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Old 03-16-2005, 05:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: St. Louis/Cincinnati
Near Cure-All for Spyware/Adware/Viruses

Somebody try and make this a sticky as every day there is new thread about spyware issues.
Programs used:
Microsoft Anti-Spyware (Beta):Microsoft Download Site
Ad-Aware SE: CNET Download Site
Spybot: CNET Download site
Hijack-This: Merijn.org Download Site
CoolWebSearch Remover: Intermute Download Site
Before you begin, Go to 'My Computer', right click on the C:\ drive and click properties. Then click on 'Disk Cleanup' and erase all of the Temporary Internet Files, as some spyware/adware may be stored in there as well.

Step 1) Download these four programs, all of which are free and the best programs available. Run each of the programs and download the necessary update definition files.
Step 2) Install the programs and restart if necessary
Step 3) Click on the Start menu, and click "Run", then type in "Msconfig"
Step 4) In the Msconfig window, click on the tab that says "Startup" and uncheck any items that you feel are suspicious, unnessary, or both. Common items I remove are Realplayer, Quicktime, and various programs that are slated to run in the backround of your computer but are essentially using up valuable memory. Restart computer, and boot into safe mode (Press F8 continuously until the menu pops up, then choose the option "Run in Safe Mode"
Step 5) Begin by using Ad-Aware, and click Start, then click the button that says "Customize". Under this, check the button to scan in the archives, and select all the drives available (except A: and your CD drives), then run until it is done, then right click on the entries (select All), and remove.
Step 6) Load Spybot, then scan, and remove entries.
Step 7) Load Microsoft Anti-Spyware, run, and delete entries.
Step 8) Load Hijack-This, then scan. You should come up with a long list. BEWARE: Not all of the entries listed are bad. If you see any entries with (Search, Ads, or anything suspicious, delete them; along with anything that has "No name" and "no file")
Step 9) Run your antivirus program just to be safe
Step 10) Re-start your computer and you should be fine.

Points of Advice:
Mozilla Firefox is an excellent browser that prevents nearly all of the adware and spyware from even loading.
http://www.mozilla.org

Additional Information:

Although this will remove nearly all of the information, the only true method to remove everything is to reformat your computer. Although you may lose some information, in the end, it is extremely helpful. If possible, buy an external HDD (Hard Disk Drive), and copy all your music/movies/documents/backups. Or, do what I did when I built my computer, and create a partition, one for Windows, and one for data. I also use Norton Ghost to create a Ghost-Image file of my computer stored on my D:\ (Data) so if Windows crashes, my data is safe.
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Last edited by soccerchamp76; 03-17-2005 at 09:45 AM.. Reason: Added additional information
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Old 03-16-2005, 05:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You should add the new (betta version) of the Microsoft Spyware remover to the list. Its setup is pretty nice looking. I still run spybot as well just to be safe.
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Old 03-16-2005, 05:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Winston-Salem, NC
The ONLY Cure-All for spyware/adware/viruses is formatting your computer. There are preventive measures to take but sometimes spyware and adware are gonna get on your PC no matter what. This is a good list though...I swear there's another guide already posted though.

-Lasereth
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Old 03-16-2005, 06:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by userasdf1234
You should add the new (betta version) of the Microsoft Spyware remover to the list. Its setup is pretty nice looking. I still run spybot as well just to be safe.
Since aquiring MAS I have had no need of Spybot. It really does seem to be an all-in-one tool.

Frightening, I know.
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Old 03-16-2005, 07:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: St. Louis/Cincinnati
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasereth
The ONLY Cure-All for spyware/adware/viruses is formatting your computer. There are preventive measures to take but sometimes spyware and adware are gonna get on your PC no matter what. This is a good list though...I swear there's another guide already posted though.

-Lasereth
The sticky created just listed the four main programs that you can use. I just felt the need to create a more in-depth "how-to" article instead of just links to the programs.
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Old 03-16-2005, 07:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
IC3
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Location: Canada
I got a question about Ad-Aware program. Can you set this program to automatically scan your computer, Or, Do you have to do it yourself whenever you feel it needs to be done?
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Old 03-16-2005, 08:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: St. Louis/Cincinnati
I am sure you can only do that in the Professional version.
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Old 03-17-2005, 03:45 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: Lost in thought
You can set it to scan every time you start up. And I'm sure there's a way yo schedule it to scan, say, every Saturday.
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Old 03-17-2005, 08:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: Metro Detroit, Mich, USA
The only cure-all for spy/adware/viruses is to format your computer.

The only prevent-all for spy/adware/viruses is to not connect it to the internet
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Old 03-17-2005, 08:30 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Location: Stratford, CT
one very important step that was not in the initial post....

DISABLE SYSTEM RESTORE before running any of these programs.

otherwise an excellent guide.
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Old 03-17-2005, 02:42 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Here's another tip: Don't run as admin unless you absolutely have to or you are installing a program you know is safe. Spyware shouldn't be able to install automatically if you set your permissions correctly in Windows.
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Old 03-17-2005, 02:51 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Location: Firefox yourself and change the world!
Its not a complete "Cure All" but you could always get a MAC. As most (approx 98%) virus/ad/spyware is targeted at PC's. Thats my 2 cents on the subject.
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