This is a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way and to be honest, I consider myself to be tech savvy and really should know better. 


I’ve had a new external hard drive sitting around gathering dust, waiting for me to back up my files and of course it was a job that I kept telling myself I would get around to and today… let’s just say, I wish I’d done it sooner!


It all started when I couldn’t access the external hard drive that I use to store all my files on. I don’t save anything directly onto my laptop or at least, very little. The external hard drive ensures everything is portable and in one place and it has more room than my laptop. The only exception is my client work which is saved in my cloud storage (shame I wasn’t so organised with my own files!)


At first, I was a little peeved that I couldn’t access my files but at that point, I didn’t panic. My laptop has been a bit glitchy recently (I know, I see my words and think, why didn’t I action it sooner!) and I didn’t think too much of it however after restarting it twice and still no access to the drive I started to worry. 


A thorough anti-virus scan showed me that everything was fine. 


Next I ran a troubleshooter for the system hardware and it informed me that there was an issue with the external hard drive (no! really?!?!) and to download an app to repair it. 


“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius


I decided not to go down that route for now and my next instinct was to download a free copy of Malwarebytes which I’ve used in the past and have found it to be a great piece of software that will unearth those hard to find gremlins that have somehow found their way onto a system.


Before running Malwarebytes, I removed my external hard drive from my laptop, turned off my internet connection and let the gremlin hunter do its thing. No surprises for guessing that it did indeed find the culprits causing my problems. It found two files with the PUP. extension in them. I’m aware that not all PUP’s are a problem, but most can be and they were quarantined.


“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities!” – Norman Vincent Peale


Next, the external hard drive was plugged back in and I ran the Malwarebytes, selecting the deep scan option for the external hard drive only.


Then I waited…

and waited…

and then waited a little more! 


Wow, how long was this scan going to take? 


Thank goodness for my mobile phone, I checked Auntie Google and apparently it isn’t unusual for the deep scan to take several hours, depending on what problems are lurking within the drive being scanned. 


The waiting, the not knowing if it could be retrieved was starting to drive me a little bonkers so I decided to pop to the shop for a few bits for the weekend…

you know, the essentials…

bread, milk… wine!


“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there.” – Zig Ziglar


When I got home, I couldn’t believe that it was still running! 


It did eventually finish 2 hours and 48 minutes later and it had found another nasty lurking on the external hard drive.  This wasn’t a PUP, it was something else. I actually don’t know what it was as I’m not that clued up on all the nasty bugs that creep into our systems but I can tell you, I was so relieved to not only find and quarantine the problem but also to now… finally… have access to my external hard drive once more.


You can guess what I did next…

No, I didn’t drink the wine, I saved that until after I backed up my precious and irreplaceable files.


If you haven’t backed up your files for a while… do it now!


If you don’t regularly run an anti-virus scan… do it now!


If you don’t have a specific software option for malware and rootkit issues…

I’d recommend the free trial version of Malwarebytes…


Here is a link via a site I have used many times and trust:

 (and no, this isn’t an affiliate link, I am simply a happy and relieved user who can highly recommend it).


Even if you think you are safe and protected, as I did… you may not be.


Stay safe out there and keep your files even safer.


“It is the hard days – the times that challenge you to your very core – that will determine who you are. You are defined not just by what you achieve but by how you survive.” – Sheryl Sandberg