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Technician Secret  1

Page history last edited by Donald Achim 10 years, 1 month ago

Computer Technician Secret: Remove Spyware and Viruses


Most technicians are probably against having this information posted publicly. However, I’m an information guy and I enjoy passing along a computer secret, every now and then. Of course, this information is only secret to some and common knowledge to others.

***Keep in mind, this entry refers to removing files that are buried fairly deep inside Windows. Security products do what they are designed to do – remove infected files. If a Windows system file is infected and removed, Windows may no longer work properly. Don’t attempt any of this if you don’t feel confident in doing so. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, ask a SENCOM member to  recommend a technician.


***Use this information at your own risk.***


The first thing you need to do is to make sure you have a USB drive, with enough space to hold any important data that you need to have backed up. You also need to download some malware and virus removal tools, possibly from another computer, and store them on the USB drive.


Download these computer security tools ahead of time and store them on your USB drive:

  1. AVG Free Version 9.0 (or current version). Be sure to download the standalone installation file. It should be around 75MB or so. Don’t download the AVG Download Manager. You need to have an active internet connection, on the infected computer, in order for the AVG Download Manager to work.
  2. Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware (free version). Malwarebytes is a tool I use on a daily basis. It’s light, quick and extremely thorough.
  3. SUPERAntiSpyware (professional version trial). Another spyware remover that finds even the tough-to-remove infections. The name of the product leaves a little to be desired, though.
  4. Spybot Search & Destroy (free). This product may seem slow and past it’s prime, to some, but Spybot S&D is very thorough and is able to find infections that other products miss.

***If the infected computer is still functioning at a close-to-normal level, you’ll want to begin the process of cleaning up temporary files unneeded programs. If the computer is not functioning properly (doesn’t boot, can’t run programs, can’t install programs, freezes up), it may be time to get some help.


Remove Malicious or Unneeded Programs
Open the Control Panel. In Windows XP, go to Add and Remove Programs. In Windows Vista or Windows 7, go to Programs and Features. I’m not going to go into the process of removing programs. If you lack the knowledge of how to remove programs, this article is already above your capability level.

Look for unfamiliar security programs, greeting card software, smilies or cursors and any programs that help you search, shop or print coupons. These are the most common culprits. You can also remove any programs that relate to toolbars. Again, if you need a toolbar to search the internet, this article is already above your capability level.


Remove Temporary Files
One of the most common ways for spyware and viruses to reinfect your computer, is to do so from a temporary file location. You think you’ve gotten rid of an infection, but it keeps coming back. Files hiding in temporary locations is one of the ways this happens.

Open the Control Panel and choose Folder Options. Choose to Show hidden files and folders, uncheck Hide extensions for known files types and uncheck Hide system files and folders. Click Apply and/or OK.

In Windows XP, open the C drive, go to Documents and settings. Inside each user account, go to Local Settings. You should see a Temp folder and a Temporary Internet Files folder. Permanently delete the files inside each of these folders (Control+A, Shift+Delete). Don’t delete the Temp or Temporary Internet Files folders.

In Windows Vista and Windows 7, go to the C drive, then into the Users folder. For each account, go into the AppData folder, then to the Local folder, then to the Temp folder (C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Temp). Permanently delete the files inside that folder (don’t delete the Temp folder, itself).

In Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, go back to the C drive and open the Windows folder. Inside that will be a Temp folder. Repeat the deletion process for the files inside that folder. Again, don’t delete the Temp folder.


Attempt Installation of Downloaded Security Products

You can start by installing Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware. During installation, be sure to choose to download updates automatically. This way, if you have an active internet connection, your product will install with the latest definitions. Once Malwarebytes is installed, open it and run a Full Scan. Follow the prompts to remove any detected infections. You may need to reboot your computer to complete the removal process.

Do the same for SUPERAntiSpyware and Spybot Search & Destroy. If no reliable antivirus product is installed, you can go ahead and install AVG Free Version 9.0. Run full scans with all of the newly-installed security products.

If you’ve done everything correctly, you may already be infection-free! However, you may need to reboot to Safe Mode and completely scan the computer, again, to ensure that all infections have been removed.

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