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Airplanes, Rocketry, Missiles, Spacecraft and things that go WHOOSH! in the night.
What's flying around my head at the current time.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

There's a Program That Leads a Life of Danger.... 

I've just cleared a major hassle with my computer that was surprisingly easy to fix. Around Christmas time, I downloaded the latest version of the seasonal game "Super Elf Bowling." It didn't run very well, so I deleted it and forgot about it. A little later, I needed to find some files, and tried to go into Windows Explorer to look fo them. I got a "buffer overflow" error in the C++ Runtime library and I had to reboot to get the machine back. Happened every time i tried to go to Windows Explorer, Control Panel, or even IE. Same error. Everything else worked fine.

I looked for info on the error the MicroSlop Knowledgebase. MS has stopped supporting Win98SE, so it was a bit of a search. I saw a lot of stuff about downloading and applying several patches to close a vulnerability that this error allowed, but couldn't get into my Explorer, nothing gave me any info on fixing it. I even got the error trying to browse my Win98SE CD to try a reinstall. I thought about increasing the buffers in my msconfig, but couln't find wher to make the change, as Autoexec.bat and config.sys didn't have any "buffers=" lines.

I Googled the error and several posts mentioned deleteing something called Hotbar (which I didn't have) and that some spyware was trying to exploit the overflow. On a whim, I downloaded the latest version of AdAware and scanned my hard drives. AdAware found 18 suspect components ( Files and registry Tags) and I deleted them. Lo and behold, I was able to get into IE. I tried Windows Explorer and it worked too! Huzzah! I then updateed the spyware definitions and re-ran and found 7 more they were deleted, and I have had no more problems.

I did have to delete the file assosciations for gif and jpegs and reinitialize them, but everything's both hunky and dory.

I highly recommend AdAware and it's FREE! Come out of the cold, and "terminate" spyware with "extreme predjudice". This is as important as keeping your antivirus up to date.
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