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JoeDavola

Spyware Hell - Computer Grinding To A Halt

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I sat down at the PC to find that a fake anti-virus program had installed itself and was constantly throwing up messages telling me about bogus infections. It had ******ed about with my computer to the point that it was not letting me even view the task manager.

So I installed AVG and ran it and it detected a shitload of infections which I then told it to get rid of. It seems that AVG got rid of the fake antivirus program, but the PC is slower than ever now. Everything, even the most trivial of tasks takes ages to happen, it frequently pauses for 10 seconds or more when things get too much for it (I'm not doing anything processor intesive, just browsing the net) - it's basically getting close to unuseable.

I'm thinking I may have to bite the bullet and format the hard drive and start from scratch, but I don't want to if I can avoid it. Therefore any suggestions you good folks have would be appreciated.

It's a Dell running XP, and has served me very well for the past 5 years. No interest in upgrading if I can avoid it!

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boot into safe mode,

regedit

go to hkey local machine, software, microsoft, windows, current version, run.. might be full of crap starting up.

then same path in hkey current user, see whats in there

retry avg, then have a dig on internet, theres some other tools the name of which i cant remember similar to avg.

and then get rid of avg, cos its a bit crap to be honest and buy some proper antivirus, ive got eset and its pretty sweet, and leaves my procssor along.

hope this helps a bit

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i had the same..type in the name of the popup and go online a download a fix.....it does work...mine was called pc fix or something......took over my computer.

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I never got a virus or anything in 12 years of using the internet - this year already ive had three. One at the moment i cant seem to shift. Its already tried to get in to my bank accounts online. If i post anything stranger (than normal) i'll assume its hacked my HPC password. Details passed by bank onto police anyway. Not sure what they do about it, arent most of the internet virus'es based in Nigeria or South East asia?

This site seemed to be good for DIY virus removal...

http://www.myantispyware.com/

But this new virus has disabled task manager, safe mode, everything it seems, so i'll just have to do the important stuff on another PC.

Thinking of downloading LINUX too, is that any better virus wise?

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boot into safe mode.

if you can, google malwarebytes and download it.

quick clean, takes about 20 minutes.

when done do a full scan with that, then AVG.

sometimes this variant of antivirus 2008 will block anything running, so you may need to get malwarebytes from another PC.

If you have a PCWorld special with the techguys "special" safemode, you are gonne probably have to do a fresh install.

good luck.

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i had the same..type in the name of the popup and go online a download a fix.....it does work..the programme that took over was called pc fix or something......took over my computer.

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If you really insist on not doing a fresh install (which, after writing your important data to a USB key or the like, won't take more than an hour or so), you might get lucky working from safe-mode, or alternatively logging in as someone other than who you usually are and hoping that only your profile carries the malware (which I've seen work sometimes, and sometimes not). Your best bet is to get someone with a clean PC to burn you a bootable CD with anti-malware and anti-virus software on it and boot directly from that.

For example, http://www.ubcd4win.com/

There are others as well - I've heard good things about http://www.free-av.com/en/tools/12/avira_antivir_rescue_system.html

This will enable you to scan your hard drive without having to activate your own operating system, and thus without allowing the malware to do what it does to cripple your efforts to remove it.

Unless you're really obsessed with (or unfortunately tied to) Windows, have you considered switching to a less vulnerable operating system?

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If you really insist on not doing a fresh install (which, after writing your important data to a USB key or the like, won't take more than an hour or so), you might get lucky working from safe-mode, or alternatively logging in as someone other than who you usually are and hoping that only your profile carries the malware (which I've seen work sometimes, and sometimes not). Your best bet is to get someone with a clean PC to burn you a bootable CD with anti-malware and anti-virus software on it and boot directly from that.

For example, http://www.ubcd4win.com/

There are others as well.

This will enable you to scan your hard drive without having to activate your own operating system, and thus without allowing the malware to do what it does to cripple your efforts to remove it.

Unless you're really obsessed with (or unfortunately tied to) Windows, have you considered switching to a less vulnerable operating system?

If you are going to do that, easier to take the drive out and scan it through another PCs USB.

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If you are going to do that, easier to take the drive out and scan it through another PCs USB.

At risk of starting an argument, I would say that burning a CD is easier. :)

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If you really insist on not doing a fresh install (which, after writing your important data to a USB key or the like, won't take more than an hour or so), you might get lucky working from safe-mode, or alternatively logging in as someone other than who you usually are and hoping that only your profile carries the malware (which I've seen work sometimes, and sometimes not). Your best bet is to get someone with a clean PC to burn you a bootable CD with anti-malware and anti-virus software on it and boot directly from that.

For example, http://www.ubcd4win.com/

UBCD4Win is pretty cool.

Post Hijack This Log here

Please read before posting

http://free.antivirus.com/hijackthis/

If you need help removing this crap, get some pro help from here.

Register and run hijack this and post the log at the above link.

Trust me the people at this forum are very good at what they do and will help fix your PC.

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At risk of starting an argument, I would say that burning a CD is easier. :)

you do it your way, Ill do it mine...two minutes to heave the drive out, full scan from a notebook, drink clients tea, put drive back. job done.

everyone...malwarebytes....beats hijack this hands down.

earns me a fortune in clean ups....

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Thinking of downloading LINUX too, is that any better virus wise?

In short yes it is much better "virus wise", as in less chance of getting one but not totally immune.

If you do not want to go the whole hog and install your main os as Linux, i would advise to continue with windows but then sandbox all your sensitive internet use with something like Sun virtualbox running a virtual Linux Os within your windows build. Have it with a guest (non root) account, keep it updated and just use it for sensitive web use only. Is a nice medium for those who want to be security conscious but not jump in the deep end with a change of their main Os.

Links

http://www.virtualbox.org/

Linux options....

http://www.opensuse.org/en/

http://www.ubuntu.com/

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Maybe it's one of 'Rolf's money making schemes.. you must be some kind of troll if you can;t see the value in spyware!

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you do it your way, Ill do it mine...two minutes to heave the drive out, full scan from a notebook, drink clients tea, put drive back. job done.

everyone...malwarebytes....beats hijack this hands down.

earns me a fortune in clean ups....

Tend to agree with this, nothing easier then pulling drive out and running scans on it as a slave. Although, I will say that SpyBot can very useful as a replacement for, or alongside malwarebytes.

Would not say malwarebytes is better then Hijackthis though, two different programs...hijackthis should only be used by people who know what they're doing though....

As for what might be running at start-up, I find msconfig to be useful here.

Just out of interest, how much memory do you have in the machine?

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You can cut back and reject everything on the web and be safe, but most people let most of it in and take the risk. Otherwise

it's a constant battle against the poor design, wanting a popup to show a photo through adobe flash in a new frame and place

a cookie to track it. Eventually everyone gets infected not through choice but wanting the content.

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I recently rebuilt a Dell. Some of them have a partition with a complete copy of the Original operating system.

There is an option <CTRL> F11 which will restore from this partition. You may or may not have this but if you do I would recommend it.

I found this alot easier than formatting and re-installing XP from the CD.

Basically, do the following:

1. Back up all your files to one of those 500GB USB drives (they cost about £80 to £100 and are well worth it)

2. Do the CTRL F11 thing described above.

3. Connect to the internet and run Windows update (may take several hours).

4. Install a virus checker: Something like Windows Defender or AVG

5. Copy all your files back to the machine.

Good Luck whatever you decide.

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I recently rebuilt a Dell. Some of them have a partition with a complete copy of the Original operating system.

There is an option <CTRL> F11 which will restore from this partition. You may or may not have this but if you do I would recommend it.

I found this alot easier than formatting and re-installing XP from the CD.

Basically, do the following:

1. Back up all your files to one of those 500GB USB drives (they cost about £80 to £100 and are well worth it)

2. Do the CTRL F11 thing described above.

3. Connect to the internet and run Windows update (may take several hours).

4. Install a virus checker: Something like Windows Defender or AVG

5. Copy all your files back to the machine.

Good Luck whatever you decide.

Just to add, before step 5 run a thorough virus scan on the files you copied off before copying back on. I've found Avast.com very good protection without bloat and their home user version is a free download.

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i hope you IT guys can see now why us laypeople can get so annoyed with IT. We have on this board, at least 8 people who appear to be experts and who could convince me to engage their services and yet cant agree on the correct course of action for a very common problem.

I suppose if you all get the same solution then its all irrelevant at the end of the day.

Unless your being charged by the hour?

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i hope you IT guys can see now why us laypeople can get so annoyed with IT. We have on this board, at least 8 people who appear to be experts and who could convince me to engage their services and yet cant agree on the correct course of action for a very common problem.

I suppose if you all get the same solution then its all irrelevant at the end of the day.

Unless your being charged by the hour?

Have you worked out the number of combinations of installation configurations / installed programs / malware / virus files / missing corrupted OS files / manufacturer recovery installations etc that may make up a particular system? Somewhere in 10,000's files there may be say half a dozen files that need to be removed / switched off or dereferenced to kill a virus, maybe many more, hence no one optimal solution and depending on the overl state of the system maybe a total waste of time trying to disinfect and best to start again. Most poeple use what has worked in the past for them, but no gurantee it will work with the next virus.

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Guest Skinty

Thinking of downloading LINUX too, is that any better virus wise?

I never use a virus checker for Linux and I've never had a virus since I started using it in 1996.

I use Linux all the time for browsing and general net usage.

My partner finally moved to Linux after Windows 7 kept blue screening and he was amazed at how much faster and smoother it is. He now uses it all the time.

It may be a different operating system but the learning curve when switching from Windows isn't as steep as it used to be.

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Download a live CD for Kubuntu or Ubuntu. Pop it in your drive, boot, and try Linux for a while - you might be surprised. It just works. If you get on with it OK, install it and never fret about viruses again, indeed, you'll relish seeing that "checking C: drive" crap pop up from time to time, knowing you have no C: drive to check.

Open Office is a perfectly good substitute/look-alike for Office, any other windoze programs you might need can be run under Wine or in a virtual windows machine via VMplayer or Virtualbox. I can't run WIN2K on my new hardware, it will only give me 640x480 resolution, but in VMplayer I have WIN2K full screen and resolution, exactly as it should be, (regrettably, I need windoze for just one proprietary application).

edited for spelling

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Download a live CD for Kubuntu or Ubuntu. Pop it in your drive, boot, and try Linux for a while - you might be surprised. It just works. If you get on with it OK, install it and never fret about viruses again, indeed, you'll relish seeing that "checking C: drive" crap pop up from time to time, knowing you have no C: drive to check.

Open Office is a perfectly good substitute/look-alike for Office, any other windoze programs you might need can be run under Wine or in a virtual windows machine via VMplayer or Virtualbox. I can't run WIN2K on my new hardware, it will only give me 640x480 resolution, but in VMplayer I have WIN2K full screen and resolution, exactly as it should be, (regrettably, I need windoze for just one proprietary application).

edited for spelling

+1

I've been using Linux (OpenSUSE) for years now, with Windows XP running under VMware Server for Windows apps. It's rock solid once you've got it set up properly, and you can use a virtual network to share files between the two operating systems. No crashes, no viruses, and no poxy virus checkers!

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