I seem to do this a lot. I blog for a while, then go for ages without blogging anything. So, this is my first post since April 2005. I hope you enjoyed the break.
After being twice previously awarded the Microsoft MVP, this October I did not get the award. I can’t really say I’m surprised, my presense in the newsgroups has been practically non-existant. In the home security/virus groups, it became increasingly difficult to answer any question with a reply other than “scan your computer with antivirus software, or preferrably take it to a professional”.
With compromised machines, as most of the visitors to those newsgroups have, it’s rarely an easy process to clean an already infected computer. Usually more than one infector is present, and will require scanning with multiple products in various ways. The message that the populous need to get is “prevention is better than cure”.
Unfortunately, it was rare to see anyone asking for advice before having been infected — who goes looking for help before they have a problem?
Even today, those groups are still full of people with infected machines asking for help, and although the answers given by the MVP’s and other posters are often very helpful, I now believe that the recommended actions are beyond the scope of most of the users who come there looking for help. Malware is becoming more sophisticated every day, and the steps needed to remove that malware are growing in complexity at the same time.
Other groups (such as Windows Server or Microsoft Office) have more defined questions that are easy to answer with specific step-by-step instruction of what to do to achieve the poster’s desired result.
So, I guess it was for all those reasons that I lost faith in the abilities of those seeking help to actually be able to help themselves. The more thorough the instructions that were given as answers, the more arduous the task would become for the user to actually carry them out.
I still read newsgroups, I occasionally post in them, but not to the level that I once did.