So, after spending the entire day downloading multiple versions of the same antimalware program, executing multiple scans with an antirootkit utility, receiving multiple pieces of well-intentioned if unfortunately inapplicable advice, running multiple searches for an enigmatic program called “winnt32.exe,” learning an entirely new lexicon with entries as esoteric as the “Blue Screen of Death” (or BSoD for short), and reading online forum threads initiated by victims as hapless as (if not more florid than) yours truly, I achieved the stunning victory of disabling the rogue spyware program currently infesting my system.
The phrase “stunning victory” is an expression of resigned sarcasm, as disabling a rogue program is emphatically NOT the same as eliminating it entirely. Until I completely erase the bug from my system, it will simply regenerate every time I reboot my computer, assuming different identities upon each resurrection to evade my antimalware utility (which persistently informs me, to my amused despair, that “no infections have been detected”). The enemy, in short, is a bloody annoying piece of ingenuity.
(What makes it worse is my conspiracy-theory-triggered suspicion that these elegantly crafted bits of malevolence are spawned by the same companies peddling all the antimalware and antivirus programs—an application of the equally elegant economic truism that you can sell any product for as long as a demand exists.)
Partial victories notwithstanding, I’m inclined to celebrate. Because this time, I did not actually resort to my usual methods of: (1) bombarding my brother with profanity-ridden and panic-drenched text messages asking for help, and (2) bombarding my sister with the same when my brother is too busy to reply immediately. This time, I actually buckled down to the task of determining the nature of the enemy and independently exterminating it. While my efforts haven’t been entirely successful, I’ll simply put it down to baby steps.
At any rate, the option of reformatting still remains available.