Longtime subscriber Mike G. wrote with an intermittent problem that was bugging him — enought that he termed it a virus.
I was wondering if you have run across what I am calling the "Q virus".
What happens is after booting, anytime a properties selection is made after highlighting a shortcut icon is that the "Target" attribute is overwritten with a string of lower case q’s.
Likewise if a windows explorer is opened, the first entry that can be found that starts with Q, case does not matter, is selected, and nothing else can be selected.
Likewise, if any shortcut on the desktop is double clicked, the first program that begins with Q begins to run.
The way I have found to stop that behavior is to open a start window. The search bar starts filling up with lower case q. Highlight the entry and type over it cmd, and press the enter key.
I did do a restore to my last configuration I had before the problem started, replacing the entire "C:" drive. The problem repeated itself, so I have no idea where it might be hiding.
It seemed to me that Mike’s problem would take some really weird programming, if it really was caused by some sort of malware. Further, if it was malware, what would it’s purpose have been?
That got me thinking a little more broadly — which took me to thoughts of hardware…
The problems he was seeing could be caused by a keyboard problem. A sticking Q key could cause those issues, although I”m not sure why it would stop causing the Q problem.
I wrote to Mike suggesting that he might have a key sticking on his keyboard. I recommended that he try a different keyboard to see what happened with it.
Mike wrote back to report:
Thanks Terry. That appears to have been the issue. I don’t know why I did not think of that… Probably too centered on software issues, forgetting completely that there are hardware devices connected as well…