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Author Topic: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...  (Read 3270 times)

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Offline Ben Turnbull

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TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« on: July 02, 2015, 10:09:13 AM »
89 yr old father has trouble with his computer... again.  It never fails to amaze me what kind of mess he can make of his machines, especially in the last 5 years or so.  Probably symptomatic of something but that's not the issue here. 

Has anyone seen this sort of mess on a PC desktop before?  If so, was this viral in nature or a hardware fail or operator error? 
It almost looks like some kind of screen shot, saved as wallpaper and tiled... all accidentally. It also seems like the solitaire is an open app and working OK. He's not local or I'd be handling it first hand.

It's a Dell lappy IIRC and running XP. 

Any feedback is helpful.

Thanks
« Last Edit: July 02, 2015, 10:14:00 AM by Ben Turnbull »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2015, 10:38:12 AM »
Restart.

Just looks like an odd tiled desktop image, but can otherwise see nothing visually wrong.. maybe an accidental click on "Set as Desktop Background" left-click context menu?
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Offline Ben Turnbull

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2015, 10:53:31 AM »
Yeah, well, if it were only that easy.  This started  last night and I can only assume he's shutting down the machine over night. 
(He is, 'just confirmed on the phone.)

The blank white field behind the card game is the limits of the desktop on which he has access and mobility of the icons, he says. (Think I see a New Folder setting mid screen in that area but I'm not quibbling with him now.)  Nothing will move farther left into what appears to be FaceBook related.

I'll learn more after work when I can access my back up XP machine... I still have a JB3  ::)

More when I check in later,
Thanks!
« Last Edit: July 02, 2015, 10:55:42 AM by Ben Turnbull »
Who came first, Dave King or Zack Galifianakis?...
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DPA4021/SKM140/NakCM1k/ADK A51s/Countryman B3/ATes943/SPc4/och... > TinyBox OT> PCM-M10/DR-680/R4/T+mod UA5 needs attention

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2015, 11:22:17 AM »
Some kind of active desktop windowing going on maybe?  I'm not much help. 
Although I do plenty of this kind of thing with my own folks so I know the pain.  Good luck.

sent from my XP desktop
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Offline dnsacks

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2015, 11:22:41 AM »
you might want to consider a remote access solution so that you can take control of his machine from your computer -- I've had great luck working through the various issues my 83 year old mother in law has gotten herself into this way.  I've been using logmein (www.logmein.com) to do this, it's been OK, but is no longer free -- advantage to me over simple windows remote access is that my mother in law and I can both watch what's going on and interface with the computer @ the same time

Offline flipp

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2015, 11:42:22 AM »
you might want to consider a remote access solution so that you can take control of his machine from your computer -- I've had great luck working through the various issues my 83 year old mother in law has gotten herself into this way.  I've been using logmein (www.logmein.com) to do this, it's been OK, but is no longer free -- advantage to me over simple windows remote access is that my mother in law and I can both watch what's going on and interface with the computer @ the same time

^^ this, but I used CrossLoop (which is no longer available since AVG bought it) which was just a frontend for TightVNC which is still available and still free. I've never used tightvnc without a frontend so don't know if both users see the same thing

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2015, 01:43:07 PM »
Ben, that looks like a Flash logo, and there has been a major exploit out since Last week regarding FLASH player.
http://www.securityweek.com/adobe-flash-player-zero-day-exploited-attack-campaign
https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2015/06/29/latest-flash-hole-already-exploited-ransomware/

I recommend using malwarebytes ( they have a free version for home use) to clean the machine and follow up if any bad critters are found.

www.malwarebytes.org/

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Offline JimmieC

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2015, 02:54:10 PM »
www.malwarebytes.org/ is very useful on an XP machine.  It will detect some (may be a lot) malware for sure and remove them. 
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Offline Ben Turnbull

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2015, 06:16:33 PM »
OK team, I'm back on it. Thanks for all the ideas. 

I wonder, given the state of his abilities if he'd be able to install a remote access app as suggested?  I'm sure things would be simpler if I'd installed something 6 months ago on his machine.  ;D

That is a Flash logo, not FB.  You might be onto something. 

He might be running a malware app... most likely two.  I've told about the folly of running two of these but to little effect.  ::)

I'm calling him back now to see if I can get something figured out.

Thanks again.

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DPA4021/SKM140/NakCM1k/ADK A51s/Countryman B3/ATes943/SPc4/och... > TinyBox OT> PCM-M10/DR-680/R4/T+mod UA5 needs attention

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2015, 06:42:09 PM »
I have walked my 77 yo father through installing logmein, it isn't too difficult; however, I do this for work so i am used to the entire process from the end users pov.
You would have to set up an account and make his machine one of yours; i.e. set it up on one of your computers first, then do it on his.
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Offline Ben Turnbull

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2015, 07:34:36 PM »
^ You're hired!

 I just spent over an hour on the phone w/Dad and all I know is that he's got the current Flash version installed... he doesn't know how he did it but he did.  :P

In the interim he somehow managed to loose the Flash logo and the small "app windows" that were arrayed on the left in the blue.  But now the blue is moving to towards the right of the screen.  He can also move and place application icons anywhere. 

I worked w/him to see if we could set the desktop to "none" but that failed.   Odd.  His monitor setting screen shows a dual monitor view but I'm certain he's only got one display, unless that is what you get if you run a large screen with the lappy closed, as he does.  That's prolly it...

I did teach him, again, how to lock his task bar which some how managed to float to the top of his screen. 

I now have a 3hr road trip for tomorrow.  Wish me luck.  ;D

PS.  his latest screen shot... is a camera shot of the screen downloaded and emailed to me.  I don't have the heart to enter into the concept of screen capture...

« Last Edit: July 02, 2015, 07:46:11 PM by Ben Turnbull »
Who came first, Dave King or Zack Galifianakis?...
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DPA4021/SKM140/NakCM1k/ADK A51s/Countryman B3/ATes943/SPc4/och... > TinyBox OT> PCM-M10/DR-680/R4/T+mod UA5 needs attention

Offline MakersMarc

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2015, 08:42:55 PM »
Take solace in your dad being more computer savvy than me. You know I don't lie.  ;D
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Offline Ben Turnbull

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2015, 09:08:51 PM »
I know you think you're on the right track, but you've got a long way to go (down) to match Dad's "ability".  ;D

You never did tell me if you are able to deal with flac files.  "I'll take my answer off the air."
Who came first, Dave King or Zack Galifianakis?...
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DPA4021/SKM140/NakCM1k/ADK A51s/Countryman B3/ATes943/SPc4/och... > TinyBox OT> PCM-M10/DR-680/R4/T+mod UA5 needs attention

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2015, 09:33:21 PM »
No.  :facepalm:
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Offline Ben Turnbull

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2015, 03:05:55 AM »
 :facepalm:
Who came first, Dave King or Zack Galifianakis?...
-My name is Ben, and I'm an AQhaulic ranting hysterically in my dotage
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DPA4021/SKM140/NakCM1k/ADK A51s/Countryman B3/ATes943/SPc4/och... > TinyBox OT> PCM-M10/DR-680/R4/T+mod UA5 needs attention

Offline flipp

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2015, 09:26:40 AM »

I worked w/him to see if we could set the desktop to "none" but that failed.   Odd.  His monitor setting screen shows a dual monitor view but I'm certain he's only got one display, unless that is what you get if you run a large screen with the lappy closed, as he does.  That's prolly it...


A couple quick thoughts:
* Does the Dell have the capability to display only the external monitor?  All my IBM Thinkpads have this capability - laptop only, external only or both. Perhaps which display the image goes to got changed and if coupled with the below may explain the strange sidebar-like background.
* Is the minimum desktop size of the external larger (say 1440x900) than the largest size of the laptop (say 1024x768)? If so that might be the cause of the sidebar-like left side of the screen; however, the left side looks like a miniaturized and tiled version of an old program called CoolIris which could show all the images in a folder on the comp. Twas a great program but alas is now only available for mobile devices. What I find most worrisome is the flash logo.

Since you'll be there in person, install any remote access, anti-malware/spyware programs you want and then show your dad how to operate them.

Good luck


< eta I just went to https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ and the graphic on the left side of the screen is identical to the tiled images on the left side of your Dad's screen so I'm almost positive the problem is one of screen resolution or a multiple monitor setting </eta>
« Last Edit: July 03, 2015, 01:00:14 PM by flipp »

Offline Ben Turnbull

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2015, 02:46:32 AM »
Well, I'm back.  :P  What a day.
I've posted my situation at Bleepingcomputer.com in the XP forum pages and have had a lively and helpful exchange.  Unfortunately no one can explain why the desktop (Dad calls it the "homepage") is behaving the way it is.  He has other issues with a couple of files that have gone missing.  A DaemonProcess.exe can't be found and an Otcore4.dll or Qtcore4.dll... can't recall which.  I did download Malwarebytes.com's free scan tool and had some fun with that.  There was no restore point set ever it seems so that was out.  I downloaded that TightVNC that Flipp suggested, and it's sitting in my folder on his desktop waiting for my call to install it. That should happen ... today I guess it is.  From there I'm not sure where to go.  He has no software/OS discs from which to do a full reinstall.  Perhaps I can eventually learn where the orphaned files need to go... likely in a Windows system32 spot maybe...

He has full control of the desktop icons and the browser that he uses is functional as is his email client and the MS solitaire game so for now he's able to work, it's just frustrating that the boot process is so dysfunctional and the desktop is acting so oddly.

Flipp, to answer your last post, he's been running that lappy in a docking station for well over a year with lid down and full size keyboard and monitor being served.  I guess I never opened the lid to see if the laptop screen was active but sleeping all this time.  My bad.

Thanks for all your help, wish me/us luck going forward... My brother suggested we fix it like all the other mash ups that he's created/been plagued with;  replace the PC.  Works every time. ::)

Safe 4th everyone.
Who came first, Dave King or Zack Galifianakis?...
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DPA4021/SKM140/NakCM1k/ADK A51s/Countryman B3/ATes943/SPc4/och... > TinyBox OT> PCM-M10/DR-680/R4/T+mod UA5 needs attention

Offline dnsacks

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2015, 10:13:04 AM »
ben:

few thoughts --

1) logmein.com has a free 30 day trial -- might be easier for your dad to install than the thinvmc

2) if you dad has a serial # for windows xp (frequently affixed to the pc) it's easy to find and download a replacement -- http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=25129

3) getting an entirely new computer isn't that bad of an idea either -- computers that would be plenty quick for web browsing/basic stuff can easily be had for under $400 -- check out local big box specials @ salescircular.com -- in colorado, there are quite a few options in this price range -- i'd avoid computers with less than 4gb ram

Offline Ben Turnbull

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2015, 10:29:43 AM »
^ That idea of replacing the OS from MS might fly, but do they track purchase/ownership records?  This is a $100 box that my bro hooked him up with from a bud whose hobby it is to rebuild and sell Dell lappys.  If we went that far I think I'd update his whole system first.

I've been reading the doc on TightVNC and so far, if I can get him to click the right buttons, it looks like it will work.

Thanks for the suggestions, much appreciated.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2015, 11:17:06 AM by Ben Turnbull »
Who came first, Dave King or Zack Galifianakis?...
-My name is Ben, and I'm an AQhaulic ranting hysterically in my dotage
Official Archivist for Jazz Central Studios, MinniMN
DPA4021/SKM140/NakCM1k/ADK A51s/Countryman B3/ATes943/SPc4/och... > TinyBox OT> PCM-M10/DR-680/R4/T+mod UA5 needs attention

Offline if_then_else

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2015, 12:18:46 PM »
^ That idea of replacing the OS from MS might fly, but do they track purchase/ownership records?  This is a $100 box that my bro hooked him up with from a bud whose hobby it is to rebuild and sell Dell lappys.  If we went that far I think I'd update his whole system first.

I've been reading the doc on TightVNC and so far, if I can get him to click the right buttons, it looks like it will work.

Thanks for the suggestions, much appreciated.

Might just be too big of a step for a 89 year old, but did you already think about replacing the Windows OS by a Linux distribution or a Windows image?
With an image / virtual disk you could reset the system to its original state after each logout / reboot. Data (documents, emails etc.) could be stored in an area to which your father would be granted read/write access. In a similar vein many computer classrooms at universities or schools are administered in order to prevent users from manipulating the OS.

Offline Ben Turnbull

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Re: TSKB: Help an old man to help his old man...
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2015, 02:59:00 PM »
Ha, all he has to do now is find the icons that "do what he wants" whether it's open Google search (His Google) or start a PacMan game or email.  Reloading to any form of '_nix', while affording security and stability, is just not a practical solution.  I appreciate the considered thought that goes into your comment, but it's starting to look like swapping the box is the only practical solution. 

Not long ago I was on the phone to him trying to install TightVNC.  We couldn't even talk on the same page so the next time I visit I'll have to set it up myself... if it's not to swap boxes for him. 

God bless him, the damned internet and the odd game are all that he finds to occupy his time.  His mobility is about 50% so he doesn't even go out to coffee with the boys much anymore, a onetime everyday activity.

Getting old sucks.  Don't do it if you can avoid it.

I think I'll lock this up.  We've done all we can for now.  If anyone wants to share something new, specific to fixing the failure of the desktop image to render correctly, drop me a PM. 
Thanks again all.
Who came first, Dave King or Zack Galifianakis?...
-My name is Ben, and I'm an AQhaulic ranting hysterically in my dotage
Official Archivist for Jazz Central Studios, MinniMN
DPA4021/SKM140/NakCM1k/ADK A51s/Countryman B3/ATes943/SPc4/och... > TinyBox OT> PCM-M10/DR-680/R4/T+mod UA5 needs attention

 

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