So...My Dad's Computer Has a Virus...

...and my sisters told him to call ME because I'm the expert in the family (which points a quivering, pathetic finger at the degree of computer illiteracy in my family). So that's what I've been up to the last few days.

My Dad does not have any IM programs like Messenger or Skype or MessengerSkype whatever the hell it is now. He uses Internet Explorer. He calls the desktop a "screen saver". Which I learned to translate early on, fortunately.

Dad: I hit the "internet" button and Internet Explorer automatically opens

Me: Oh. OK. Where is the "internet" button located on your comptuer?

Dad: On my screen saver.

Me: Ahh... [it's too bad I didn't think to ask what other icons were on his screen saver as that would have saved me a lot of time]

I tried to walk him through sending me an invite, via email, so I could assist him remotely because he lives several thousand miles away but creating an invite was beyond him today so trying to walk him through "attaching" an invite was a no go. He doesn't own a cell phone. My parents are stressing about this virus and feel like it has compromised the very fabric of their lives. I can't have them being fearful like that. They click things over and open several unnecessary windows when they panic. There were times when I had to have him close seven search boxes leaving him with just one open and I still can't be sure it was search boxes he opened because he said the search pane was disabled (my word).

Dad: The thing with the magnifying glass won't let me type anything and the computer keeps dinging. Do you want to hear it?"

Me: No, Dad. Unless you need me to hear it...

I was attempting to get him to open the search box so we could find the program he downloaded because he didn't know where it went when it finished downloading. I must have taken him to several locations, each taking a dizzying amount of time, trying to find something that said "My Downloads" but no. There was nothing. I know! Weird, right? *rubs temples*

Me: The search box won't let you search anything?! OK...Let's try and find the antivirus program another way. Open your browser and look for "tools" in the top tool bar.

Dad: What's a browser?


I can't count how many times he stayed up until 2 am on weekends so he could drive me home from my first job in fast food just so he knew I'd be home safe. So it was not a problem for me to commit a few hours to this issue and gently walk him through the simplest (to me) steps in fifteen different ways until we accomplished three things.

1. He set his home page to gmail's log in page. Besides sending out spam from his yahoo account, the virus had switched his homepage to something else. I couldn't make out his explanation about what he was seeing and of course I couldn't see it myself.

2. He downloaded and found (in "my downloads" which, I found out too late, was located on his desktop screen saver disguised as a shortcut right from the start!) the free antivirus program by following a link I emailed to him. This was a process that took several hours over two days. Yes, it did.

3. He installed the antivirus program and now it is performing a deep scan of his computer. As we speak.

Meanwhile we chatted. He hates computers. He rails at learning this new information because he doesn't understand what he's learned once he's learned it. I get that. I think it's pretty cool they even own a computer but after three years of them using it, it needs a lot of help. Baby steps.

Thanks, Dad, for everything you did for me and for never losing your patience. My sisters underestimate what they know about computers and don't have the patience to help him. Unlike them, I was a challenging, rebellious daughter and I haven't even begun to pay back what I owe him.


iambriezy said...

Oh my. I can relate to this so much. I've also become the "expert" to my mom. I've come to expect that when I tell her to type in a web address, it will be typed into the search box on IE. Then she knows to click the top link to get the page to load. This has become standard procedure as I have tired of trying to explain to her the difference between the search bar and the address bar.

Frimmy said...

Exactly!! I stopped myself from saying URL so many times and I started using HIS word for desktop (screen saver) and I felt so...deceitful for enabling his ignorance but he would NOT have been able to understand anything I said if I had called stuff by their real names.

I have to wait until tomorrow to find out if any of these hours and hours of hand holding paid off. I might not make it. lol

Angie said...

I can't even tell you how happy it makes me that Kurt's parents have no interest in the internet. There for a while, they had our old desktop and she used it to play Solitaire and once...just once, there was talk of getting "that Internet". Well, you can imagine how fast I shot THAT down.

Frimmy said...

The internets is no place for seniors


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