Ok everybody listen up! As the
owner of a computer store and service center I see many computers that come
in with lots of different problems. Simple things like moving the computer
and accidentally hitting the power switch on the back of the power supply
into the off position (if it has a switch, not all do) to completely cooked
systems that the only thing left to salvage is the case.
For the last 2 years I have seen a huge increase in the
amount of computers that come in that have so much adware and spyware on
them that the computer will not even get as far as the welcome screen. This
is when most people give up and bring their computers to their technician,
and its almost completely avoidable or fixable in the early stages. Simple
maintenance that once was not needed. (Remember the days before viruses?
There gone forever no matter what fantasy world your internet service
provider might want to live in.) I spend countless hours working on getting
rid of these problems. Much of this time is spent trying to get Windows back
in working order without a complete reload of the operating system and other
programs as well as data backup. I'm not complaining, I'm just telling it
like it is so you, the reader, can understand that your not the only person
having these troubles with your computer and you may be able to get your
computer back in working order.
There are so many programs out there to help you find and
eliminate these problem programs lurking in your computer. I have found
several that can help the "Home User" that are free or very low cost.
First lets look at antivirus programs.
Don't let anyone tell you you don't need antivirus software
in one form or another. I don't care how basic it is, USE SOMETHING! You
don't have to buy expensive antivirus programs to have at least some level
of protection. For many the Free for home users antivirus
programs are a real budget saver and work well although their features like
scheduling and tech support are limited. If you need a helping hand with
your software problems or want to have complete control over your scheduled
scans, Buy the full versions. AVG, Panda, and Avast all offer some free
versions of their software so there's no excuse not to have antivirus
protection. Also, PLEASE do not install more than one antivirus program on
your computer at a time! They will fight each other and your computer will
no longer function correctly (if at all!).
These days one antivirus software is just not enough so I
do recommend that you run an occasional scan of your computer with a
separate antivirus program online. These antivirus programs scan your
computer remotely and only a small amount of information gets downloaded to
your computer so it will be able to scan your drive/s. I like the scans at
Trend Micro. The easy way to get there is to type
www.antivirus.com into your browser
and then click on the HOME section then click on the Housecall button.
Follow the prompts and run a full scan. Delete anything found in their scan.
Now lets talk about "AD"ware and
There are lots of programs out there today
that add additional software to your computer without you knowing it. Keep
in mind that not all of the programs that have the features listed below are
bad, but many of them are bad.
Clock synchronizing programs
Fun little games
Cartoon characters that walk around on your
Programs that fill in forms for you
File sharing P2P programs for downloading
music, movies, or software for free.
When installing these types of programs
please read the E.U.L.A. (End User License Agreement) You know? the part
that everyone just clicks YES on so the software will finish loading. You
don't have to read every last word. Just be sure to at least skim through it
and make sure your not signing your computers life away by giving permission
to the creators of the software to feed you advertisements or put other
software on your computer without asking you that will then feed ads to you.
Remember the old shampoo commercial that talked about telling two friends
and so on and so on and so on? You do the math! Soon your computer is full
of software feeding you popups and tracking your every move on the net.
After a period of time the information being exchanged with your computer
and all these other computers on the net you might as well just unplug the
internet from your computer. That's the only way your computer will run
after getting all this junk on it.
Helpful removal tools
Okay so you didn't know and now you
have popup ads galore and your pc has slowed to a crawl. Remember that
not all programs that claim to get rid of adware and spyware will get rid of
your problems. Some adware give popups for programs that remove some
problems but add their own popups and other related problems.
Here's a list of some of the
programs that are going to help you get rid of the junk that's now on your
computer. There are lots out there that really do work but I've used these
before and know they help.
For the more advanced users
Heres a few other malicious software
terms you may hear about...
Have you heard the term MALWARE? Malware is
right in the same area as all the rest of the adwares or spywares. These
programs are designed to make your computer not work. Most of the programs
listed above will also recognize most of these threats.
These programs have a tendency to change
your internet home page or redirect you to a page you had not intended to go.
With these programs, if you've got one, you probably have
several waiting to take its place. The Superantispyware program can really help with
these but most of the above programs will work to some degree.
For those who live with us in the Pacific
Northwest these are not people who cut keys off your keyboard... These
programs keep track of everything you type and send that information to the
person in control of that program. It is primarily used for attempting to
get credit card, and bank account numbers and should be removed by most
antivirus or adware/spyware removal tools.
This is a malicious software that goes
through your computer destroying little bits of your programs untill they no
longer work correctly.
Last on this list is the Trojan. The Trojan
is really not any of the above listed although its considered a virus. A
Trojan allows its user to access your computer from a remote location. Its
used to see whats on your computer. Some people use Trojans to wreak havoc
on your computer and others use it to make changes to or add malicious
software to it. Many times there's just another computer at the other end
that's programmed to respond to the Trojans signal and respond by doing
whatever the computers programmer wanted it to do to you.
Good Luck and I hope this will help those
who read it...