"Well thanks for the heads up!" or Why no good deed goes unpunished

So… I spend about 10-12 hours this weekend trying to get this fairly nice Thinkpad into shape for a friend. She and her husband use it for home and business and she needs it back online. She says it “runs really slow”. She’s right, it runs like a pig on quaaludes, which is surprising because it has 85% system resources free and and Win ME would usually run OK (speedwise) on a 400 Mhz Pentium with 128 megs of RAM and a 6 gig hard drive. I’ve removed all the unnecessary applets running in memory, reduced the startup up group to bare minimum.

But…… it’s…….just…….crawling… and why does that disk activity light keep flashing.

I try defragging, but it takes forever to even get it to try to scan the disk prior to defrag. I give up thinking there might be a media error problem and try scandisk, but it keeps re-starting because something is writing to the disk and writing HARD. The disk activity indicator is flashing like no one’s business… even if the machine is not touched, but how? I’ve deactivated and removed all non-critical applets in memory. What the hell is going on? I try starting in safe mode and a dozen other tricks to get it to stop but something is still hammering the hard disk.

Virus? Not likely. Norton Anti-Virus was one of the applets I temporarily deactivated. So I waste a huge chunk of time trying to track down the origin of these disk writes. Nothing helps and nothing works to stop it.

I call my friend this morning.

Me: “Blah blah blah… did all I could but your main problem is that something is continuously writing to the hard drive and this sis sucking up a lot of your resources.”


Friend: “Well do you think it could be that program Spectre Pro I told you about that I installed to secretly record all keystrokes and what someone did on the computer?”

Me: “You didn’t tell me about that.”

Friend: “Oh I didn’t?”

The remainder of this conversation is left to the reader’s imagination.

Woof… this is the kind of thing that makes me wish I was a sociopath. That way, I would’ve taken the Thinkpad and did my best to jam it in her ear. That’s just me though. I’m sure there’s a more humane solution to this problem… but since it’s in the Pit, who the fuck wants that?

I say get yourself a voodoo doll, posthaste. Put some spurs to her. Literally.

astro: CLICK

If it’s just she and her husband and used for business, why is that program even desirable?

Isn’t it obvious? She’s spying on her husband.

This is why I will always have my own computer.

I chose not to broach that specific topic, but I’m going to hazard a guess that hubby does not know. This secret background monitoring program does not show up in memory using the three fingered salute (alt-ctrl-del). How it stealths it’s way around this I do not know. According to her, to get the monitoring applet to pop up you need to press alt-ctrl-shift at the same time then press “C” and a menu pops up and asks for a password.

Here is the home page for this insidious piece of crap. It’s a busy little beast. It’s no wonder the hard disk was being pounded.

Spector Pro

Well? Were you able to apply this new-found information to find the solution to the problem?

astro, I’d be very uncomfortable helping this woman with her computer. I can’t see any reason for this program being installed except for this woman to spy on her husband (see my post above). I know how I would feel about this if I was him and found out about it. You friend has placed you smack in the middle of a moral dilemma. Good luck.

Eh, if someone revealed to me that they were using a keystroke capture program, I’d tell them to get freaking bent. What a crummy thing to do.

Yeah, I would be real careful otherwise you will might be a witness at their divorce hearing.

Sounds like a bad situation. :frowning:

Bad typo monkey-- bad!


Take a breath. Just write down how you feel about this. Write down how sleezy it is. How you feel used. How you now feel stuck in the middle.

Now *enter that bitchfest you just wrote down into **her *computer.

Heck, that’s no big trick. There’s a lot of stuff Windows runs that doesn’t show up in the task manager. Try and find a service monitor (similar to http://download.com.com/3000-2094-6744972.html?tag=lst-0-3), it should show up there.

If it was up to me, I’d get her password, use it to uninstall the program and not tell her.

Not even touching the subject of the potential sleaziness of having this program installed in the first place, isn’t it a little objectionable that this woman tricked astro into wasting his weekend trying to get her computer ‘into shape’ despite already knowing what the problem was and not telling him about it?

EndItAll 2.0 is another nice freeware program that will show every task running on the computer, including those that don’t show up using Ctrl+Alt+Delete.

I use a keystroke logger on my own laptop, not for spying on people but just for peace of mind purposes. It takes up a tiny amount of memory and uses barely any CPU but it has saved me from losing work when my comptuer has crashed many times.

Have you already ruled out the possibility that she didn’t think it was an issue? The tone of

could be an honest inquiry. It’s possible that she didn’t know because she obviously knew enough to get the program, but if, say, a well-meaning friend suggested it and it didn’t occur to friend the first that this might possibly clog the machine down, I don’t see how friend the first knew it would cause said problem.

It’s possible that you’d want a recorder in case anyone else used your computer, and did something you wouldn’t want. Say, a friend sent an email in our name as a joke, or browsed porn sites or something.

Good point. Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity. Who said that, anyway?