“How do I clean up my computer?”

So you want to clean up your own computer? There are millions of software packages out there offering to keep your computer clean. Offers to clean your registery and fix your every problem with the touch of one button. Just buy their software, pay them money, and you will be set free from the computer slug run. Well, probably not.

While it is true that you will need software on your computer to help you keep it clean, it is still ultimately a process of understanding what will help the most. Adding more software does not help your computer, unless it is the right software and properly used. There are just as many ways to clean up a computer as there are software to use. This is only one way.

DISCLAIMER: JUST TO BE CLEAR, ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR DATA. SOME ACTIONS HERE CAN MAKE YOUR COMPUTER WORSE NOT BETTER. I MAKE A LOT OF ASSUMPTIONS IN THE ARTICAL. IF YOU REALLY NEED IT CLEANED UP FAST–CALL YOUR LOCAL COMPUTER REPAIR TECHNICIAN OR CONTACT WILTECH SERVICES FOR REMOTE SUPPORT (WE CAN CLEAN UP IT OVER THE INTERNET) 940-320-9114.

Now, that you are ready to start. Stop. Back up your data. If you already have a backup, that is okay. Back it up again. Any time you start cleaning your system with free third party tools, you take a chance that something will go wrong.

So you feel safe to continue cleaning your computer. You have your backups all ready just in case. Here is a list of tools that we will be using:
Microsoft Security Essentials
Note: Windows 8 no longer uses Microsoft Security Essentials. It uses Windows Defender instead.
Hitman Pro Trial version
Spybot
Malwarebytes
CCleaner
Combofix

IDrive Remote Backup

If during this process something does not work correctly, go to the next step. Then go back to the steps that failed after your computer has been cleaned by the other processes. Each of the following may be possible on your computer and many may not work. I make a lot of assumptions.

Your computer is Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8. All the hardware is working correctly. You either have an infection or some other software related issue causing your computer to run slow. You have access to the internet. You may have pop ups, unwanted ads on pages that normally do not have ads or odd search results when surfing the internet.

Let’s also assume it will be easy.

Install Malwarebytes, updating the definitions when asked. If it installs without any problem, start a full scan. This may take a while depending on your system.

Install CCleaner and Spybot. Get all the updates, but do not start the scans yet. If you do not have any antivirus on your computer, run the Microsoft Security Essentials(MSE) install and update it as far as you can. If you have any problems such as being asked by Spybot or Microsoft Security Essentials to restart the computer. Wait. Let Malwarebytes finish. You may have to go get a cup of coffee or have some lunch.

Once Malwarebytes is finished it will give you the option to remove any malware found on your system. Follow the instructions from Malwarebytes. It will most likely ask you to restart. If not, restart anyway.

When your computer starts back, install Hitman Pro. Install any updates for hitman. Let it do a full scan, have it clean whatever it can clean. Then restart the computer again.

While HitMan is running you can start CCleaner. You will run 2 scans in CCleaner. “Cleaner” to remove the temp files and “Registry” to clean up the registry entries. You may also want to go to “Tools”, “Startup” and removed anything that appears to be harmful from the startup options. You can “Disable” anything that you are not sure about, so it can be turned back on.

When HitMan finishes, you may have to run the cleanup process. After Ccleaner and HitMan have ran go ahead and restart your computer. Your computer should be in better condition. You should run a full scan with Spybot.  It will probably take over an hour depending on your computer.  If it finds problems, let it clean them.

After restarting from Spybot start a Microsoft Security Essentials (or Windows Defender in Windows 8) full scan.  This will take a while as well. After all is finished, restart and rerun Malwarebytes, Spybot and Hitman Pro to make sure all is cleaned up.

If there are still problems, your last resort is to install and run Combofix. Follow the instructions to Combofix very carefully. Combofix can be a dangerous tool if you have some odd issues on your computer. After running Combofix restart your computer TWICE.

When you return from your 2 restarts, rerun Malwarebytes, Spybot and Hitman. Your computer should be all cleaned up and free of viruses now. If not, please consult a professional.

You can contact WilTech Services nationwide for Remote Telephone Support. Call 940-320-9114.

VIRUS WARNING – Invoice from your bank

It’s an old scam, but still around and looking more legitimate every day. You should never open am email from someone that you do not know. Of course they make it about money so maybe will be curious enough to open the attachment which will infect your computer.

How do you know this is fake without opening it?



First clue: The email has an attachment from an unknown source. Are you expecting an invoice from someone named Mohammand Herron? No. Strike one.

Second clue: What is the bank name: your bank? Never heard of it. That is the biggest clue and that alone tells me that this is a fake email.

Third clue: Fake contact information. Google the phone number, name and/or address in the email. Most likely the information is false or incorrect.

Strike Three–Email Deleted.

These same indicators can be used for any email. Do you know the person sending it? Are you expecting an attachment from them? Is it clear in the email that the attachment is okay? Does the email address you properly. If you get an email from your buddy Frank and it starts with Mr. {EmailAddress} you may not be getting an email from Frank. Someone may have stolen or spoofed his account. Best thing to do is give Frank a call. That will let him know his email has been hacked and he can take steps to recover.

USPS E-mail Attachment is a virus.

If you get an email from what appears to be USPS with an attachment, it is most like a virus.

From: USPS client manager Terry Dunlap [mailto:reports@usps.com]
To: { your email address }
Subject: USPS delivery failure report
Attachment: USPS report id##########.zip
Notification
Our company’s courier couldn’t make the delivery of parcel.
REASON: Postal code contains an error.
LOCATION OF YOUR PARCEL: KnoxvilleFort
DELIVERY STATUS: sort order
SERVICE: One-day Shipping
NUMBER OF YOUR PARCEL: Z3UI3N0Y1Q
FEATURES: No
Label is enclosed to the letter.
Print a label and show it at your post office.
An additional information:
If the parcel isn’t received within 30 working days our company will have the right to claim compensation from you for it’s keeping in the amount of $8.26 for each day of keeping of it.
You can find the information about the procedure and conditions of parcels keeping in the nearest office.
Thank you for using our services.
USPS Global.

As far as I know USPS does not hold your package ransom either, if something is wrong they just send it back.

USPS does not send out emails like this.  If you think you have been infected, you can contact WilTech Services 940-320-9114 for assistance.

Managed Computer Services and Support

WilTech Services offers comprehensive managed computer services, network support, computer repair, consulting, and integration services for businesses in North Central Texas and Southern Oklahoma. WilTech Services can provide your small or mid-sized office both immediate Break-Fix Solutions and Managed Monthly Service Plans with Scheduled Proactive Management.

We at WilTech Services have a special respect for the challenges small business owners face in keeping their offices running. It is our duty to provide the best and most efficient service and support for our customers. Our goal is to form a long-term relationship with you that will help your company succeed and grow without constant worry of computer failure, data loss or network issues.

We pride ourselves on top of the line Customer Service! Our job is to make your job easier without all the Information Technology mumbo jumbo and complicated pricing. We fix your computers and make sure your network keeps running.

Your office data is a very important part of your business. If you, your employees or customers cannot access or cannot otherwise use your data for whatever reason, your company suffers. WilTech Services solves that problem for you. We protect your data assets!

William Helloms
WilTech Services
Technical Support Specialist

 

Install Free Anti-Virus

If you ask ten technicians what antivirus they would recommend for Windows, you will most likely get ten different answers. Opinions vary widely. One thing is for certain, there is no right answer to the question. It is an opinion, just like any other. If you are a home user or have less than 10 employees there are some free choices out there you may be interested in. Watch out for the word free–often they mean a trial. (I will not include trials here.)

There are several people that will tell you that the free antivirus programs are not as good as the paid versions. That is just another opinion and it is up to you to decide the answer to that question.

The best protection again viruses is education, know what to look for. Educate your employees on how to prevent infections from fakes, don’t download unknown software. If in doubt–ask. If you don’t have an education program in place, contact me.

One of the most popular free antivirus for Windows right now is Microsoft Security Essentials which you can get at www.microsoft.com/security_essentials. It is good (and free) for home users or small business clients up to 10 users. If you have more than 10 users, Microsoft wants you to look into their paid Frontline Endpoint Protection. But as far as free, Security Essentials is about as good as you can get for Windows. Their only requirement is your Windows must pass Validation.

Another free antivirus is ClamWin. ClamWin is open source software. Unlike most antivirus software, ClamWin does not have an Active Real-Time scanning engine. You must run it manually. I would not normally recommend this for your average, every day user. I would however recommend it for more advanced users or as a manual scan option. Combining Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) and ClamWin can add to your protection. MSE has the active engine running. ClamWin can manually be ran on a time schedule.

AVG Free version is a fairly well known free version software. It is a scaled down version of their full product. The definitions are limited in the free version as are the features. It is meant to be a very basic antivirus with limited protection. If you plan to use AVG Free, I would recommend a second malware application as well to cover the limitations. You could use the free on-access scanning for AVG and a manual ClamWin scan on a schedule to better protect yourself.

My last suggestion would be Comodo Antivirus. I do not know much about Comodo other than they have a free version of their software available. It appears to be, in much that same what as AVG, a scaled-down version of their original. As with AVG I would suggest a secondary protection software as well.

Again, there are hundreds of antivirus products on the market promising to keep your computer safe. If you are going to use these products and spend sometimes hundreds of dollars to protect your computers, do your research. There may be free options out there that are just as useful. Often the investment in money that you save requires an investment in time. Since Time Is Money, you may want to weigh your options.

Uninstall Unwanted Antivirus

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There are so many antivirus and other malware software applications out there it is near to impossible to keep up with them all. Many if not all have removal tools to use in case their normal uninstall process fails.

Here are a couple of links with some instructions to get started on uninstalling your antivirus.

Comprehensive List of Uninstallers or Removal Tools for Antivirus Software

and


http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/protect/forum/protect_start/list-of-anti-malware-program-cleanupuninstall

both links are getting a little aged, so take a look. If you have trouble getting specific uninstalls to function, let me know and I will try to do a write up specifically for it.