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my desk top is infected...what do I do?  RSS feed

 
Leah Sattler
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can I do anything? I have seen advertisements for "geek rescue" sort of operations. is there a possiblity that they could actually clean it up? or is that a scam..... I generally just use it for word documents, downloading pics from my camera, and printing pics for my daughter to color. I apparently got something somewhere when I was logged on. it just seems to be this endless series of windows and bubbles saying the file blahblah is infected do I want to do something about it ......the "something" appears to be buy their crap. 
 
Jeremy Bunag
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Posts: 231
Location: Central IL
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On computers where I don't have protection installed and something happens, I use Trend Micro's Housecall (one of the major players in antivirus).  It's free for home use.

http://housecall.trendmicro.com/

See if it can clean it up.  It looks like for "other stuff" not really considered a virus (spy/malware) they have another tool "HijackThis."  I haven't tried this one out though.
http://free.antivirus.com/hijackthis/

Hope this helps!

-Jeremy
 
Leah Sattler
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thanks! if i can trick it into logging on I will see if that will fix it.
 
Jami McBride
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Hijackthis is a little bit involved after you download and run it, but if you have the time it's a really cool tool.

If Jeremy's first option doesn't work for you try Google-ing your computer OS and the problem - I guarantee there are several forums out there addressing the very same issue your having right now, and solutions are being posted.

This is one of the features that makes the Net so wonderful.... we are no longer alone, going through things as though we are the first one this has happened to or the only one it's happened to.  The power of conversation, sharing and helping others is huge!
The Irony is that we can now be much more self reliant by relying on help from a source many of our parents never had, access to thousands of conversations......

 
charles c. johnson
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you could roll your system back to a restore point.

if you don't have any personal files format ur drive and reinstall windows

also buy a second hand computer just for Internet use 

thats what i do then i just use flash drive to move files 
 
Leah Sattler
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charles I could kiss you! we need a smoochie smiley!

I am a real moron when it comes to computers and I didn't know what a 'system restore' was, but I looked it up and followed the directions. I couldn't do anything other then look at the start menu under my name, so I logged into the computer under a different admin/person and did a system restore as per online directions and it fixed it!!! uuuhhh. so far at least, it is behaving normally........ I am keeping my fingers crossed that it isn't hiding in there somewhere. 

happy dance happy dance.

 
Jami McBride
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I kind of do the same as Charles, but I use VM (virtual machine).  I access the Net from a virtual computer I run on my real computer - machine within a machine.  Back up files by dragging them off the VM.
 
Leah Sattler
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so dumb this down for me. you guys have a literally or virtually seperate, computer for accessing the net? that way things like this can't take over all your files right?  don't laugh at me. I am pretty pathetic. I dont' even know enough to know what to look up when I have a problem (obviously).

so learning from this experience and of the strategies you guys use I could sorta do the same thing....

since this bug was apparently not affecting both "settings"/administrators....I don't know the real term. I could conceivably only use one to access the net and the other as my main file and program holder and avoid this happening in the future....or rather avoid the risk of losing control of the whole computer/files/programs that I use regularly for offline things....correct? or would it be more complicated then that and I was just darn lucky this time.....?
 
charles c. johnson
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leah you can do either real or virtual

i just have a crappy computer from goodwill thats plenty fast for surfing the net.

my other one i use for office home use only no internet .

to move files i i just you flash drive


The virtual way is ok too, but for me it was too temping to surf the net instead of working

also  i want to let my daughter use a computer with out having to watch her so close I think we all know what scary stuff is hiding on the net 

My friend uses www.Carbonite.com  and swears by it im to cheap for that
 
Jami McBride
gardener
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Leah Sattler wrote:

since this bug was apparently not affecting both "settings"/administrators....I don't know the real term. I could conceivably only use one to access the net and the other as my main file and program holder and avoid this happening in the future....or rather avoid the risk of losing control of the whole computer/files/programs that I use regularly for offline things....correct? or would it be more complicated then that and I was just darn lucky this time.....?



You were lucky - yes    This virus didn't attack your system files which will completely take down your computer (worst case) - so no, just using one profile and dumping it if you get a virus isn't a good strategy for protection.  But you are close.... disposable is a good strategy.

When I originally set up my VM, installed my OS and software I made a backup -base- copy.  Now if I have to delete my VM I have a base that will take me under a minute to have up and on-line virus-free again, all that's left is the updating of software and moving over any files I need.  So worse case, I can dump the entire machine and set up a new one really fast.

My work requires the Internet, I have to be on-line.  But if I were just surfing for personal reasons I could then have other options.  VM also allows me to test software out for my clients without messing up my system.

BTW - VMware Workstation ACE, and Player Open Source is free.  It does take some learning to run, networking knowledge is very helpful, but anyone can do it with some time and patience. http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/desktop_downloads/vmware_workstation/7_0#open_source



 
Leah Sattler
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ok. I definitly need to put some more thought and research into this. even though it makes my brain quiver in fear of trying to understand it all I'm a hammer and nails kinda gal. not the electronic type. but I have probably been riding on good luck for tooooo long. its gonna catch up to me.
 
                    
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we are no longer alone, going through things as though we are the first one this has happened to or the only one it's happened to.  The power of conversation, sharing and helping others is huge!


Ain't that the truth.  Pretty amazing time to be alive in so many respects.  Hope your computer troubles are held at bay, Leah. 
 
charles c. johnson
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honestly leah you know why i know about computers i ahve ruined or taken apart over 20 lol if you have any more question plz ask
 
Joshua Chambers
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Location: the state of jefferson - zone 7
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Wipe it and remove the slef-inflicted virus that is windows.  install linux and you will never have viruses again. 
 
Gwen Lynn
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Ok Charles & Joshua, I got questions. Reason I don't have answers is because I've always been a MacHead, and this is about a Windows 'puter. My boss has this older Sony Vaio laptop. It wouldn't get online. I took it in to a computer fix it store, thinking that for 50 bucks, it'd be worth it to get it up and running.

WELL, of course that 50 bucks is basically "the walk it in the door/we'll take a look at it" cost. The guy tells me that for 50 $ he can get it to go online, but the computer is full of (hundreds) of viruses. Fixing that will cost another $ 75.

So when I read Joshua's words "wipe-it" I wonder just how to do that. How do you get an older computer to have a clean slate? This laptop will boot up and I was able to use the word program on it. Didn't try to get it online, didn't have the necessary cable for that. It has a disk drive. Can play cd's, dvd's etc.

You have mentioned linux here, Paul mentioned ubuntu in another thread. I've heard of linux before, never heard of unbuntu. I see unbuntu is free for download. 

If you guys can give me some tips, I'd be willing to try and fix it myself. Save the 75$. My boss has offered to pay the whole amount, he thinks the computer is worth the $125.

Josh you make is sound uber simple. Just removing windows and putting in a different OS will do it?

I'm all ears...er...eyes!
 
Joshua Chambers
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Location: the state of jefferson - zone 7
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Gwen Lynn wrote:
So when I read Joshua's words "wipe-it" I wonder just how to do that. How do you get an older computer to have a clean slate? This laptop will boot up and I was able to use the word program on it. Didn't try to get it online, didn't have the necessary cable for that. It has a disk drive. Can play cd's, dvd's etc.

You have mentioned linux here, Paul mentioned ubuntu in another thread. I've heard of linux before, never heard of unbuntu. I see unbuntu is free for download. 

If you guys can give me some tips, I'd be willing to try and fix it myself. Save the 75$. My boss has offered to pay the whole amount, he thinks the computer is worth the $125.

Josh you make is sound uber simple. Just removing windows and putting in a different OS will do it?

I'm all ears...er...eyes!


Gwen!

I am very happy to help you with this.  It is a fairly simple matter to wipe the computer and install EITHER windows or linux on it as you choose.  Ubuntu is a "linux distrobution" of which there are hundreds, though it is by far the most popular.  To install it what you will want to do is (on a functioning computer with a CD burner), download the newest ubuntu (it'll be a file ending in ".iso") and burn it to a disc.  To do this,  you'll need a burner program that can "burn an iso image" which many of them will do.  If you don't have this, there are certainly some free ones you can download, but most people even in windows have like nero or something that will do it.  Now you will have a "bootable CD".

If you wanted to install windows instead of linux, then skip that whole first step and find an actual windows CD (or download a pirated one) and boot to it.

Next, you need to "boot the computer into it" which means turning the computer on with the CD in the drive.  If it doesn't "boot to the disc" by simply turning the computer on with the disc in the drive in it, you'll need to modify your BIOS settings to adjust the "boot order" which determines which devices your computer will boot to.  Here is a web page on how to do that I just found with a search...

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproblem/ss/bootorderchange.htm

VERY old computers will often not boot to CDs, but I'd be surprised if it's THAT old, so you should be able to do this.  Once the computer "boots to the CD" you'll see it doing completely different things from what it normally would do, and if it's an ubuntu CD you'll get some options... the first option is something like "boot ubuntu without installing on your hard drive" or something like that.  This is like a test, so let it boot up like that "running off the CD" and if it works like that, it'll likely work just fine installed, which you can either do from that menu, or from the desktop of the computer once it's booted that "live CD"...

Then, it's simply a matter of following the instructions.  I have done this hundreds of times for both windows and linux, if you have trouble, please do contact me.  I'd be happy to talk you through on the phone or IM or what not, though I'm rid of my cell phone now there's one here I can use.  :)

Once you've followed the instructions and waited a while (through progress bars and such), you'll be instructed to remove the disc and the computer will reboot, and you will be using your computer again!

If you (or anyone on here) has questions, please do ask!

Love and Light,
Joshua
 
Gwen Lynn
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Hello Joshua,

Will wiping this laptop & installing a new OS get rid of all the viruses?

After posting my previous question, I spoke to a friend about the situation. He questions whether computer fix-it place will be able to get all the viruses off the computer & says they probably don't offer a guarantee.

Regarding the age of the computer. I don't have the model# or I'd google it again to find out. I know that it's running Windows XP. It only has 256 megs in it & the info I found when I googled it before made it sound as though it was maxed out, memory wise.

I don't really need it to be fast. I mostly just want to use the word program to write blogs, save them to disk and then download them in a faster computer and post them. I really don't care if I can even hook up to the internet, but I probably would if I could without much more expense. It's my understanding that if a computer has viruses and I save a word document to disk, I can spread that to another computer, via that disk. Correct?
 
Joshua Chambers
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Gwen Lynn wrote:
Hello Joshua,

Will wiping this laptop & installing a new OS get rid of all the viruses?

After posting my previous question, I spoke to a friend about the situation. He questions whether computer fix-it place will be able to get all the viruses off the computer & says they probably don't offer a guarantee.

I don't really need it to be fast. I mostly just want to use the word program to write blogs, save them to disk and then download them in a faster computer and post them. I really don't care if I can even hook up to the internet, but I probably would if I could without much more expense. It's my understanding that if a computer has viruses and I save a word document to disk, I can spread that to another computer, via that disk. Correct?


Yes, doing this will COMPLETELY wipe everything off the computer, and start it fresh and clean.  Be sure that you BACK UP any data you have that you want to keep (pictures, documents, etc.) as they will be GONE along with any viruses or other junk.  This is often what a computer shop will do, rather than mess around and maybe fix it, if it's at all iffy, I usually (when I've worked at such shops) just wipe it anyway, as it's a sure fix, vs. a not-so-sure fix.

Your computer will be plenty fast enough, and often old computers run faster with linux on them, as it's generally less bloated (than some versions of windows).  Some linux distros are specifically for breathing new life into old computers.

Viruses can indeed attach themselves to word documents (specifically), and windows executables and other docs in general.  If you install linux, it will no longer matter what viruses the computer, or any of the documents had as they will have no effect on your computer.  The word processor that comes (for free!) with ubuntu is called Open Office and is very good, reads and writes word files and defaults to the (international standard) of the Open Document Format (which Microsoft has chosen not to support).

I just did this on my dad's computer, and he's quite happy with his new ubuntu, and with wine (the windows emulator), I've even just installed an old copy of microsoft frontpage and it seems to work fine. 

Good luck, drop me a line if you have trouble, I'll be online all day tomorrow.
Joshua
 
Gwen Lynn
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Leah Sattler wrote:
can I do anything? I have seen advertisements for "geek rescue"


IMO, Geek Rescue is WAY over priced, so beware! More on this next week...
 
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