Who Needs a Virus When You Have Me?

Wow, what a crazy couple of weeks it has been!

For starters, I’d like to begin with a moment that I’m certain will make it into the “Stupidest Computer Mistakes Hall of Shame.” On January 7th, 2004, an intermediate root certificate that is installed by default on Windows 2000-based computers expired. The expiration of this certificate caused erratic behavior on computers worldwide. Symptoms include a 15-second delay when opening the right click menu and problems running and updating the Norton Systemworks suite of utilities.

“Speak English, Kody!”

Okay, an explanation of root certificates… These are installed on Windows computers by default to allow secure transactions over the internet. The aforementioned expired certificate in question helped control SSL, which is probably what your web browser uses to communicate when the little padlock shows up.

Anyway, my computer starting exhibiting the symptoms, and I traced down my problem to the expired certificate. I undertook an epic quest of Googling and finally found an updated root certificate from Verisign. So, after having installed the updated certificate, and verifying that all was well, curiosity over these mysterious root certificates overwhelmed me. I decided to browse the others on my computer and noticed that several were expired – some since 1999.

“They have been expired for 5 years. Surely I’ll never need them again… right?”


After deleting some decidedly “unneeded” certificates, I found that I had caused more problems than I had solved. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing worked correctly anymore. I jumped on my second computer and hit the Microsoft knowledge base. Sure enough, I found this: Trusted Root Certificates That Are Required By Windows 2000.

I’m such an idiot. I basically fell for the Amish Computer Virus.9640f0195a7c3ed6

One painstaking Windows re-install later, I’ve learned more than I ever want to know about root certificates, and hopefully taught the rest of you that even the most savvy of computer users can get overconfident and delete things which should really remain untouched.

On the bright side, Kunshin is running much faster now. I tried doing a “lighter” install this time and kept the bloatware to a minimum, so at least my efforts weren’t a total loss.

I know you are all just dying to hear of my kidney issues. Sadly, there is no news to report. I’ve had no pain since my ER visit, and I’ve passed no stone to my knowledge. It has either disappeared or is gathering its strength for another attack.

I’ve noticed that my memory of the pain is still quite vivid, so I consider myself on a self-imposed “scared straight” program. My consumption of water has increased dramatically, and I’ve tried to eliminate my intake of carbonated beverages whenever possible. I hate water, but I hate pain and medical bills much worse, so I’ve elected to take the lesser of two evils.

An article I read recently (I’d link you to it if I could find it again) stated that if you do not drink the recommended eight 8oz. glasses of water a day, you actually feel worse mentally and physically because of “mild dehydration.” Drinking water all day instead of soda also helps you lose weight, since water has no calories and gives you a “full” feeling, whereas sodas are full of calories, and leave you hungry even after you’ve drank several.

I know I could stand to lose a few pounds and feel better, so bring on the Dasani!