Look for the simple solution

Posted: November 2, 2010 in computers, hardware, Windows
Tags: , , , , ,

Simple:  [sim-puhl], adjective,  definitions: not complex or compound; not complicated; unaffected; unassuming; modest; easy to understand.

A few weekends ago, I was called upon to get rid of a virus on a friend’s Windows computer.   According to her it was acting strangely, jumping all over, windows and dialog boxes opening up on their own, etc.  Yep, sounds virus-like.   So I went and picked it up and brought it home to work on it.  First thing for me is always to open the case of a computer and blow out the dust bunnies, check connections inside and look for obvious problems before plugging it in and seeing for myself what the issue is.  After my quick cleanup and inspection I connected it to a monitor, mouse and keyboard and started it up.  No network connection of course, since I don’t want to potentially spread any viruses even though the chance of that happening is slim since my home network is all wireless and Mac based.

Initial scan found only minor problems, a ton of cookies, etc but I wasn’t convinced that was all there was since she was having such erratic behavior so I isolated the network, connected and checked for updates to the installed virus/spyware protection Norton360.  Updated, scanned again, and nothing really, so I downloaded one of my fave programs in my arsenal, Spyware Doctor.  Found a few things, quarantined and removed them, updated virus & spyware definitions again, found a few small problems there too, same thing, isolate and remove.  All in all, not really anything as of yet that would be causing the problem.  I re-ran the tests thoroughly, and then went one step further and used an online scanner as well.  When satisfied it was completely clean, packed it all up and back it went to its home.

First thing I noticed when hooking up the PC in its usual environment was that the sound wasn’t working, no big deal, probably a driver issue.  So I started browsing for the most current device driver.  Thats when I noticed the problem, the mouse was a ball mouse – you know the ones,  that silly little ball in the bottom that comes in contact with a couple of wheels that spin which tells the computer the direction it is being moved in.  ARGH.  The biggest problem with these mice is those wheels – they seem to collect dirt on the surface which makes the mouse tracking get all wonky.   I remember taking them apart monthly to clean them back in the day.   D’oh!  This is when I realized that in using an optical mouse when “fixing” the problem, I had missed the actual problem.

To make a long story a bit shorter, a few driver updates, a cleaning up of a bit of adware, etc, a few restarts and a new laser mouse later and all is right with the world again.  Okay not the world, but one little part of it.

I guess what I’m trying to say and what this illustrates so well, is sometimes the simple solution is the one that works.  Don’t always assume the worst whether its in life or a computer problem, plan for the worst, but hope for the best.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by thatcomputerguy, thatcomputerguy. thatcomputerguy said: New blog post…: Look for the simple solution http://thatcomputerguy.ca/2010/11/02/look-for-the-simple-solution/ […]


  2. Scott says:

    Oy, wheel mice. For some of them, not even cleaning them once a month would keep them working. I switched to a tablet. 🙂


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