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This does not sound like a malware issue at all. I think its something much more mundane, probably related to your power.

Hi, Leo. I've been an avid follower of your Ask Leo! and love it. I've had a problem recently with my PC and internet-connected TV. I'm running a Dell Inspiron Home Edition with Windows 7. My TV is a Sony. Both are connected to the internet through PC. We came home and the PC was flashing mallware and mallbites was attacked and will no longer work. Please download a fresh copy. After trying the PC to see what was affected, the printer would not work. The CD/DVD would no longer work. I installed a fresh copy of mallware and mallbites and ran it, but did not find anything. I ran System Restore to an earlier date and now all seems fine. My TV wiped out all stored programs. Onscreen guide is gone. Most internet settings were gone. My question: Is it possible for a TV to catch a bug from my PC? Am I losing my mind?

In this excerpt from Answercast #52, I look at a computer connected to a TV that suddenly lost settings. Sounds like a power problem!

Sudden TV malfunction

No, you're not losing your mind.

I will want one piece of clarification. I don't know what you're referring to when you say "mallware" and "mallbites." There is a program called Malwarebytes but it's a program called "Malwarebytes." There are not two separate things. I'm going to assume that's what you were referring to.

Power hit

You know what this really feels like? As I read this question, what came to mind immediately was a power hit.

By that I mean, while you were gone, something happened to the power to these devices. Perhaps it just went out and came back on again. Perhaps it was much less clean than that. Perhaps it went down a bit and then up again and then down a bit.

All of this can happen very quickly with respect to power. And, when power gets noisy like that (when power goes down and comes back and goes down and comes back) computers and other digital devices can react very negatively.

Lost settings

The fact that your TV lost all of its settings are really what made me think about this. It clearly caused some things to go wrong.

Like I said, I'm assuming it's a power hit. It feels like a power hit and it's just one of those things where the symptoms so closely match the kinds of things that I would expect after a power hit that I'm going to assume that. Honestly, that's probably what happened.

TV viruses

To actually answer your question, "Can a TV get a virus from your PC?"

No. TV's are typically running other operating systems to the extent that they're running an operating system at all. Very few of them that I know of will actually run Windows. If they do, maybe it's an embedded Windows, which again, is enough difference from Windows on your desktop that things like malware would not apply.

So, like I said, I don't think it's a malware issue at all. I really think it's something much more mundane. Something related to your power.

Brownout and surge protection

If this happens often, if this happens frequently, it might be time to look into something like an uninterruptible power supply or UPS. Or it could be as simple as turning the devices off when you're not using them.

As someone who leaves my machine on 24 hours a day, I know that turning off all the time would be a hassle. So I definitely understand that may not be the first thing you reach for.

But, like I said, if this is something that happens frequently, if you're in an area prone to power problems, then it's probably something you ought to look at addressing.

Article C5804 - September 13, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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1 Comment
September 14, 2012 2:39 PM

Digital televisions (and the DTV to NTSC-analog converters used with older sets) download their programming information from the on the air/cable or internet regularly and store the information each channel provides within it's signal. If the information is lost or incorrect consistantly you will want to reload that information using the programmable on-screen setup menus. If you restore some information yet it is horribly incorrect on one or more channels still, you might be wise to call the provider or broadcaster and ask about the problem.

Some stations get their data from a third party and this may not be right or there wasn't enough time to inform the party (these are set up weeks in advance). Special programming, news bulletins or complete changes in scheduling can create such problems.

Another real problem is that occasional the encoder that creates the digital signal malfunctions and what is called MAPPING creates virtual interference that creates havoc at your set.

Digital channels are VIRTUAL, that is they have no defining boudaries that you can associate with physical signals, only a set of sidebands that contain a digital stream and information on how to assemble it at the set. Thus they can be configure in virtually any manner the system is capable of. At least one station I heard of split their into more than 10 virtual TV and audio signals. This makes for marginal looking TV for not enough bandwidth to present a quality signal but it is easy to do.

Often times the best remedy is to switch to default setting and completely rescan. Persistant trouble can often be remedied this way.

But as I said earlier, contact the source of the faulty signal and ask them what to do and how to resolve trouble and get that UPS, surge protector capable of sparing your equipment bad, even fatal voltages.

The rating of total protection should be adequite, if not higher to filter our the huge spiked wattages these produced yet they are often ignored... they are very crucial to both you and ignoring is an unwise move.

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