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Cleaning up Adware, Malware and Spyware

This information tells you how to use two free tools to clean up an infected computer.


What is Adware, Malware and Spyware

How do these annoying programs get onto your computer?

Usually these sorts of programs get onto your computer because you unknowingly install them. You just found this fantastic "free" program on the internet which does something that you REALLY want it to do so you download it, install it and use it and it is, indeed, fantastic AND free (well sort of). However, when the EULA (End User License Agreement) was shown and you chose to ignore this and just click on "I AGREE", what you didn't read was that you may have also agreed to allow the installer to ALSO install some "Candy" which turns out to be the Spyware, Adware or Malware that you really DIDN'T want on your computer.

Whoops!

In other cases you may receive an email which appears to come from a company that you know and deal with (like your bank or a freight company or even Microsoft). Obviously if it's an email from a bank that you DON'T use then you KNOW it's fraudulent but if it appears to be from your own bank then you may believe it to be genuine but it may not be and when you click on it - then it may install something that you didn't really want.

Why doesn't my Anti-virus Software fix/prevent these infestation?

Up until recently Anti-virus programs only worked on viruses. A virus is defined as an unwanted program that replicates itself - it makes copies of itself in order to spread itself to more files and more computers. A virus copies itself without you telling it to. In the bad old days viruses used to infect floppy disks and move from computer to computer via the infected floppy disks but now they normally spread via infected websites and/or emails. Malware, Adware and Spyware are not classified as a virus if you ASK for them to be installed on your computer (even if you didn't know that you gave them permission).

Most anti-virus programs now ALSO check for PUA (potentially Unwanted Applications) as well as viruses but they don't seem to be all that good at it yet.

How do you clean up an infected computer?

Generally you need to download, install, update and run a number of tools to capture all (or at least most) of the unwanted programs on your computer as it seems that no one tool is capable of finding everything.

The first thing you need to do is to update whatever anti-virus software that you use and run a full scan. It is a good idea to run the scan in SAFE mode as well (see later).

Then you need to download, install, update and run MalwareBytes

Then you need to download, install, update and run SuperAntiSpyware

How to run programs in SAFE MODE

To run a computer in SAFE MODE you need to ...

  1. Reboot your computer
  2. As soon as the initial bootup screen has disappeared (and the screen goes black) press and hold down the F8 key on your keyboard.
    You MUST do this BEFORE you see the normal WINDOWS startup screen.
  3. You should then get a black and white menu offering a number of options including ...
    • SAFE MODE
    • SAFE MODE Command Prompt
    • SAFE MODE with Networking
  4. You should choose just plain old SAFE MODE and press the ENTER key
  5. When your computer starts up it will look a little different and should display a message about being in SAFE MODE
  6. Some of the programs and features on your computer WILL NOT RUN in SAFE MODE but your antivirus and anti-spyware software should.

Tweaking.Com Windows Repair Tool Kit

Often, even after you have removed viruses and malware from your computer - things are STILL not going OK. I've recently found this NEW tool which may help fix up the RESULTS of the problems while products like SuperAntiSpyware and MalwareBytes mainly just fix the CAUSE of the problems.

You can read more at www.gosoftware.com.au/tweakingcomrepair.htm


Download, Install and Run SuperAntiSpyware

  1. Click on www.superantispyware.com
  2. Click on the FREE EDITION DOWNLOAD button
    SuperAntiSpyware Logo
  3. If it pops up and asks you whether to RUN or SAVE - Choose SAVE
  4. If it asks you where to save it - save it to your Documents folder or Download Folder
  5. When it finished downloading you should be given an option to RUN it or OPEN it - do so
  6. If it doesn't ask you then you will have to use Windows Explorer to Browse to the folder where you saved it and double-click on SUPERANTISPYWARE.EXE
  7. Choose EXPRESS INSTALL
  8. If it asks you about SuperAntiSpyware Professional Trial - click on the DECLINE button
  9. It should then install and then download the latest updates.
  10. When it has finished it should start up automatically and display the main screen
  11. Click on the option to do a COMPLETE SCAN
  12. Click on the SCAN YOUR COMPUTER button
  13. Click on the START COMPLETE SCAN button
    SuperAntiSpyware should start the automatic scan and show you it's progress. It may take an hour or so to complete the scan - depending on how much "stuff" you have saved on your computer.

When it finishes scanning Superantispyware will popup a screen telling you the results of what it found - click on CONTINUE

Tick all of the boxes for all of the items that you want to remove (normally everything)

Click on REMOVE THREATS

Usually you will get a warning to reboot your PC (which you should do) so click on REBOOT NOW

Click on FINISHED and then click on the CROSS in the top right hand corner of the screen to close SuperAntiSpyware.

NOTE: Superantispyware will normally find LOTS of Adware.Tracking Cookies. Don't be alarmed at this as it is quite normal. A tracking cookie is a small text file which (as far as I know) can't cause your computer any harm. Tracking cookies are created automatically by some websites that you visit and are used to store information for the use of that website only about what pages you looked at on their site, what searches you did etc on that site and perhaps the username and password for that site if you said to save them for later use. Tracking cookies can be used by someone who has access to your computer to see what web sites you have visited and so it is classified as "spyware" but if no one else has access to your computer then you're pretty safe. Tracking cookies don't save things like your credit card numbers.


Download, Install and Run MalwareBytes

  1. Click on www.malwarebytes.com
  2. Click on the FREE DOWNLOAD (from our partner sites) button
  3. This will usually take you to the CNET download site
  4. Click on the DOWNLOAD button
    This will take you to a new page and you'll need to wait for about a minute before the download starts - DON'T click on anything in the meantime
  5. If it pops up and asks you whether to RUN or SAVE - Choose SAVE
  6. If it asks you where to save it - save it to your Documents folder or Download Folder
  7. When it finished downloading you should be given an option to RUN it or OPEN it - do so
  8. If it doesn't ask you then you will have to use Windows Explorer to Browse to the folder where you saved it and double-click on MALWAREBYTES.EXE or it might be a file called something like mbam-setup-1.70.0.1100.exe instead.
  9. If asked for your language choose ENGLISH and then OK (unless you want a different language)
  10. Click on NEXT
  11. Click on I AGREE and NEXT
  12. Click on NEXT
  13. Accept the default folder location and click on NEXT
  14. Keep on clicking on NEXT and then finally INSTALL
  15. Take the tick OFF the option to ENABLE FREE TRIAL
  16. Click on FINISH
  17. MalwareBytes will then update it's database automatically - click on OK
  18. Click the option to PERFORM A FULL SCAN
  19. Click on the SCAN button
  20. It will then popup a list of drives to scan - click on the SCAN button again to start the scan

    When MalwareBytes has finished scanning you can click on the SHOW RESULTS button to see what it's found

    Tick all of the boxes for all of the items that you want to remove (normally everything)

    Click on REMOVE SELECTED

    Click on OK and then click on EXIT