After a marathon session of computer work induced by a snow storm that kept me homebound much of the day yesterday, I have finally vanquished the virus that has been ravaging my laptop with the help of an update to Norton Anti-Virus that finally recognized the beast. So, the war is over and the reconstruction stage has begun.
Alas, reconstruction won't be easy. The sustained campaign to kill the thing did quite a bit of damage to the software infrastructure of the machine, although I lack the forensic capacity to discern what was done by the virus, and what was done by me in the course of trying to destroy it.
Suffice it to say the drivers for the CD-ROM, digital camera memory card, and audio functions of the laptop have been ravished, that the settings have been thrown drastically out of whack, and that there may still be undiscovered damage lurking in the hard drive.
Linux is still looking attractive, because I really don't want to endure this again, but before then, I'll need to sequester the surviving data someplace safer, without the benefit of a CD-ROM drive, and evaluate all possible options.
My laptop, from a hardware perspective, is probably the best computer that I've ever owned, so simply abandoning it is out of the question. But, cleaning up will still be a long slog.