You could say that I tend toward a more ‘neurotic’ frame of mind. A valid example might be the yelp that comes from my mouth eight times a day, “no fingers on the glass!” Fingers leave fingerprints, you see.
So, it would make sense that when my computer recently ran out of antivirus protection and promptly picked up the first malware that came on to it, I jumped through the roof, right?
I spend a total of thirteen hours fixing the problem, and I didn’t lose my poop once. Even though thoughts about how I would be without the Internet ran through my head.
Looking back, I did some basic things that anyone saner than me probably does when faced with a stressful situation. Just in case I’m not the only one who could use suggestions for the next case of malware, or whatever, read on…
1. Research your options. The first thing I did was find out what the malware I was infected with was, and how it was typically removed. I found out what not to do, what I could do without any help from someone more technically-minded, and how much it would cost me to have a technician do it for me.
This gave me a whole picture, so I could choose between options A, B or C, and feel confident that I was making the right decision, for the right reason – not just out of panic.
2. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” In my case, I worried that the malware might cause some of my personal information, such as bank account or website passwords, available. I also worried that I wouldn’t be able to remove the malware, and the laptop I use for work would practically unusable without a costly hard-drive sweep.
3. Figure out alternatives. Once I’d pictured the worst-case scenario, I could picture the potential results: I could go back to using my slower desktop – it would just mean losing the ability to work wireless or do any major design work; I could take my laptop to a store, where technicians could scrub it and reinstall everything from scratch; I could look around at new laptops, since I don’t really love mine, anyway, and upgrade within a few months.
4. Solve the problem as passively as possible. Discovering a post by a famous computer techie really helped me because it gave simple, step-by-step instructions for manually removing the malware’s components from my system after using a (free!) recommended anti-spy/malware program. While the program was installing, updating, scanning and scrubbing, I chose to do something else.
5. Distract yourself. While I was passively solving the issue, I took a project that I’ve put way on the backburner, and brought it out. I could walk away from the project for short periods, when I needed to hit ‘ok’ on the computer, and I got a lovely, shabby-chic turquoise fruit stand out of it.
Do you have any suggestions for keeping your cool in a combustible situation?