In my my city Port Saint Lucie and all over the great state of Florida, say the words Spyware, Adware, or malware and Business owners, along with any technically average Windows PC user will shudder in horror. That’s because these programs not only are incredibly stubborn when you’re trying to remove them, but they often change administrator or security settings on your computer, Workstation, or Server, such as what sites you allow trust or the settings in your HOST files. Spyware or adware, a malicious program that can add, change or remove values in the Windows registry allowing the program to fully install on the opening of Internet Explorer or Firefox, or on the next reboot of your computer repair, even after deleted if not removed completely.
Today’s spyware is more common than a virus for the average Windows user surfing the internet. Spyware has hundreds of successful ways to disable or infect your computer via all the common exploits or software bugs, like errors within the Windows operating system allowing spyware the use of your CPU cycles, to spam others, and to solicit your desktop to show you pop ups for everything from pornography to other spyware programs that will claim to be able to remove the currently installed spyware or clean a virus from your computer, when in fact it can make it worse by installing more spyware. Spyware can copy secure data from your desktop computer or PC and send it off to another country, or even some where else in our own country where a malicious hacker waits to sell or use your stolen data for anything from ID theft, to pirating your Audio and or Video collection and posting it online. It is very important to remove spy ware as soon as its detected as you can see by all the harm it can cause besides just slowing down your computer and making its use a miserable experience.
The best path to take is to try stopping the spyware before it is able to fully take hold or control of your computer, server or workstation if you already have some installed. If you have a clean spyware computer follow the tips below to keep it that way. It is just as important to verify complete removal once you feel the spyware has been uninstalled to make sure, it cannot reinstall on the next reboot and that your data is once again secure from theft of prying eyes. Simply put Spyware is part of a big online business of data theft and forced marketing along with the fake software to remove the spyware for another $50 dollars then they can go for your credit card info next. If you are seeing a major slowdown in the functions of your windows desktop computer you need to have the computer cleaned and probably a little spyware removal depending on your internet surfing habits and what you like to Google for. Worst case you have to reinstall your Windows operating system and all programs then copy your data over from a back up if you have one.
If you are not backing up please allow me to introduce you to a great little program called Carbonite. Carbonite provides a great solution to the problem of backing up your home or office compueter. Carbonite includes unlimited size online or off site storage for for your files at a very reasonable price of $59.99 or so per year. Not only do I recommend the program I use it my self for years I was a beta tester and have it installed on three of my home servers protecting my data with off site storage day and night. I have personally witnessed this program save 4 companies from complete data loss due to the person in charge at that office not testing there backup tapes, a raid went bad in another and they never complained about the error on reboot of the server until it was to late, and one company who claimed they backed up to a USB hard drive and said don’t worry about us, well they forgot for a year and had no back at all when there server got hit by lightening. Each of the companies listed were saved by the great little program for off site backups called Carbonite. After the problem was repaired in all cases the software they lost was immediately downloaded to the new location and re shared to the office allowing them to get back to work.
Follow my free tips below to attempt to remove installed spyware from your PC server or workstation.
(Please remember this is done at your own risk I take no responsibility for the outcome of your work.)
Step 1.) To remove spyware, first you should download the programs listed below then disconnect your computer from the Internet. After you complete the downloads unplug your computer from the modem or router to ensure that you are offline. You’ll need the right programs to remove spyware from your computer. If you are unable to surf the internet with your browser correctly you will need to download the free software for removal from another computer that is connected to the internet, like a friend or family member PC. Once you have downloaded the files from Google, Yahoo or Bing You’ll need to burn the spyware removal programs to a cd or copy them to a USB memory stick and then install them on your PC and use them from there. There are hundreds of programs to remove or repair a PC or computer infected with spyware.
The programs I would like you to download are:
a.) Cleanup.exe to remove temp files
b.) Spybot Search And Destroy to search through its definitions after you update it like anti virus software and remove the spyware from both the folders and registry and also cleanup the Host files
c.) Sysinternals process explorer to view the running process or services to see what is hogging your resources
d.)Unhackme for rootkit removal
You can use all programs listed or one or two if your problem is easily removed. For the do it yourselfer these will work unless you have a very deep infestation and would then need to call in a pro like myself. The easy way to get each of these files except unhackme is to open your favorite search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing then type download programname MG. The program name will be the name of the software listed above. The download will bring up this type of page or link for downloading, the MG stands for and will take you to “Major Geeks” a great place to download free or paid applications to help with anything you can think of on the PC or MAC. To download the unhack me software you need to type in download unhackme the first result gratis inc will be the one you want to download from.
Now that you have the correct software to cleanup your PC it’s time to get dirty.
Step 2.) Once you’re offline, click start button the look for the control panel icon. Once in the control panel go to your add/remove programs screen by clicking the add/remove programs icon. Many times spyware will have uninstallers that will allow you to completely remove them without too much effort. Remove as many as you can this way some will give you errors or take you online for feedback and force you to answer to close. just put unhappy and click remove. If you are unsure of an item in the add remove programs section do not just delete it.
All your real programs along with your Windows updates are also within this list. To learn what something is click or highlight the item and it will have more information under it like programmed by and company name. Now armed with a little more info than a program name open your favorite search Engine once again Google, Yahoo, Bing and type in the program name and find out what it is. If it shows up as marketing or pop ups or ads or there are how to remove this or that yep of spyware you are on the right path to get rid of that spyware. If you see many warning and info on spyware when you look it up 9 times out of 10 it would be safe to remove unless you have a program with the same name running in your office or home that you really need. Please ask your boss or double check, then delete.
Step 3.) Now we install and run the cleanup.exe program selecting the first button top right cleanup. The program will ask you if you want to run in demo mode which does not do anything you will select no and really run for the first time. Your pc stores many temp files in multiple locations to save settings for faster loading and use in those apps. By deleting these backups or cached settings you computer will run better allowing faster removal and will also remove the spyware saved in the temp folders. Once you have ran first the cleanup program to remove trash your pc will run slightly faster. This does not delete you files only the temp and saved settings in the browser which you need to run to clean up spyware. No book marks or favorites are deleted.
Step 4.) Now we need to install then allow the full update process during install of the Spybot program. Once installed the first thing you need to do is click the immunize button in the upper left and it will run once and will need to be run twice for all items to turn green. the good in green should now be the large number and the bad or unprotected in red should go down to zero. Once your computer has been immunized, now it’s time to run a full search of the computer files and registry for spyware. This is completed by clicking the Search and destroy button on the upper left, then click search for problems button with the magnifying lens image to start the search for spyware.
Once the program searches the whole computer you will be shown a list on the right side of the screen and they will have open check boxes or squares to the left of each. You will notice the search for problems button has now changed to fix problems in the upper left. To remove all spyware you need to click this button again and the spybot program will attempt to remove and delete and files it has found associated with spyware. For ones it is unable to remove it will ask if you can run one more time when completed after a full restart of your computer. You need to say yes to this and let the program work its magic once again. If at this point the computer shows clean, all green checks to the left of each removed spyware file or registry entry. You are most likely clean and can continue happy surfing. If not please follow the additional steps below to remove a more aggressive type of problem called a root kit or hijacked browser.
Step 5.) If you are unable to remove all spyware with Spybot or have many pop ups on the start up of your computer without even going on line, you will need to next download the program unhackme then install it to stop the rouge service from starting when your computer boots up. This is risky because you need to be careful what you stop to keep your windows programs, and your good software from becoming damaged. Next step open your internet browser and then pay another visit to your favorite search engine Google, yahoo, Bing and type your search request download unhackme, the first result or the one from gratis inc is the place you need to be. Open the link and click the download free trail in the center of the page. Next we run the installer when downloaded then remove what it can with the spy ware removal tool button.
Once that is done you will be given a few more choices the only one you want to hit is remove rootkit. The software will run then tell you to restart so it can run and stop processes from starting as they try to start. This is the be careful moment while it runs you will be asked after each find to remove or if it is a false positive. There will be a help button under each which will tell you most times if the file is good or bad and the answer given is usually safe to follow. Once you have clicked through all removal screens the software will not start on the next log in and you will need to run spybot one more time to clean what ever programs where running before that could not be removed. Now that windows did not load them to memory they will be easily deleted. If your problems are now removed you are good to go if not you can try step siix.
Step 6.) If you are still here unfortunately you have a bad infestation of spyware or possibly a virus. Lets try to remove the virus first, unless you feel comfortable diving in the repair posts available on Google, yahoo, Bing and trying registry fixes this would be a good time to call in a professional computer repair person or an online computer repair expert to help with your problem. You can download a free year worth of anti virus protection offered by Grisoft inc by going to your favorite search engine once again and typing in download avgfree mg. Download then install the AVG anti virus software, during the install it will have you run a full update for the virus definitions. Your computer will need to be online for this to take place so please plug back to modem or network. Once the update is completed open the software by clicking the avg icon and select run full computer scan. After your scan has completed you will be given a list of files found select to delete all or clean if one is a document you need or want.
You may need more programs to fully remove the spyware infection on your computer depending on the severity of the infection. Programs are easy to find and use depending on your computer experience, be careful not all that is free is good it may be more spyware. Look up any software before you try it. Google, Yahoo, and Bing are your friend. It’s a good idea to scan your computer in safe mode just to ensure that you can complete any PC repair that needs to be done within Windows you are locked out of certain changes for security reasons and safe mode will allow you to complete the same task.
When the PC starts up after you press power tap the F8 key until you get the menu to enter safe mode then you can select the first choice safe mode and try your new cleanup software. The programs must be installed outside of safe mode in a regular boot for the most part. The best way to remove spyware is to not get it in the first place. Keep your system and anti-virus updated, be very selective about what programs you download. There are many websites that offer computer help and or repair you should be able to find anything that you need online. Nothing is truly free remember that the next time you see a pop up and you will be one step closer to staying spyware free.