LONE GUNMEN REPRESENT.
Guess where I'm accessing the Internet from?
Today I had a three-hour phone conversation with Robin, a Dell technician, and what we ended up doing was re-imaging my desktop computer (the Dell XPS). In other words, we restored it to its factory defaults; the computer is as it had been when I first got it set up in October.
Robin had me go through a lot of what Dad had asked me to do, including using Command Prompt (but with the PING command, which didn't work; its repeated "transmit failed, error code 5" meant that something bad was up). He even had me move the DSL modem and router from Aunt Pam and Uncle Larry's computer into my room to try to temporarily access the Internet so that he could perform Remote Access, but that did not work. System Restore did not work.
Long story short, Robin's further troubleshooting and research isolated the problem: I still had malware traces on my computer from when I'd dealt with the Trojan a month back. These malware signatures had disabled McAfee and were also tied into my networking problems. Robin discovered them by directing me into Device Manager and selecting Show hidden devices. Under Non-Plug and Play Devices, there were five entries for McAfee, showing that the malware had imitated the antivirus.
To access Dell's re-imaging option, I had to disable my PC's Fast Boot option (by pressing F2 on the startup menu), then I had to press Ctrl + F11 repeatedly to make sure that the computer understood that I wanted to access the re-imaging option. This took six separate attempts, and a restart was required for each attempt. Robin was ecstatic when I told him I was finally able to access that option.
I learned a shit-ton of technical stuff today. Just rechecked Non-Plug and Play Devices; those entries are still listed. Hmmm....
Regardless, I was extremely grateful for Robin's help and will call him again if I experience more trouble. I'll see how things go during these next few days.
BUT I'M ON THE INTERNET AND I'M AT HOME.
Oddly, I cannot access the Internet on my laptop, but I'll mess with that later.
When I got up this morning (nearly 12:00), I was surprised to find that Aunt Pam and Uncle Larry were gone. That hadn't told me that they would be anywhere, but I guessed that they'd gone to an appointment of some type.
They returned while I was still talking with Robin. Aunt Pam explained that they'd gone to the emergency room. Earlier this morning, when Uncle Larry had gone to feed Patch (Sherri and Ed's dog), he'd begun experiencing bad pain in his kidneys. The pain only worsened, eventually to the point were severe nausea set in, and Aunt Pam finally talked Uncle Larry into going to the hospital. Uncle Larry has dealt with about five to six kidney stones before, but there was no blood in his urine to indicate that his pain was caused by another kidney stone. His white blood cell count, on the other hand, was sky-high; he's got medication to fight off an infection and is resting at the moment.
I was shocked when I heard "emergency room." Robin asked me if things were alright, and I told him my uncle had had to go to the emergency room for a possible kidney stone. Robin related that his brother had gone through the same thing, and I shared that Dad had also dealt with a kidney stone several years ago. God, that thing scared the shit out of us.... I remember Dad crying and bent over in agony. Cammy and I ended up spending the night at our landlords' house (this happened when we lived in Weimar).( Friday shenanigans! )
Blaaaaah! I should go eat something else now. My talk with Robin took up a huge portion of the day... but I did get up at 12:00. :|