IE hell

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I ran into my first Internet Explorer mess yesterday, and I decided I have to comment on it here. Up until yesterday, I’ve been fortunate to avoid having to clean up a hosed computer from IE usage, as most of my friends and family don’t use IE. But my brother-in-law called yesterday, and his mess was a wonder to behold.
He couldn’t even get on the Internet because of so much spyware and suspected viruses. He would start up IE and things would either slow to a crawl, or IE would crash. The first thing I did was have him install AVG Antivirus. A complete virus scan of his system turned up 53 VIRUSES! I am not kidding. Admittedely, a lot of those would be one virus infecting multiple files, but still that’s insane. After we cleaned all of that up, I told him we should install FireFox, so that his spyware problems would go away. Well after a lengthy download (he has dialup), the installer wouldn’t run. Apparently his system is hosed enough from all the viruses that FireFox can’t make the API calls it needs. We saw the same problem with a spyware removal tool.
At this point, we had been on the phone for a couple of hours, and his Internet was functioning again, so we called it a day. But this was a perfect example of the hell that a lot of IE users deal with everday because of Microsoft’s irreresponsible development of such an open browser.