Been a while since I last updated this. Yes, it's because of work. Besides the time constraint, it's that I know my friends are slashdotters and I don't want them identifying me here. Paranoia, no?
In these past few months I've been moved to use Adaware, Spybot and Pestpatrol because besides the normal users, other people at work, home and beyond (friends of relatives) are getting into the increasing malware trap that is IE. Even my tightly bound home system there were a few positives of scumware. I've cleaned a few in the family's computers and in less than 2 weeks I cleaned about 3 computers from relatives that had slowed down to unacceptable levels. I have also been using portable drives since people either don't have diskettes or the programs don't fit.
Another thing that I never thought possible was the addition of firewalls to all the home PCs, though they're already behind a router. This was handy when I brought an infected PC to the home network, though I did disconnect everything. Here's a cool thing: if you install Sygate personal firewall on the infected machine, it is even safer until you can wipe out the crap. I was unable to remove the look2me.com adware that pinged look2me1.com, 2.com and 3.com even after lots of work, but I changed the hosts file and blocked them. Here's another thing: host files tend to be affected by processes that start even during safemode, so you have to be faster than the rate at which malware checks for "attrib -r" changes to rewrite its hostnames there. Fun eh?
Also learned about the virus-triggered destruction of winsock modules. I have seen a few systems where the address defaults to something other than 192.168, but is a microsoft dhcp default. Guess what, one of my afflicted systems had that problem after Adaware, and now I am cautious to take the post-Adaware fixer tool if the net connection goes out after rebooting for it to remove specific shell-extension malware that becomes essential for your system's functionality as a way of burying itself deep within your essential libraries.
Anyway, I have also done a lot of stuff on my free time or screwed around with the guys at work. Maybe since I can use the nerd bit more, I don't feel a strong urge to post here that much.
But I'll stay around here. If you have friends with broadband, do them a favor and download Sygate! My most challenging and scum-ridden system in may wasn't even in broadband, and the ISP was Netscape-based rather than IE, but it was evident that the user needed to calm down when downloading dialers and other obvious fake programs that screw up even a 56K computer as soon as they are online again.