Ramblings & ephemera

Steve Ballmer couldn’t fix an infected Windows PC

From David Frith’s “Microsoft takes on net nasties” (Australian IT: 6 June 2006):

MICROSOFT executives love telling stories against each other. Here’s one that platforms vice-president Jim Allchin told at a recent Windows Vista reviewers conference about chief executive Steve Ballmer.

It seems Steve was at a friend’s wedding reception when the bride’s father complained that his PC had slowed to a crawl and would Steve mind taking a look.

Allchin says Ballmer, the world’s 13th wealthiest man with a fortune of about $18 billion, spent almost two days trying to rid the PC of worms, viruses, spyware, malware and severe fragmentation without success.

He lumped the thing back to Microsoft’s headquarters and turned it over to a team of top engineers, who spent several days on the machine, finding it infected with more than 100 pieces of malware, some of which were nearly impossible to eradicate.

Among the problems was a program that automatically disabled any antivirus software.

“This really opened our eyes to what goes on in the real world,” Allchin told the audience.

If the man at the top and a team of Microsoft’s best engineers faced defeat, what chance do ordinary punters have of keeping their Windows PCs virus-free?

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