by Sigi Rindler
I have been plagued by plagued by the Sampo virus on and off for years, must have infected every client's computer and caused a number of grievances. Fortunately this virus doesn't cause too much harm, except for the fact that a virus scanner like Norton Anti-Virus would kick and ask you whether it should remove the virus. I can't prove it, but this virus might be the cause for freezing the system when copying between the 3.5" A drive and the 5.25" B drive (yes, I still need these floppies for some clients). There is no particular pattern, but somebody on the Internet has mentioned the same symptoms that might ne associated with this virus.
Anyway, the other day I inserted a 3.5" floppy in drive A and invoked CMFiler to see what's on it. Norton Anti-Virus kicked in instantly and reported the virus. The program asked for removal. After that I'm not 100% sure what had happened since a phone call diverted my mind. I might have pushed some wrong key, but I did remove the virus since inserting the floppy again went without problems. I shut the computer down since it was already time to go to bed.
The next morning I switched the computer on, but halfway of the loading process I got the following message:
"Memory is infected with the Sampo virus. System halted!"
This one has never happened before. Only the floppy disks or the hard disk was infected and removal of the virus was easy.
Whatever I tried-pushing the Reset button, switching the computer off and on again, Windows 95 got stuck halfway...
Since my Anti-Virus program was a present from a friend in the states who won it at a Comdex sweepstake, I can't blame him for not including the manual which would have doubled the postage fee...
Anyway, I didn't make a rescue disk since the actual memory was never infected. At this moment I was close to leaping out of the basement window since a couple of jobs were on the HD and had to be sent out to clients in approx. 2 hours.
I searched my floppy boxes and found an old copy of FPROT, a pretty good anti-virus program from a guy from Island. The reason why I kicked it out was that Norton Anti-Virus will automatically detect the virus and sound off; the other program will do that when you search for viruses only.
The next disaster was already pre-programmed in my messy office. I couldn't find the latest DOS Reboot System Disk. The rebootable DOS 3.3 floppy couldn't access my 500MB C:\ drive.
After half an hour searching and creating even more mess, I found it and inserted the bootable DOS 6.22 in drive A, rebooted my computer, then run FPROT which got rid of the virus in no time. After that I was able to load Windows 95 again...
I must admit that this mishap seems to be rare, but it can happen to anybody else. Most people I know do not have a rescue disk, and many have no bootable DOS system disk either.
You might not need your bootable system disk or any of the rescue disks for a long time, but the software doomsday will undoubtedly strike at some point of your computing career. Usually at the worst time you can imagine....
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