What is the best way to deal with Adware from a "free computer"

63dot

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jun 12, 2006
5,269
339
norcal
I have fixed computers for a long time dealing with the traditional issues.

However, there's this local non-profit who doles out free (and relatively new machines) to students, the poor, and retired persons and in the software bundle is a lot of built in spam. This is something I have not come across on this level.

Whenever the client goes online to his favorite browser, Microsoft Explorer either opens up or pops up mid-search.

Is a typical Office Depot/Staples Adware and Spamware Blocker the best way to deal with this? The restore disk from the non-profit has all the built in ads and spam and client doesn't want to purchase a fresh disk of Windows. At this point, it's certainly cheaper to go the ad/spamware route instead of having him buy a new full version of Windows. I don't want to get a pirate version since I am licensed/certified for this stuff and have to go legit.
 

designs216

macrumors 65816
Oct 26, 2009
1,044
14
Down the rabbit hole
Does Norton Ghost (or something similar) allow one to choose the programs that are included in the image? If so, create a bloatware free image and reflash the machine. Barring that, would it be possible to manually uninstall the bloat-ware and the create the clean image? This would allow you to reflash all similar machines for a low, flat fee or free if you feel charitable.

If that doesn't work, just tell them to live with it until they can save up for a cheap OEM copy of Windows or switch to a browser that doesn't allow MS sponsored spam.
 
Comment

63dot

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jun 12, 2006
5,269
339
norcal
Does Norton Ghost (or something similar) allow one to choose the programs that are included in the image? If so, create a bloatware free image and reflash the machine. Barring that, would it be possible to manually uninstall the bloat-ware and the create the clean image? This would allow you to reflash all similar machines for a low, flat fee or free if you feel charitable.

If that doesn't work, just tell them to live with it until they can save up for a cheap OEM copy of Windows or switch to a browser that doesn't allow MS sponsored spam.
Thanks for the suggestions. I may look into Ghost and see what it offers.
 
Comment

Berlepsch

macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2007
303
48
If your customer has a valid license key for the windows installation, you can legally reinstall the system using any suitable windows install medium (i.e home/professional/ultimate version as already on the system). Even 64bit instead of 32 bit version is possible, but there might be problems getting suitable 3rd party drivers for older hardware.

If you do not want to reinstall, check which programs are installed and delete everything that looks suspicious, including the anti-virus stuff. You can use free antivirus solutions instead, such as Microsoft Security Essentials, or install the AV solution your customer feels most secure with. In my experience, no AV provides 100 % safety, so I am usually recommending one which does not disturb too much, such as MSE.
 
Comment

Mousse

macrumors 68020
Apr 7, 2008
2,131
3,136
Flea Bottom, King's Landing
Without a clean copy of Windows to install from. I'd go with a free program called Revo Uninstaller. It can uninstall pretty much any program that isn't bolted into the OS. It was the only way I could get rid of Norton.

Opinions vary, but I don't care for security programs, especially when they squat on 20% of my resources (still using a Core2 era machine:p).
 
Comment

63dot

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jun 12, 2006
5,269
339
norcal
I found a free adware/spamware program already on machine that eliminated all the extra junk. The client had tried it once unsuccessfully but I ran it and things were OK.

The mouse was sluggish and when I rebooted, it was snappy again.
 
Comment

mentaluproar

macrumors 68000
May 25, 2010
1,731
130
Ohio, USA
Use Hitman Pro. It's free, cloud based, and really good at cleaning out crap. It's also run-as-needed. No installation required.

If that non-profit allows, consider installing Lubuntu or Ubuntu on those systems. I worked at a non-profit for a while and we had to use XP and windows 2000. I had used hitman a few times when the newbies did not follow directions, and infected systems with drivers fetched from malware infested sites. That was hell. Slipstreaming the installers never worked well since they had to update everything by the time it went out the door anyway.

Usually, we punished them by making them do it all over again but every now and then, we hit a time crunch and hitman saved us.
 
Comment

63dot

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jun 12, 2006
5,269
339
norcal
Use Hitman Pro. It's free, cloud based, and really good at cleaning out crap. It's also run-as-needed. No installation required.

If that non-profit allows, consider installing Lubuntu or Ubuntu on those systems. I worked at a non-profit for a while and we had to use XP and windows 2000. I had used hitman a few times when the newbies did not follow directions, and infected systems with drivers fetched from malware infested sites. That was hell. Slipstreaming the installers never worked well since they had to update everything by the time it went out the door anyway.

Usually, we punished them by making them do it all over again but every now and then, we hit a time crunch and hitman saved us.
Thanks for the tip. I will keep this thread ready for future adware/spamware attacks. :)
 
Comment

mentaluproar

macrumors 68000
May 25, 2010
1,731
130
Ohio, USA
No problem. Just remember, and this will start a fight, MalwareBytes is worthless for active infections. It's better for looking for remnants.

Oh, another tool I adore is RogueKiller. It lets you kill off tasks that refuse to let you into the task manager and screw with malware removal tools.
 
Comment

Similar threads

  • CJ Dorschel
3
Replies
3
Views
348
Replies
3
Views
474
Replies
1
Views
441
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.