data is essential to her business, I set her up with an internal-external backup drive and did an initial backup. Then I set the schedule for automatic backups to mesh with her schedule. Since she normally turns the computer off at night, and since I did not expect her to remember to leave it on once a week, the default backup time was changed to be at a time when it was likely to be on, but not when she was likely to be using it.

Then I setup her new computer with a good anti-malware program and suggested several good surfing habits.

All this probably sounds boringly familiar to anyone who has tried to tutor or help maintain computers. But I still do not understand it. No one runs their automobiles without oil. No one uses a cell phone or texts while driving. Everyone wears seat belts all the time… oh… maybe there is a pattern here.

Are some things so important in our lives that we feel forced to attribute super powers to them? Cars and computers are essential. We do not want them to fail or to have an accident, so we simply adopt a mental attitude that suggests everything is okay. Taking preventive measures would be to admit we are vulnerable. That self-deception works fine until…