Help w/ cleaning off spyware and/or viruses from uncle's PC

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by debo, Jan 3, 2005.

  1. debo macrumors regular

    Jan 9, 2004
    My uncle has asked me to help him remove the adware, spyware, and possibly any viruses from his windows machine. I haven't dealt with this sort of crap in a while so I was wondering if someone could tell me what the best free tools will be for the job. Is adaware still the way to go? Any other tools I should know about?
  2. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    SpyBot Search and Destroy

    Both can be found with a quick google.

    Don't know of any free virus software.
  3. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    I was in the same boat last week with my aunt's PC

    Norton isn't free but AVG is

    There's also a tool called Hijack This (google it) which gives you a report of what's in the PC's registry and a forum to post your log file to, then some expert bods will tell you which files are malware and how to get rid of them.

    Oh yeah - and get a firewall onto his system. Zonealarm is pretty good and free. And download a copy of Firefox for him to use going forward.
  4. lordsinforge macrumors member

    Jan 27, 2002
    Ithaca, NY
    the website:

    has a list of anti-spyware info, I know it looks a bit hokie, but its decent.

    Ad-aware and spybot are your best first bets, and hijack this is good for some stuff those two miss.

    if you google "stinger anti-virus" you will get some links to a free antivirus scanner called stinger (from McCaffe) that will catch most of the big stuff.

    Trend Micro has a web-based anti-virus program that is frequently better than sementec and McCaffe.

    Then using an alernate web browser like firefox is going to be your best protection.

    Enjoy, LordSin
  5. efoto macrumors 68030

    Nov 16, 2004
    Cloud 9 (-6)
    Second (or third) to the AdAware/Spybot programs. They both work well enough. For a firewall, personally I would prefer to purchase a router with builtin protection over installing ZoneAlarm. When you use ZA the settings you initially input (although they can be altered) never change, even upon exiting the program. Although ZA is in-active because you closed it out, the port forwarding and other firewall related settings stay in tact, which can prove quite annoying when trying to do other things.

    Netgear WGR614 routers are dirt cheap now, work very well, and have a easy-as-pie interface (imo).
    Check out for some prices and a reputable internet store.
  6. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    Spybot is great. I ran it on a public computer last year and it turned up 615 different instances of spyware on the computer, and removed them all. :)
  7. Hungarianguy macrumors member

    Dec 25, 2004
  8. dsharits macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2004
    The People's Republic of America
  9. kdawg macrumors regular


    Dec 14, 2004
    As a IT manager for a Windows only domain,
    I HIGHLY recommend backing up everything and Re-installing.. The workstation will run a lot better if you do that... From my experience.. you can spend HOURS working on these problems and get absolutely no where... they make entries in the registry, and some of this spyware can actually force you to go online and download the un-install (which IS VERY SCARY IMHO)

    Norton and trend micro both have online virus scanners, you can use them... but in all honnesty if your uncle is having problems, I say get an external drive, back that stuff up and blow the box up... you will both be happier in the end.... as you will not waste a bazillion hours trying to fix something that is toasted.

    Also the Norton Internet security is good software... but in all honesty software based firewalls eat donkey nuts... get your uncle behind a hardware based firewall if he is not already behind one... and for the love of god APPLY ALL UPDATES, and set it to automatically update everyday.
  10. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Interesting comments from a so-called IT manager :rolleyes:
    Just format and re-install??? Do managers really use the term "donkey nuts" nowadays??? We don't even know the condition of the PC, the uncle could be scared by the media for all we know. But don't worry, just format....yeah, that will fix it.

    Sounds like some good quality time with said uncle - show him good habits and educate the man. This way you won't have to come back to clean up after him.

    Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day - Teach a man to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime.
  11. kdawg macrumors regular


    Dec 14, 2004
    Um.... If I re-call the person was asking for help... Of which you offered none.... Mocking others and then using quotes that have been around since the stone ages isn't really too pertinent to the question that was asked.....

    I could bet that this guys uncle would use his computer for some amount of personal transactions... (You know things he would not like everyone to see).... While these Spy ware eliminating programs are good at finding and killing spy ware programs none of them can eliminate 100% of all such programs... There are plenty of reviews floating around to back this up.... do a search.

    Having pointed this out to your feeble little mind, let me ask you a question:

    If by some freak act of god someone wrote lots and lots of spyware for the mac platform, and your mac was infected by this spyware, say 414 different instances would you prefer to run a cleaner (which might only get 70-80% of those infected files) then continue to do your banking, bills, shopping etc knowing that there was a 20-30% chance that someone could be gathering your private information?

    Ummm Not me.. I need to be a 100% at my job...

    IT is obvious that you have ABSOLUTLEY no knowledge of basic security... ask anyone who is the least bit technical on this or any other forum.... Software Firewalls don't offer the same level of protection as a hardware based unit... And since I have to deal with a high level of security on my NW, I can safely say that we don't use them because they Suck the nutz...

    I would recommend that you DO NOT CONTRIBUTE if you cannot post information related to the topic of the post... Jack A$$

    Don't be jealous cause you have NO SKILLS...
  12. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Learn to read. Check out post #2.

    Neither (hardware or software) is more effective than the other - each have their pitfalls and benefits - and in practice they should be used in tandem to offer the most protection - but you already knew this.

    Your solution was overkill without understanding the situation. You make assumptions and if that reflects upon your management skills - you have a lot to learn in a role of leadership - you know how the saying goes..."When you assume..."

    The idea of formatting a machine based on a request to remove some spyware/adware/viruses is absolutely ridiculous and I felt the need to point that out for the original poster. Not that it wouldn't solve the problem, but when my car won't start - I don't just buy a new car...Perhaps you should learn a little bit more about the problem at hand rather than try to insult me like a 3 year old.
  13. kdawg macrumors regular


    Dec 14, 2004
    I was referring to the quote in which you were being quite rude to me.... I forgot I was talking to a FAQHING idiot... My bad

    MS doesn't Make Cars?!?! do they A$$ Wipe? So your analogy of buying a new car is a little off base on that one.

    When giving simple answers to a question on a forum, you sometimes need to assume things (OR ASSume in your case) since you cannot talk to the person directly..

    I was only offering my advice, and YOU were the one who insulted me... so get off of your HIGH HORSE. There was no reason to insult me as I was giving my honnest advice as to what I would do in the matter... you shouldn't get your nose bent out of shape because someone doesn't like it when YOU treat them like an A$$ hole You Piece of $h1+ Dumb FAHQ

    I am done with you and your obvious rage that you don't know **** and are upset becuase of it.

    You never answered my question... 20-30% chance you have spy ware/virus on your computer.... You still going to use it?
  14. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    If it is really bad, a reformat will take less time. If its not so bad (only ~400 or less) then Ad-Aware and Spybot both will take care of it, followed by AVG and the others mentioned.
  15. hcuar macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2004
    For a PC... AVG, Spybot S&D, and Lavasoft Adware are a must!!!

    AVG Free Edition is by far better than McAfee or Norton!!!
  16. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I ditto this... Bypassing the discussion between KingJr and Kdawg, especially if this is a Win98 installation, it will probably improve the computer just from the standpoint of getting a cleaner registry, etc, leading to better speed. Follow up by a switch to Firefox too. The chances of spyware or adware even getting installed are much lower if MSIE is removed from the picture....

    And also ditto if you can teach him what not to do, to keep it clean. I personally think it's possible at least to keep a Windows computer adware/spyware free, if not virus free, just by following good practice, without any special software at all...besides Firefox, anyway.

    Good luck! And take your laptop if you have one, and a router, so that you can come online while you're doing it and vent to us! :D

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