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NAV Bites My Swapfile

If you don’t have a Mac, you might want to tune this one out. If you do, be sure to read it.

I just get my website up and running smoothly when my computer starts acting up. After running for a while, it just freezes up, which is really unusual for my iBook. It locks up all the time, especially while I’m surfing the web.

I figure maybe it’s the recent update to Mac OS X 10.3.9. Or maybe the update to QuickTime 7. So I ditch QuickTime 7 and reinstall 6.5.2. It doesn’t help. I poke away at other things, tossing out a gigabyte of old stuff, as my drive seems to suddenly have a lot less space on it. Nothing seems to work.

Then I remember I got a hacktool virus notice from Norton Anti-Virus earlier in the week. It said it couldn’t repair the file but it quarantined it. I didn’t pay it much attention, figuring it was just some Windows virus it wanted to crow about catching.

It turns out that the April 28 update of the NAV virus definitions can identify your virtual memory swapfile as infected by a virus. It then takes this massive file, removes it, and quarantines it. That’s where all my hard drive space went. It’s also what caused the crashes. As one guy on the Apple support site wrote, removing your swapfile is like randomly popping one of your RAM chips out of your motherboard. It’s bound to cause problems.

And it did.

Following the suggestion on the NAV website, I downloaded the updated virus prefs released yesterday. Instant problem vanisher. The iBook works fine again.

In the meantime, I lost a few bits of data, notably the file that holds all my web login passwords. There’s a lot of clicking on β€œLost your password?” links in my future.

The moral of the story: Pay more attention to your virus software warnings. It’s ironic that Mac OS X hasn’t spawned a known virus yet. Overactive anti-virus software caused the problem instead. There’s a metaphor for modern life in there somewhere if you care to pick at it.

Comments 6

  1. So, my question is — why are you running NAV at all? Not meant to be snide, but since viruses for OS X are more or less unheard of in the wild, what’s the point? Save yourself the $50, save the memory that it takes up, save the time in updating it — be freeeeee!

  2. So, my question is — why are you running NAV at all? Not meant to be snide, but since viruses for OS X are more or less unheard of in the wild, what’s the point? Save yourself the $50, save the memory that it takes up, save the time in updating it — be freeeeee!

  3. I got the program as part of Norton Systemworks, and the updates only cost something like $3/year. The updates happen automatically, so it doesn’t waste my time or gray matter.

    Mostly, I keep a virus checker around because I had viruses in the past with older versions of Mac’s OS, and it’s really only a matter of time before one crops up again on OS X. Since I do so much work on my machine, I’d rather go with the safer rout. I do nightly backups to an external drive too. πŸ™‚

  4. Post
    Author

    I got the program as part of Norton Systemworks, and the updates only cost something like $3/year. The updates happen automatically, so it doesn’t waste my time or gray matter.

    Mostly, I keep a virus checker around because I had viruses in the past with older versions of Mac’s OS, and it’s really only a matter of time before one crops up again on OS X. Since I do so much work on my machine, I’d rather go with the safer rout. I do nightly backups to an external drive too. πŸ™‚

  5. I know that this virus/mistake has hit me too I can reitirate Matt’s posistion.
    It totally blows that sam introduced this bug.
    By bug i mean a corruption and waste of time, data losing effect by mislapeing a virus as a system function.

    Have I lost time because of this “new defintion list”? aka bug/virus
    YES.

  6. I know that this virus/mistake has hit me too I can reitirate Matt’s posistion.
    It totally blows that sam introduced this bug.
    By bug i mean a corruption and waste of time, data losing effect by mislapeing a virus as a system function.

    Have I lost time because of this “new defintion list”? aka bug/virus
    YES.

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