Key Post Helpful links for a clean pc

Discussion in 'Technology' started by car, 27 Aug 2004.

  1. car

    car Guest

    Due to recurring questions on the same topics, ie
    Viruses, Modem HiJacking, Auto dialers, Pop Ups, Slow PC

    Ive made a list of free utilities that I use and Ive seen recommended by other AAM users. They should help you to keep your home PC running smoothly and free of trouble. The list isnt meant to be comprehensive but the tools are widely used by what Id consider to be more experienced users. If you use any others then feel free to list here. I'll update the first post to save time as and when I can.

    This list shouldnt dissuade users from purchasing any of the more recognised utilities (eg Symantec, Nortons, MS tools) and certainly the list should not be used with confidence in a business environment.

    Yahoos Spyware . This is now my spyware remover of choice. The app is 3mb and the GUI is very nice to use by way of giving details on the reg entries and file locations of infected/offending files. (and you get a search toolbar)
    Adaware is probably the widest used and is used to protect from unwanted ads/tracking cookies and malicious sites
    Microsoft have a beta spyware release which is getting some good reviews, but Ive seen users post that its missing items like Bonzi Buddy which is one of the more basic adware installs
    Others to try are
    Spybot, Spywareblaster
    List of other removal tools.
    I used to think if you had adaware youd be ok, but Ive revised this thinking after finding adware programs, after running other removal tools, after running adaware. See the list link above and try as many as you can/want.

    Zonealarm is a firewall to protect from hackers and other security breaches.

    Note: Win XP has its own firewall so turn it on. Go to My Computer, then My network Places, then View Network Connections, then right-click on the connection you are using and choose Properties, then click on the Advanced tab. For official instructions from MS on how to turn on the firewall click here
    Other free firewalls mentioned are

    AVG is free anti virus software, follow the link and click on the free edition version

    Either use Googles or Yahoos toolbar, both have popup blockers and other useful tools.

    Check out Mozilla firefox or opera
    As posted by SpaHam you need all the other programs listed above to stop spyware adware malware active x hacks registry hacks popups sneaky toolbars porn diallers and keep downloading bug fixes which are HUGE from Microsoft every month .......but ONLY if you USE Internet Explorer.
    This is all true but Ive had problems using firefox so tend to use firefox with IE open beside it. Google for problems with firefox and you'll see what I mean.

    Get the latest service packs, updates and improvements from windows updates. If youre not sure which ones you need, the update site will look at your machine and tell you what youre missing.

    Auto Diallers, Modem hijackers
    Modem Hijackers can, in my view, be the most dangerous type of for the home user. Viruses may wipe your mp3 collection, worms may slow your internet connection, but if you unknowingly get hit with a modem hijack for any length of time and its dialing your local satellite ISP service at up to 5 euro a call, when your next phone bill gets delivered by a securicor van, it may be too late to do anything about it. Have a read of what comreg are(nt) doing about it.
    Update oct'04. Comreg have recently (sep '04) blocked a number of country codes due to excessive hijacking complaints from those locations. See the appendix in the following pdf . This does not mean you wont get hit with a hijacker dialing another country or a satellite ISP.
    Using all of the above anti-virus, anti-adaware/spyware/virus/hacking tools/browser tools can and should prevent you being affected, however, if you have been hit and the above s/w isnt doing anything, the following usually happens..
    You delete the dialup, and then reboot only for the dialup to reappear. This is because an executable or a dll is downloaded to your hard drive and a registry entry created to run the file on boot to create the dialup. You'll need to clear both of these. First of all try and google
    for the '"dialup program name" and virus', and you may get removal instructions. Alternatively run the Start up Program viewer app that lets you see whats being run at startup, and remove anything susupicious. Google for anything youre unsure of.

    For those who dont know what this is, the registry is key to how windows works. Old and obsolete entries can slow a machine down, there are any number of tools, (most quite small) that will clean the registry for you.
    I currently use tweaknow which is free.
    You could also try Regclean which is also free
    Search for registry cleaner to try another. Most others have a small fee (5-30 dollars) but let you have a trial version.

    DEFRAGGING (helps to speed up a pc)
    If a hard disk is filled up and then emptied, the disk tends to become very fragmented. That is, the data on the drive is scattered all over, rather than being organized into discrete areas. This causes the PC to slow down because it has to search so much for any data. A symptom of this problem is when the hard drive says it has much less space than you know that it actually does. The Windows defragmenter (usually found under the Start Menu/Programs/Accessories/System Tools) comes with Windows and is an adequate diagnostic tool. Other more powerful programs are available for purchase, but the prepackaged Windows version is generally adequate for most home users. Remember to run the defragmenter over night, since it usually takes a few hours to finish the process. You should only need to run the defragger every 2-3 months.

    Startup Programs
    If you havent cleaned up the pc in a while, the startup tray will be cluttered, slowing the pc down on boot. example, Ive seen 5 different media programs runing on startup (quick time, real player, media player, winamp etc) when in fact you dont need any! How do you get rid of these from startup? well, most if not all of programs have a setting you can click on to allow you to switch on or off the startup option, but this can be cumbersome. The tweaknow app will show you all programs installed, but if you want to keep a program and just not have it running on startup, try this Start up Program viewer , which Ive found to be very good. Download the zip, extract the file and install and you should find the program in your control panel. Some windows versions will let you run msconfig which will do the same thing, but MS in their wisdom have desupported it in later versions, so its up to you. I think the app is nicer anyway.
    You could also try Winpatrol which monitors the startup/run entries and notifies you if something tries to modify/add to them.


    For cleaning temp files and a lot other crap try this aptly named crap cleaner

    To see all the software installed on your pc try belarc. Ive found this useful for clearing up software I didnt know I had installed.

    For an advanced task manager try procexp. If youre having problems killing a process this should do the trick for you, theyve got a decent reg editor there as well.

    Most of the above links have regular updates and release versions so its up to you to check regularly for same. If any of the links are dead let me know and I'll update.
    Thanks to other contributors for links and instructions.

    edited 19/02/05 for belarc/procexp and MS spyware links.
  2. SpaHam

    SpaHam Guest

    There is one simple solution for ALL of this Internet Mank.

    Stop using Internet Explorer.

    Download and Install Moziulla Firefox instead 4 Mb in size.

    You need all the other programs to stop spyware adware malware active x hacks registry hacks popups sneaky toolbars porn diallers and keep downloading bug fixes which are HUGE from Microsoft every month .......but ONLY if you USE Internet Explorer.

    The latest service pack for windows is 200Mb which takes a day to download. They are still announcing new bugs in Internet Explorer even after that

    look at all these patches
  3. Aquila

    Aquila Guest

    Re: There is one simple solution for ALL of this Internet Ma

    SpywareBlaster is another useful free anti-spyware program.
  4. ajapale

    ajapale Guest

    Belt and Braces

    Thanks car for the excellent summary. I nominate this for a key post.

    Is there any problem using both adaware and Spybot?

    I know antivirus products dont like each other.

  5. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    Belt and Braces

    A word of warning : only delete files that you are certain are ok to delete. I learnt the hard way.
  6. Marie

    Marie Guest

    Belt and Braces

    Car - after installing Mozilla (thank you so much for this tip!) do I then uninstall Internet Explorer or just let it sit there?

    With Mozilla is it still useful/advisable to have an antivirus software running
  7. Mozilla Mick

    Mozilla Mick Guest

    you cannot Marie

    it will still be there, the only site I need IE for is Windows Update, ironic or what. Its still there but dont use it . Firefox works with all the rest ecpet for some flash enabled ones like movie trailer sites. I'm on dial up so they are too graphic heavy anyway.

    Use IE for reputable sites like BBC or RTE but not for anything that seems to be dodgy like Porn, Competition sites or 'Free Offer 'type sites.

    The only software you need apart from Mozilla Firfox is a Firewall, its built into windows xp for free anyway so make sure its turned on in your dial up settings, thats all.

    I fnd it about 25% faster than IE on me 300 Mhz laptop . Lovely neat browser, and free.

  8. Marie

    Marie Guest

    you cannot Marie

    OK. I don't have Windows 2000 XP or anything flash - I'm with Windows 98. I also wondered how to "connect up" my ISP (AOL8 which uses an internal version of Internet Explorer on a Broadband connection with Ethernet) with Mozilla to have the latter as default browser.
  9. Marie

    Marie Guest

    you cannot Marie

    Just checked with AOL online help. Not poss. to use AOL with Mozilla as AOL has an inbuilt Internet Explorer browser. Pity.
  10. Dr Moriarty

    Dr Moriarty Guest

    A word of consolation...

    Marie, from what I understand, the advantage of running Win98 SE is that you don't need to keep downloading massive security patches and fixes from MS — I believe (?) that all these nasty worms, blasters, etc. only affect users of Win2000 and later. I've kept it on my laptop (for home use) for this very reason.

    On the downside, MS will probably withdraw all support for Win98 in the next year or so... :(
  11. zag

    zag Guest

    Re: A word of consolation...

    Windows 98 is just as likely to suffer a security flaw as any other operating system (subject to philosophical debate on OS design).

    The thing is that Windows 2000 & XP are more likely to have exploits developed to take advantage of the security flaws simply because there is a greater installed base of 2000 & XP now than there is of 98. If you were up to no good and could develop an exploit would you go for a 98 one (and hit maybe 1 in 40 computers out there) and would you go for an XP or 200 one (and hit maybe 1 in 4) ?

    As outlined somewhere else - in reality many of the exploits out there actually take advantage of design issues in Internet Explorer. This has arisen because IE tries to do too many things (in my opinion) and there are too many links between elements which don't need to be linked. Essentially the fact that IE can interact with the OS means that if IE is compromised then the OS can be compromised. Sure it makes things easier for the user, but sometimes making things easier can have side effects . . .

    Having said the above, I would stick with 98 if it does the business. I have just recently retired a machine running 95 which did all my email/web/word processing/spreadsheets and a few other things.

    You are correct in saying that Microsoft will no longer support 98 - this makes business sense. There is no point putting further development and expenditure into a product which has been replaced and made obsolete (from their point of view) by several other products. In fact, I thought they had already dropped support. The net effect of this is that you will see security bulletins from MS saying - "This problem affects 2000, XP and NT. It is not known whether it affect 98/95" - this is because they aren't going to go to the trouble of finding out and writing the fix.

  12. Marie

    Marie Guest

    Words, all Words.....

    Actually I've just this evening become the proud owner of a second-hand Sony PCV-RX203 P4 2Ghz 512mb DVD-RW which operates Windows XP Home and already has Internet Explorer and Norton Antivirus as present software.

    Given what you've said about W98 should I instal that onto the Sony?

    Also when I transfer documents over from my present 5-year-old dinosaur will the fact Windows XP Home is on there have any effect on the formatting of the documents (which is in W98)
  13. windows xp firewall

    "The only software you need apart from Mozilla Firfox is a Firewall, its built into windows xp for free anyway so make sure its turned on in your dial up settings, thats all."

    I am very computer illiterate, how do I go about turning on the windows xp firewall?

    Many thanks not a clue
  14. car

    car Guest

  15. thanks

    Thanks car, thats really helpful. not a clue
  16. geegee

    geegee Guest


    Car, how long should this download take? I have been waiting for it to download for the last 30 minutes or so and it still hasn't finished. It is not downloading in the usual way as a download window has not come up - it just states "Download in Progress" on the webpage.
  17. Guest

    Guest Guest


    > On the downside, MS will probably withdraw all support for Win98 in the next year or so...

    Anybody running Windows and without access to broadband should seriously consider ordering a (free) copy of the MS Wndows Security Update CD which bundles various service packs, updates, patches which should help keep even legacy versions of Windows more secure than if they are never updated. Once the main updates have been applied Windows Update can perhaps be used to incrementally add subsequent updates.

    ... actually I just tried searching for it and can't seem to find where MS are making this available so perhaps they are no longer supplying it? Perhaps some of these links can locate it...
  18. car

    car Guest


    I just tried the teaknow link, clicked download now, and successfully downloaded the 750kb exe in under 3 minutes on a landline modem at about 4kpbs/sec. Try the other regclean link if youre still having problems, both apps do the same thing.

    If its the xp security update the cd can be ordered here and following the link

    As for win 98, "Updates that were provided for Windows 98 are available on an archived basis on the Windows Update site, and the Microsoft Support website provides a number of resources you can use to find help."
  19. Guest

    Guest Guest


    > If its the xp security update the cd can be ordered here and following the link

    No - I meant the February 2004 Windows 9x/Me/2000/NT (?) update CD which bundled a set of critical and recommended service packs and updates which are useful for legacy Windows OS users, particularly those without broadband, to get their systems nearly up to date and then use Windows Update online to do the rest.
  20. rheinie

    rheinie Guest

    Re: download

    Re: Topic So good to have such expert advice available here and so clear to follow I have found it very informative .thanks to all concerned