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Author Topic: Safe Computing  (Read 121245 times)

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Safe Computing
« on: June 10, 2006, 08:08:50 AM »
(Links are at bottom of text)

This post is meant to be an introduction for new members of ComputerHope and basic problem prevention and solving.

Before you can expect an optimally running system, you should make sure that it is clean and you have proper protection in place. Sometimes a system has just been too compromised and a full Windows reinstallation is required, including formatting (erasing) the hard drive. In this event, make sure all of your data files are backed up. A format and reinstall will definitely solve malware problems.

At the very least you need a spyware and virus protection program. Usually two spyware programs are a good idea, but only one full time loaded virus program is sufficient. Some are more resource intensive than others, can slow your system down, and be a real pain to uninstall later. Norton fits in this category, but many people are happy using and paying for it. AVG Free is, of course free, and provides real time protection.

For Spyware there are a lot of safe, and free choices. AdAware and Spybot are my personal favorites, but others use SpySweeper and others. Some of these programs are for removal, others are for protection from infestation. A program like CCleaner is also VERY helpful.

Be warned that there are MANY spyware prevention programs that are just that -spyware! Be careful of programs that you do not see on this list.

Any of these spyware programs should be updated first, then turn system restore off and run it in Safe Mode (F8 at boot time before you see the Windows logo). Anything found can be deleted safely.

Occasionally more resistant malware is found and Ewido (now AVG AntiSpyware) can be helpful for getting these trojans on Windows 2000 and XP systems only. This is available as a 30 day trial version or you may buy the product if you like it. The above suggestions for running in safe mode with system restore off is applicable.

The reason is that a restore can be harboring malware, and without doing this you run the risk of reinfecting the system.

Any unknown popup that says "Your computer has a problem. Click here to fix it" or similar should be a red flag. Do NOT click on the link or you will definitely be further infected. It also requires that you deal with the problem immediately with the above action.

For continued problems, system slowdown, etc. you can run Hijack This. It will create a log file that you can zip up and post on the ComputerHope forum when requested for analysis. If you are posting it unzipped, you will need several posts to include it all, as there is a word limit per post. The full logfile must be submitted.

Some specific infections require specific solutions not covered here, such as SmitFraud. You can do a Google search for these or post in the Virus Topic on ComputerHope for more assistance.

Download Links:

CCleaner is free at www.ccleaner.com  The link to how to set it up is at:

AdAware is free here: http://www.majorgeeks.com/download506.html

Spybot is free here: http://www.majorgeeks.com/download2471.html

SpySweeper can is free here: http://www.majorgeeks.com/download3263.html

AVG Free and AVG AntiSpyware are available here: http://free.grisoft.com/doc/1

Hijack This is free here: http://www.majorgeeks.com/download3155.html

For a fresh install of Windows, before even connecting to the Internet you need to have Service Pack 2 installed (if using XP) with the fireall turned on and virus/spyware protection in place. If not, you WILL be infected within seconds. Don't even plug in the cord to connect until you are safe.

If SP2 is not installed on a system, it should not be installed if the user suspects the computer to be infected with malware.
SP2 will not install correctly and the user will probably end up with more problems.
If you have no Service Packs at all you should install SP1a first. Link to that here ...

« Last Edit: July 25, 2008, 03:49:22 AM by Carbon Dudeoxide »