Keep Your Computer Running Smoothly and General Maintenance

Archived From: Technology
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I know this isn't technically a "deal", but it is "hot" in the sense that it will help you to keep your computer running well.

Spyware and adware is annoying. Adware can create those annoying popups that appear when you aren't even surfing the web. Spyware can even track your key strokes, trace your surfing habits, and do other nasty things. (like change your homepage) Those are just some of the annoying problems created by spyware and adware, the list goes on. I'm pretty sure that every computer connected to the internet will encounter some form of spyware or adware at some point. (Unless you're really really careful. So... if you're experiencing similar problems to what I just said, or don't know what might be lurking on your PC, perhaps it's time to scan your hard drives and hunt down them ther' bad guys.

First on the list, and my personal favorite, is Spybot Search & Destroy, put out by a guy in Germany, I believe. It's freeware and it's very well done. The UI is very friendly and has "easy" and "advanced" modes so that a person of any level of computer literacy can use it successfully. The author maintains and updates it's list of spyware and adware frequently and issues downloadable updates that the program will install automatically. SB S&D is very effective at removing nearly every spyware and adware application and gets better at it all the time.

  • Spybot Search & Destroy Features
  • Download Spybot Search & Destroy
  • Spybot Search & Destroy Tutorial
  • Download Spybot reference file (can be used to update Spybot offline)

    Next up is a program called AdAware. It's a commercial product although they have a free basic version available that has everything you need to compliment Spybot Search & Destroy. AdAware has a nice UI as well and downloading updates is just as easy as in SB S&D.

  • AdAware Homepage
  • Download AdAware.
  • Download adaware reference file (can be used to update Adaware offline)

    The combination of those two applications should find anything you throw at them. These programs provide a retroactive solution to having spyware, but a more proactive approach often helps. First, avoid clicking software install boxes that popup on the web unless you're absolutely sure it's from a company you trust. Second, watch what software you install on your computer, and what it comes with, frequently shady "freeware" comes with hidden spyware. (The free version of Kazaa (not Kazaa Lite) is a good example that comes to mind.) If you have a program that's already installed on your computer that came with hidden spyware, be careful about deleting it in SB S&D or AdAware, as removing the spyware often disables the program it's associated with. (Kazaa is apparently an example of this.) Some cookies can also act as spyware, watching your surfing habits and doing other nasty things. That's where the next step comes into play.

    JavaCoolSoftware's SpywareBlaster can prevent the installation of any spyware ActiveX controls from a webpage. It does this while not interfering with "friendly" ActiveX controls - so your browser can work correctly and you can have peace of mind. It will even reduce the number of the spyware "yes/no" software installation windows you get while surfing. It is also freeware and inoculates your computer proactively.

  • SpywareBlaster Homepage and download link

    Spybot Search & Destroy also has an option to inoculate your computer against spyware, give that a shot too. There is also a SB S&D resident program that will monitor which cookies are being downloaded and will alert you if a webpage wants to make a spyware cookie. (and you can either choose to accept it or block it).The resident program install can be found somewhat buried within the menus of SB S&D. (In "options" if I remember correctly.)

    If you also want to block all URLs associated with spyware companies and advertisement pictures on webpages, then try updating your hosts file. I also use Richard the Lion Hearted's host files to block ads and popups. (The host files are put together by a fellow FatWalleter, DragonsLore and are designed to play friendly with FatWallet's CashBack and associate links)

  • Richard the Lion Hearted's Hosts files.

    Just be sure that if you're running XP to disable the DNS Client, otherwise your browsing will slow down considerably.
    "Administrator Tools > Services" and disable the "DNS Client" service.

    Also, I recommend making your host file "read only" to prevent programs from modifying it. (I think Kazaa is famous for this too.)

    Yet another thing to be worried about are computer Hijackers. The tool to check for Hijackers is HijackThis. HijackThis can come up with some legitimate programs in it's list of "problems" because it's so through. In order to remove the hijackers you have to know which things are good and which aren't. I don't reccomend you make those decisions without the advice of a good anti-spyware forum. On the forums listed below you'll have to post the log of things HijackThis found. You can do this by opening up the log in the directory where HijackThis is stored. (c:/HJT is reccomended).
    WARNING: Just to iterate a point, Hijackthis can be dangerous to your system, be sure to ask for help in one of the forums listed below.

  • HijackThis Homepage
  • The "Official" HijackThis Homepage
  • HijackThis quickstart guide
  • HijackThis forum (post your scan results)
    Another forum you could post the log to is the SpywareInfo forum.
  • SpywareInfo's Forum

    Anti-virus is always good, I reccomend Avast or AVG.

  • AVG, a great free anti-virus program
  • Avast Anti-Virus, a wonderful anti-virus program for home users
    These Anti-Virus scanners were suggested by bonkers, I haven't checked them out myself but they look alright:
    AntiVir Download
    BitDefender Download - works on demand only, no realtime protection
    Anti-Trojan stuff suggested by bonkers
    Ewido security suite
    AČ Free

    It doesn't really deal with spyware and adware, but a good firewall is always a must to have.

  • Kerio Personal Firewall (Free)
  • ZoneAlarm Firewall

    If you're looking to block pop-ups in Internet Explorer, I reccomend using the Google Toolbar, which includes a pop-up blocker (and has the added benefit of integrating Google search).

  • Google Toolbar Download Page
    One thing, though: The google toolbar can track your searching if you have "advanced features" turned on, so it could be percieved as spyware. The advanced features include unnesccey things like "PageRank" so it's perfectly safe to turn them off in the toolbar options. (If advanced features are off it's won't track your searching.
    Another option to block pop-ups is to use Mozilla FireFox. Not only does it block pop-ups but it blocks nearly all of the spyware that Internet Explorer allow through. I have a thread on FireFox in the Free Stuff forum.

  • CompSurfer's FireFox thread

    Ah, Windows: Many like it's familiarity but but are unaware of it's problems. Windows has many security problems that could be exploited to gain controll of your computer. Microsoft releases patches very frequently to fix the plethora of security breaches. I reccomend going WindowsUpdate to patch your computer. The security patches are almost always under the "critical updates".

  • Microsoft's WindowsUpdate

    A program that I hadn't heard of until Mav12 posted about it is DiamondCS Registry Prot v2.0. It's a program that alerts you whenever your registry is changed.

  • DiamondCS Registry Prot v2.0

    If you're looking to see some possible security breaches you may have on your system, try this page by Symantec.

  • Symantec Security and Virus Check.

    It also has a free online virus scan too!

    If you're looking for a second on-line virus scanner, try Panda's.

  • Panda Online Virus Scan
    A good PC maintainence page is PCpitstop.


    DragonsLore is another FatWallet member who know's his spyware/adware. Heck, he's an expert on the stuff. He has a thread about it too and gives wonderful advise and instructions for Spyware & Adware removal.

  • DragonsLore's thread

    Well, hope this thread helps you to keep your computer running smoothly! <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif" border=0>

    Please bump this thread if you find it helpful.
    (By the way, "Bump" refers to how a thread is "bumped" to the top of the list in the forum index of a particular section after being replied to.)

  • Member Summary
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    hi guys, thanks for the help n tips BUT i have a question, after installing and uninstalling different software, etc.. ... (more)

    peggysue (Jul. 03, 2005 @ 4:29p) |

    good organization of posting.<br><br>id like to add that if you dont download, and just check email. then use firefox an... (more)

    ebaydotcom (Jul. 12, 2005 @ 5:27p) |

    Gladly agreeing with Hunter on this.

    maddiebeagle (Jul. 12, 2005 @ 6:30p) |

    Quick Summary is created and edited by users like you... Add FAQ's, Links and other Relevant Information by clicking the edit button in the lower right hand corner of this message.
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    ...Try putting this in " COMPUTERS " section...

    Nice post, OP!

    Good post OP!

    I generally hang only on hotdeals and deal discussions so would have missed your post if it was on computer. It is certainly a hot deal. Freeware.<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

    Nice post. Now if we could only direct people to this thread who have issues with popups and wierd IE problems instead of them starting new threads <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

    Good work!


    About the only way to really make this thread "Official" would be if Tim were to make it a sticky so it would always be easy to find no matter how one sorts threads. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>

    How about it Tim?

    Think you could make "All" Official threads into stickies or possibly make a forum just for Official thread??? <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>

    What do you think Tim? Sticky? (Casper and the gang of tech-gurus could do some other compilation threads for various other topics)

    I used a spyware remover program that was offered with aol and my kazaa stopped working <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0> anyone else have that problem?

    For some free software you have to agree to their spyware inorder for them to work. the spyware remover programs warn you that some programs may no longer work once you use them to remove the required spyware.

    I have never used Kazaa or even paid much attention to it, but I thinnk it comes in a version that is free byut contains spyware and another paid version that does not.

    TambourineMan said:

    << I have never used Kazaa or even paid much attention to it, but I think it comes in a version that is free but contains spyware and another paid version that does not. >>

    I don't condone the use of P2P, but there is a spyware-free version. (not supported, or something...) Try doing a google search for "k++" if you want to find it.

    I use Ad-Aware and SpyBot - both work well

    That's a great list, OP.

    whats the difference between an official and semi-official thread?? <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-confused.gif"border=0>

    skunkbuster2000 said:

    << whats the difference between an official and semi-official thread?? <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-confused.gif"border=0> >>

    Official threads are ones posted by FatWallet employees or threads that are made sticky.

    Since mine is neither, it's only semi-official.<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-confused.gif"border=0>

    Happy Thanksgiving!<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>

    I think you should add the Computer Associates Antivirus software. This is free for one year it blocks cookies, pops and has a firewall.

    Do any of these programs do a "search and destroy" for trojan horse programs? I'm not sure if those would be classified under gut feeling is that they would be, but I just want to be sure.

    I use AdAware every two weeks or so. I have Mozilla set to enable cookies from the originating website only, and to delete all cookies when I quit Mozilla. I also clear the history and cache just before I quit Mozilla. I have to reenter usernames and passwords whenever I start Mozilla back up, but it's not that painful.

    GoBears98 said:

    << Do any of these programs do a "search and destroy" for trojan horse programs? >>

    wouldnt that be almost impossible under windows? With so many different versions, patches, etc it would have to keep checksums of every known version in relation to what service pack/patches had been applied

    Trojans are tricky, Spybot Search and destroy will find a few, but an antivirus program is really best. They won't always be found, partially that their creation is dynamic and they always change. For a free virus scan try Symantec Security and Virus Check.

    Happy Holidays, everyone!<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>


    There are at least a few threads in this forum each day that would not have to be posted since the answers are contained here.

    How about a sticky Mods?

    I wish it were a sticky.

    I definitely find this helpful. These are some of the main things I use to recover people's computers. Thanks, Compsurfer!

    No problem, TheRoni. Happy Holidays!<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>

    Make this a sticky, please. Daily questions are solved by the info in this post.

    Thank You very much! <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>

    I find this thread useful, but I always look for and post my computer issues in the computer help forum...makes sense to me...

    So IMHO, make a "first aid" thread in the computer help forum, including the useful info in this thread, and links to other free online scans (including symantec, McAfee, and Panda) plus even sites like (spelling? site sponsored by CompUSA, whose "stores" I detest, lol). Then it would deserve a sticky!

    I'll add those links soon, AcidSpectrum.

    Bump!<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>

    Added the links, Bump!<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>


    How 'bout making this a stickey, mods?

    Just checked my sister's PC with adaware. Before I ran adaware, it took an incredibly look time to start ,encountered two serious errors, and ran as slow as molasses ( Windows XP). Ran adaware and it found 345 items ( most I had ever seen!) Most were registry entries and I deleted all of them. Restarted a couple times and now runs like a charm. Have to train her to "just say no" to anything that wants to download to her PC.

    Glad to hear a computer's running well!<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

    anyone notice a problem with cash back when using spyware blaster 3.1?

    The newest 3.x version of SpyWareBlaster still has a few bugs that need to be worked out.

    Once you do an update, you need to go to the Protection tab and scroll through the entire blocked list for Internet explorer and uncheck the following items:


    Then click the button for "remove protection from unchecked items"

    If you have mozilla and or firefox installed, then you need to do the same thing using the button for those browsers.

    Each and every time you do an update, you need to go through this proceedure again otherwise it'll block these items which are needed for CashBack.

    With the old version, you could configure it to only show items that you are unprotected against after an update. This way you could select all, then scroll to the bottom and uncheck those items right away. The new version does not have the ability to do this yet. So because of this, you have to scroll through all of the entries.

    Also, everyone should download "regprot.exe" and "spyware guard", by Javacool soft, the same that made "spywareblaster"

    I see Regprot.exe as the last line defense, if your firewall and antivirus fail, the program keeps everything away from your registry.

    DiamondCS Registry Prot v2.0 here

    As far as antivirus goes, I think Avast is great. Here

    Thanks for the info on DiamondCS Registry Prot v2.0, Mav12.<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> I'll add it to the list.

    You're welcome. CompSurfer what do you mean by bump this thread?

    Here is another great antitrojan program, if you directly access the site, it's in German and that program is in German, but there is a way to get to an English version. I don't know, yet, how. Trojancheck (version 6)

    And the huge lists of anti-virus/spyware programs here and here

    Thanks for the new links, Mav12.

    "Bump" refers to how the thread replied to is "bumped" to the top of the list in the forum index of a particular section.

    Skipping 61 Messages...
    Gladly agreeing with Hunter on this.

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