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Scared of my computer

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Andrew W., Dec 21, 2005.


  1. Andrew W.

    Andrew W.

    Nov 28, 2004
    My computer is acting like it is infected with something (spyware, adware, virus, whatever-the-f...), and it seems like I can't get rid of it. I get pop-up ads (never a problem before), I click on links and they won't open, computer will run slow, I get those Winfixer ads that claim (don't know if they are true or not) that my computer is being hacked into.

    Now why it really worries me is because I run Norton Anti-virus and Spybot (I don't know if is a great program or not), but this ish still happens. Can anyone help me out?

    I am also worried because I know I am getting an Ipod for Christmas. Is there any possibility my f-ed up computer can f-up my brand new Ipod?

    Thanks,
    -Andrew W.
     
  2. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Melnibone
    Try these:
    Adaware
    Ewido
    Microsoft AntiSpyware
    HijackThis is good (if you know what you are doing).

    Do a free scan at Trend Micro.

    You need to get rid of Winfixer.
     
  3. Andrew W.

    Andrew W.

    Nov 28, 2004
    Thank you

    One thing I want to stress though:

    I want to know if my screwed up computer will screw up my ipod.
     
  4. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    It won't screw your iPod up. But, if music files have become corrupted then those files might not playback. But it wouldn't do any damage to the iPod.
     
  5. Andrew W.

    Andrew W.

    Nov 28, 2004
    Thank you. I couldn't find that much information from combing through all kinds of FAQs from all kinds of websites for hours.
     
  6. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Winfixer is a HUGE problem. If you are infected with Winfixer, it is much faster to format your hard drive, and reinstall your OS. Unless you have a bazillion programs on your PC. If that is true, then be prepared to set aside a few hous to track down and kill Winfixer. I spent over three hours on one the other night.

    -Mike
     
  7. Maverick Blues

    Maverick Blues Being a Thumper is all about ATTITUDE!

    Apr 28, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    Good advice in this thread! Not much to add except to expand on something already hinted at.

    Spybot S&D is a good program. AdAware is also good. For whatever reason though, each of them misses a few things that the other finds. I run both on my machines, as do a lot of folks.

    Decide which one you like better (user interface, how it handles cleanup, whatever). Then when it's time to check for nastyware, run that one first. Once it's done, launch the other one to do a cleanup sweep. Between the two they'll catch just about everything in the adware/spyware category.

    'rick
     
  8. Seconding "use both." If you're not using a bunch of programs, I would recommend running a scan on both, rebooting, and immediately scanning again to catch anything that might be trying to replicate itself. Spybot's background scanning service is also useful to have running.
     
  9. Andrew W.

    Andrew W.

    Nov 28, 2004
    I think I might do this; I am not too computer technical (why I started the thread lol), and I have lots of junk programs and files I have accumulated that I want to get rid of.

    I have read a little bit about doing this, but I am still not exactly sure what to do. I have Windows XP, but I don't know where the OS disk is right now (might or might not find it). What I gather is I just stick the OS disk in, it wipes my hard drive clean, it re-installs the OS, and it returns the computer to the way it was when I bought it. Is this correct? Is there anything else I need to do (besides make copies of the files I want to keep)?

    Also, people tell me that there will be some files that will not be cleared when I format my hard drive. Is this true? I have found that software is offered that claims it will completely clear the hard drive of any missed and/or hidden files. Are they worth using? Which ones work best?

    Thanks
    Thanks
    and much more Thanks,
    -Andrew W.
     
  10. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    When you boot to the install disk, it will walk you through the process to reformat your hard drive. You need to reformat before you do an install. There are alot of variables after you reformat, but I think it is safe to say that you won't be needing to create partitions on your hard drive. Go ahead and delete all partitions, format the drive, and install XP on the hard drive. Just read the screens carefully so that you do a full wipeout of the hard drive, and format it.

    For the average home user, this process will remove all files from the PC. If you are really concerned, you can erase the master boot record as well. That may contain some virus info, but usually does not.

    At the conclusion of all of this, your PC will be returned to the way it was the day you bought it, and maybe better. If you have a genuine XP disk, you will just get XP on your system, and none of the "extras" that came from the maker of your PC. If you have some kind of restore or rescue disk, likely it will return the computer to the way it was the day you bought it....including any and all programs that they installed for you.

    -Mike
     
  11. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    BTW, try running Adaware, Spybot, and Norton scans in SAFE MODE as well. Sometimes it will catch things that cant be caught in normal windows mode.
     
  12. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    My beef with SPYBOT is that it's always stopping the computer with these annoying messages about how its blocking something.

    The only thing it seems to be blocking is my ability to open webpages.
     
  13. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Melnibone
    You can turn that off.
     
  14. Maverick Blues

    Maverick Blues Being a Thumper is all about ATTITUDE!

    Apr 28, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    I presume you're referring to either Resident Shield or Teatimer, since Spybot S&D itself isn't resident and doesn't do any real-time checking of your Internet activities.

    Unless you're hyper-paranoid, I don't know that running Resident Shield is really necessary. A weekly scan with Spybot S&D and/or AdAware or similar will keep a machine pretty clean. And those who are hyper-paranoid are probably comforted by those "annoying messages." :)

    Try turning off Resident Shield and/or Teatimer and just using the S&D scan on whatever schedule you'd like, and see if you don't find that a little less annoying.

    For the record, Spybot S&D was around for a long time before they added Teatimer and Resident Shield, and it did its job just fine without them. The new additions just tighten the screws down more, and only you can decide how tight your screws need to be. ;)

    'rick

    P.S. I don't use Resident Shield so this is just a shot in the dark, but you might also check through its menus and see if there isn't a "quiet" setting that stops all the "annoying messages" and has it just quietly do its job. There might also be settings to make it a little less aggressive so it doesn't interfere with your browsing as much. Configure it the way you want it to work!
     
  15. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Melnibone
    Clicking on "Immunize" and selecting "block all bad pages silently" will stop the "annoying messages".
     
  16. For the love of God, when you back up your stuff, don't back up any infected files, or the virus itself!
     
  17. Andrew W.

    Andrew W.

    Nov 28, 2004
    Well, I definately do not know where the OS/reboot disk is. I called up Gateway, and they won't send me a new one (they want me to buy a new one for $200). Is there any way around this? Can't I download one from somewhere?

    Thanks,
    -Andrew W.
     
  18. I think I'll forget you just asked that last question.....

    At this point, I suggest that you find someone locally who can help you clean up your computer, but you can probably clean up the spyware yourself with some effort.

    Use AdAware, Spybot, etc... to identify and remove the spyware. Some will require manual removal.

    If you go to Start>Run and type in msconfig, you can find out what programs are loading at boot. Take a look there and Google the names of anything suspicious.

    I'd also recommend going to Add/Remove Programs, Google the names, and remove anything suspicious.

    Press Ctrl-Alt-Del and see what programs/processes are running in the background, then use Google to find out what they are, and delete anything suspicious.

    Be careful when deleting, making sure that what you are deleting is in fact malware/spyware, etc.... Google is your friend - use it!

    Once you have an idea of what you need to remove, it can also help to boot in safe mode, so that you can diagnose and clean the machine without the infection present.

    Basically you are going to have to go through your computer methodically until the infection is eradicated. It can be an arduous task, but after learning how to identify and remove spyware, you probably will be much more informed and much less likely to get infected again.
     
  19. Have you tried to update Norton?

    Run "liveupdate", than scan your computer. Norton may have a fix for it.