This will probably be the first in a series of HELP THREADS from me, as there's a bunch of stuff I get PM'ed about that I feel could be addressed and answered by a permanent (maybe a sticky?)thread detailing how to resolve these common issues. Feedback is appreciated, and if anyone has anything to add, feel free to add it in a reply or shoot me a PM. And, as always, please do not hesitate to send me a PM if you have any questions that might not be answered in any of these help threads.
So, I dont see one of these, and I figure since I get a bunch of PMs about "please help me, my computer is acting up" (which I don't mind), I should make a thread for how to deal with some of the most common issues. I'll include URLs to software (non-pirated), screenshots with how to use said software, as well as answer any questions about these programs.
Dealing with Spyware/Malware
The first question/issue I get from people is that their system is infected with spyware/malware. For this, I use multiple programs to deal with infected machines.
First, you'll want to download SuperAntiSpyware HERE
and install it.
Install this to whatever folder you want, and open it up. The program will check for updates and new definitions. If it doesnt, then please see the screenshot below for how to update.
Once you've updated the definitions, you'll want to scan the machine. I always use the Complete scan option. Quick scan, and critical point scan are very selective, and dont cover everything. If you're going to run those, you may as well not even install the software. If you feel the system might be highly infected, enable the "Rescue Scan" checkbox. Rescue Scan will dedicate almost all of the computer's resources to the scan, so do not run this if you want to use the machine while scanning (I almost never use it). Follow the screenshots below, and make sure you check off all hard drives.
You will be presented with the option for "active scan boost". This option also allocates more system resources to the scan, as the notes in the window suggest. Also, leave the "only scan files modified within the last 30 days" checkbox unchecked. You want to check the entire machine. Then click "Start complete scan".
Screenshots below explain the scanning process.
When the scan is finished, you'll be presented with a pop up stating how many threats were detected (screenshot below)...click continue, and it'll take you to the window listing all threats found. Most of the items the scan will turn up are "Tracking Objects", which is really just all of the cookies stored on your machine. Since I always suggest clearing your browser cookies every so often, just leave them selected. (I left mine unselected in the screenshot because I dont have any problems with the machine, so I'm in no rush to remove the cookies.
Other items that will appear in this list would be listed as "Trojan" or Worm"...LEAVE THEM SELECTED, and click remove threats.
Once you've removed the threats, you may be prompted to reboot the machine. Please dont say "I'll do this later". If you want to remedy what ails your computer, you should reboot your computer when prompted to. I'd advise running a scan every so often just to make sure the system is free from spyware/malware threats.
Once you've done this, your next step would be to install Spybot Search and Destroy, which will catch spyware other programs might not catch. You might be asking "why not just use this one if it catches the ones SAS doesnt? The answer is simple; there isnt ONE end all be all piece of software that's going to catch everything. This combination works best for me, and I've had an infection free machine for nearly 5 years.
Using Spybot Search & Destroy
First, you'll want to install the software. To download it, click HERE
Once you've downloaded it, you'll obviously want to install it. Select "FULL INSTALL" when prompted for the type of install. When you are met with the below screen, you should ABSOLUTELY leave all the pre-checked boxes checked, ESPECIALLY the ones under the "Permanent protection" section. Finish the install and leave all the options in the very last installation box selected and click FINISH. (Screenshots below)
Once you've installed, the program will prompt you to follow a set of steps. Steps 1 and 2 are already completed when you first load the program, so don't be alarmed that you start out on step 3. You will want to make a backup of your registry, so do not skip this. See the screenshots below for how to do this.
NOTE: WHEN CLICKING THE "CREATE REGISTRY BACKUP BUTTON" IT WILL PROCESS THE REQUEST BUT NOT ADVANCE YOU TO THE NEXT STEP, ONCE THE BACKUP HAS BEEN MADE, YOU NEED TO CLICK NEXT
Once the Registry has been backed up, you will need to search for updates. Click the "Search for updates" button to advance to the updater screen (both screens are below). Once you get to the Updater screen, select a server to download the updates from--you'll want to select a server close to you to ensure the best speed. Once youve selected a server and hit continue, you'll be taken to the file selection screen. Check off all the boxes and click download.
Once the updates have been downloaded and applied, the program will prompt you to to perform a full scan. Click ok. We're not done configuring this program just yet. One final step we need to take to ensure full protection is to IMMUNIZE the system. In the main screen, you'll want to click the "Immunize" button. THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL, YOU MUST DO THIS.
Once you've clicked immunize, you'll be taken to the immunization screen. The system will search for all threats you are currently unprotected from, and state this on the right hand side, next to the brick wall. Once SS&D has finished scanning for what you're not currently protected against, you will want to click the "Immunize" option with the plus sign next to it at the top of the screen.
Please close ALL browsers before immunizing.
NOTE: THE IMMUNIZATION PROCESS WILL TAKE SOME TIME. DO NOT REBOOT YOUR COMPUTER OR SHUT IT DOWN WHILE THIS IS RUNNING
Once the immunization process has been completed, you are ready to perform a scan. To perform a scan, click the "Search and Destroy" Icon in the top left of the program. You will be taken to the Search and Destroy screen, where you can scan for issues. Click the "check for problems button", where you will be asked if you want to delete the temporary files, which will help increase search speed--click yes. Once this has been done, the system will be thoroughly scanned for residual spyware/malware.
NOTE: THE SCAN PROCESS WILL TAKE SOME TIME. DO NOT REBOOT YOUR COMPUTER OR SHUT IT DOWN WHILE THIS IS RUNNING
Wait for the scan to finish and make sure you select all entries, and click "Fix selected problems" at the top of the screen. Once you've fixed the issues, REBOOT, and you'll be done!
Blue Screen of Death Help
The last thing I want to address here is the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. While this is something I get fewer PMs about, it's still worth addressing. This is NOT going to show you how to fix the BSOD. Instead, I am going to cover how to be able to send me the information from the BSOD so I can assist you completely. Since Blue Screen reasons vary from case to case, there is no way for me to cover how to fix all of them. Follow the steps below to install the necessary software so you can get me the information in a comprehensive manner.
Installing and using Blue Screen View
First, you'll want to download the program. To do so, click HERE
. Once you've downloaded it, install the program to whatever directory you desire.
Once you've installed it, all you need to do is open the program. You'll want to see the ACTUAL blue screen, and then take a screenshot of it so you can upload it for me to see. First, you need to turn on the Blue Screen option in the program. To do so, just hit F8. Once this has been done, you should select the most recent file (top of the list in the top pane). Make sure the bottom pane has NO scrollbar, and hit the key combination of ALT+Print Screen. Once you've taken a screenshot, open microsoft paint and paste the screenshot, and save it. Then upload it to imgur.com and post the image in the thread or PM me the image so I can diagnose the problem correctly.
Please let me know if any of the above information is confusing and I will do everything I can to clarify it for you! Hopefully this thread helps you guys with issues related to spyware/malware and BSODs.