The wonder and joy of online virus removal

Virus cloud featuredIt’s funny how yesterday’s joke becomes today’s reality.  Many years ago the tech support group I was part of did an in-depth survey of our customers to see what they thought of the job we were doing.  After the data was collected and analyzed we had a meeting about the results of the survey.

During the meeting we spent some time going over the comments made by our customers, and one of the comments was, “When I run into a problem with the software, I want to have your engineer sitting there next to me, helping me solve it.”  We actually laughed out loud when we heard this.  Even the managers laughed.  Why not ask for the moon, while you’re at it?  What were we supposed to do, project a hologram of our engineer into the chair next to him, pocket protector and all?  Or put an engineer in a box with some water and snacks and ship it via UPS?  Puh-leese.

Fast forward a couple of decades, and that seemingly outlandish idea has effectively become a reality.  Today an expert technician, or “agent”, can log into your computer remotely to assist you, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  It’s like they’re sitting next to you — only they can’t see that you’re in your bathrobe.  These experts can help with everything from setting up a printer to spyware and virus removal.

Consider this scenario: It’s late on a Saturday night, and you’ve just arrived home from the latest installment of your favorite worn-out movie franchise, Pirates of the Die Hard 6.  While mulling over just how horrible the lead actor was, you think to yourself, Wasn’t he the guy in that other atrocious movie I wasted $10 on recently?  It is a question of utmost importance, one which must be answered with haste.  Not answered next week.  Not answered tomorrow.  It must be answered now!

So, despite the late hour you are drawn to your computer like a moth to a flame.  You begin surfing the Internet, only to happen upon a link to a site that promises to make all of your wildest dreams come true.  After all, everyone knows that true happiness is only found on the Internet and in pharmacuetical ads on TV (look how happy the people in those ads are, even with all those nasty side-effects!).

Clicking the link, you realize too late that it is in fact nothing more than a gateway to a nasty virus or sneaky spyware.  Before you can say “starring Bruce Depp and Johnny Willis” your computer is infected.  At that point you must decide whether to take action immediately or go to bed and worry about it tomorrow.  Your initial impulse is to wait until tomorrow and get some rest, but it occurs to you that the spyware or virus your computer contracted might be stealing your bank account information, or worse yet your B-movie viewing habits, so you decide to work on the problem right away.

At this point your success or failure in removing the virus or spyware may depend on whether you seek expert help.  And even if you are successful in removing the virus yourself, you could spend hours searching online forums for information on the virus, downloading free virus-removal software, running the virus scan, and interpreting the results — which will no doubt require more searches on online forums to figure out exactly which of the programs that were flagged really is a virus.  Oh, and guess what?  That free anti-virus program you downloaded might not even get rid of the particular virus or spyware your computer is infected with.  It all adds up to a long, frustrating night.

There is, however, a better way.

Rather than waste time dealing with the headache of removing a virus you can let an expert do the work for you — in much less time.  If you have a subscription to a service like Dell Tech Concierge which can do online virus removal and more, you can immediately request live assistance from an expert who, with your permission, can log into your computer right then and there and begin cleaning up the virus or spyware.  It’s as if they are sitting at your computer and you’re looking over their shoulder.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the night or on a weekend, someone is available to help.  And while they’re logged into your computer removing the virus, why not also have them install the software for that shiny new printer which is collecting dust because you can’t find the time to install it yourself?

Think of it this way: most of us don’t do our own oil changes even though changing an engine’s oil is very simple.  Instead we go a Zippity Quick Lube and have someone else do it, because while changing oil is simple, it’s messy and time-consuming.  Our time is valuable to us, and we’d rather not hassle with going to the auto parts store; hunting through the garage for the tools we need; doing the oil change; disposing of the oil; getting cleaned up, etc.  So we take our car to a technician who has the tools needed to get the job done quickly and efficiently, which leaves us time for other things.  An added bonus is that the oil change technician might point out a problem with the car which we weren’t aware of.  Or maybe we have them replace our wiper blades while they’re at it, because that’s another thing we just haven’t had time to do.  By taking our car to Zippity Quick Lube we keep it in tip-top shape without a major investment of time, and it’s worth every penny.

Similarly, subscribing to an online tech support service is a great way to save time and hassle while keeping your computer in tip-top shape.  Not only can they do things like virus-removal that positively must be done, they can also take care of the little things that should be done, like installing that new printer software and setting up a backup schedule so you don’t lose your family pictures.  It’s about letting the experts do what they do best while freeing up your time to do what you would rather be doing.

Now if someone could just figure out a way to change my car’s oil through the Internet.  Hey, don’t laugh, you never know!

Cronus Dillard
Cronus Dillard is an applications engineer who escaped the Silicon Valley rat race to live in the boonies. When he's not writing about technology he can often be found feeding his pet chickens or playing hockey.
Cronus Dillard
Tags: IT Security,Technology