My Virus Disaster! - Full PC Protection Advice & Tips 2 Speed Up Your PC!

40 replies
Hey,

Not in the best of mood's at the moment seeing as its 7am and ive now been up for way over 24 hours! However to top that i turned off my laptop about 30 minutes ago because the wireless was playing up, turned it back on and was faced with the blue screen of death! ARRRGHHH!



Okay it didn't look exactly like that but you get the picture (plus i needed something to make me laugh)!

So anyway after trying to start my laptop up in safe mode, safe mode with networking, safe mode with command prompt, last known good configuration and finally normal, none worked! I tried bios, setup, everything... my only option was to hit F3 and run through the re-installation of windows causing EVERY SINGLE FILE AND SETTING TO BE LOST!

Ive now lost like 4 months of work, countless spreadsheets of keyword data and site data, hours of ebook writting for my new wso's and the hard copies of my current wso's, account information for sites and god knows whatever else! Oh yeah wait tonnes of pdf ebooks that ive purchased and some never read yet (suppose that will teach me to read them when i buy) and software going up to the value of $500.

But oh well everything happens for a reason right. Plus i knew i had some sort of porno virus but i didn't know it was that bad.

So without further ado... here is my advice on how to stop these virus's and spyware etc etc etc (oh yeah i do know how to stop them and get rid of them but just never got round to doing it, another kick in the teeth).

Anti-Virus -

By far the best one on the market is AVG anti-virus. The free version is good enough for anyone and is always free. In my opinion it is better than norton and whatever other anti-virus package you try and get sold when you buy a new pc.


Anti-Spyware/Anti-Malware/Anti-Adware (basicly all the annoying thing's and things that can track your pc)-

I normally don't bother with all of this crap but there are two tools i would suggest for this.

The first is called MalwareBytes Anti-Malware!

It really does the trick and is again free to use for anyone and everyone. It detects all sort of junk on your pc and delete's it for you in a click, plus it doesn't take all that long to run and you can use your pc at the same time.


The second tool is called Spybot Search and Destroy! This one use to be my favourite but it tends to always find the same sort of thing's which actually arn't all that harmfull. However still it finds some things that MalwareBytes doesn't and plus it has some cool advanced features too.


PC Cleanup's and Performance Enhancer's -

Yep these do actually exist and besides the obvious of defragging your harddrive every so often and deleting un-needed files and programs as well as running the disk cleanup (which seems to take forever) you can use these two more advanced programs.

The first is called CCleaner!

It does exactly what its name suggest's and cleans up your pc. The advanced options are the best which will delete shortcuts that you can't see but which are in the pc and telling it that programs are there, there and there when in fact they arn't anymore. Plus it can clean up your temp files etc etc etc and so no more (p0rn) traces left, lol.


The second tool is called TuneUp Utilities 2009.

This one is the only one that costs however you can get a free 30 day trial. It has a load of tools inside it that really help you clean up your pc and has a noticable effect on its performance. It costs around $50 but for the illegal lovers out there you can 'find' it for free!

Click Here To Download The Free Trial Of TuneUp Utilities 2009!

Free Tips On Improving the Speed of Your PC!

If you want to do some simple things to increase the speed of your pc then you can do the following. Some make your pc look less 'glamorous' but still sometimes you have to make sacrafices!

First -
Change your wallpaper to a single colour rather than a picture. Beleive it or not it does actually make a difference!

Second -

Start > Right Click on My Computer > Properties > Advanced

Now you want to click on Settings in the Performace box and select 'Adjust for Best Performance'.

This will mean you go back to a windows 98 style look but your pc's speed will be increased a hell of alot! Especially if you run multiple things at once. You can also just de-select some of the options like a shadow under the mouse and other cosmetic changes that you wouldn't even normally notice had you not read that they existed. These will also slightly improve your pc's performance.

Third -
In the same section as in the second tip if you click on 'Advanced' at the top and then click on 'Change'.

Then you will want to change the 'cache' size to a higher value. I normally just set them both up by 128MB from what they are on at the moment or select system managed size.

Be carefull with this one because if you set it too high or too low then you can actually reduce the performance as for the cache the pc accesses it from the harddrive. However if your pc freezes up alot then you will want to change this (there is more documentation available online for this).


Now im sure that will be enough information to keep you all busy for the next few hours or so...

Oh and most importantly don't forget to back thing's up, i even own an external harddrive and know i will be using it alot more now than i was! (You can pick these up relatively cheap on ebay now too).

Hope this helps you and please don't make a stupid mistake like me and leave it till its too late!

Tom Brite
#advice #computer #disaster #full #learn #protect #protection #virus
  • Good tips and I'm sorry to hear about your troubles but I believe your most important point is the one thing that could have saved you a LOT of grief:

    BACK UP YOUR DATA!!!

    I, too, learned the hard way after losing a gut-wrenching amount of data on a laptop a couple of years ago.

    These days, back everything up once a day to two different sources:

    Once to a physical external hard drive here in my office and then again to an online source.

    This means that even if something as terrible as a fire happens, I know that my data will be safe.

    An ounce of prevention is truly worth several pounds' of cure.

    -DareDevil
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    DareDevil Marketing
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom Brite
      Originally Posted by Daredevil Marketing View Post

      Good tips and I'm sorry to hear about your troubles but I believe your most important point is the one thing that could have saved you a LOT of grief:

      BACK UP YOUR DATA!!!

      I, too, learned the hard way after losing a gut-wrenching amount of data on a laptop a couple of years ago.

      These days, back everything up once a day to two different sources:

      Once to a physical external hard drive here in my office and then again to an online source.

      This means that even if something as terrible as a fire happens, I know that my data will be safe.

      An ounce of prevention is truly worth several pounds' of cure.

      -DareDevil
      Glad to hear that its not only me that this happens to!

      Really does suck though, maybe it will mean i re-focus and get my act together though and get some more things complete and done and dusted.

      Just a big ass pain at the moment!

      Tom Brite
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      • Profile picture of the author stinkbug
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        • Profile picture of the author Tom Brite
          Originally Posted by stinkbug View Post

          If you can get to another computer and download the Knoppix ISO, you can boot from the Live CD you will burn with this disc image, and get to your files so that you can back them up. Knoppix would be immune to the virus, because it is a Linux distro. Next you clean install the O/S after formatting the hard drive. AVG is good, but Windows will always have security vulnerabilities no matter how protected you might like to think you are. If you have a ghost partition, or some other kind of recovery partition, you may still be at risk if the virus saw the recovery partition. Needless to say, make sure you always get a recovery disc, or better yet a Windows disc, when you buy a PC.
          No use telling me all this now lol!

          Plus im using one of those new netbook things which doesn't have a cd drive, although i was surprised that there wasn't an option just to make a new partition like there is if you use the windows cd and reinstall everything. Then you can keep your files too!

          Tom Brite
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  • Profile picture of the author sridhar
    Originally Posted by Tom Brite View Post

    ....
    Anti-Virus -

    By far the best one on the market is AVG anti-virus. ....
    Strongly disagree.

    Nod32 and Kaspersky are what can be termed as the best.

    :: Virus.gr :: | Antivirus programs and protection guide, virus info, antivirus tests, Free Antivirus Tools! is an excellent resource on this subject.
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  • Profile picture of the author NickCook
    I always back up my data to an external drive, even a usb flash drive...You can get cheap 16GB flash drives now...Another option is a portable hard drive...

    I've come to the conclusion that Windows is unstable and can crash without warning at any time... I lose data because of computer problems at least every 3-6 months...

    Oh well...Hope you can catch up to where you were before...
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom Brite
      Originally Posted by NickCook View Post

      I always back up my data to an external drive, even a usb flash drive...You can get cheap 16GB flash drives now...Another option is a portable hard drive...

      I've come to the conclusion that Windows is unstable and can crash without warning at any time... I lose data because of computer problems at least every 3-6 months...

      Oh well...Hope you can catch up to where you were before...
      Yeah i sure as hell hope i can too!

      Know i have alot of work to do but ive found some cool tools/software to help me automate alot of stuff now so some good has come from it all after all!

      Tom Brite
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      • Profile picture of the author usman.gaggo
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        • Profile picture of the author Tom Brite
          Originally Posted by usman.gaggo View Post

          i am realy thankful to you.
          your post is realy so great and i have done the same method as you mentioned in the post.
          i have changes my theme.and now i am using single color windows classic theme.
          i have also select the option of best performance.now the speed is realy good .
          thanks again and agian for such great post.
          i am also downloading AVG antivirus.
          thanks again.
          No problem!

          Hopefully you will be using this quicker performance speed to your advantage and getting more done! Or you could use it to load up 5 youtube videos at the same time and pause 4 while you watch the first and then not have to wait for the rest

          Tom Brite
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          • Profile picture of the author Lawrh
            Check your netbooks bios and see if it can boot from a flash drive. If so you can download a Knoppix image which will boot from your flash drive, thus giving you a file recovery option for the future.

            BTW, Avg and Kaspersky are completely outclassed by Avira and Nod32.
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            “Strategy without action is a day-dream; action without strategy is a nightmare.” – Old Japanese proverb -

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  • Profile picture of the author gareth
    Heres my advise after battling virut and losing a couple of weeks back.

    Install Ubuntu LINUX - It totally rocks.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom Brite
      Originally Posted by gareth View Post

      Heres my advise after battling virut and losing a couple of weeks back.

      Install Ubuntu LINUX - It totally rocks.
      Only problem i find with LINUX is that its program support is minimal, or am i totally wrong on that?

      I only looked into linux once and got scared when i saw how many different versions there are and how they all work differently and are for different purposes etc... it made me think that i had to actually go into the control prompt to do anything!

      Now that was a few years back but still scared me

      Tom Brite
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  • Profile picture of the author elle56
    I was using One Care Live then switched to Kaspersky. Prior to that I was using free stuff like AVG.

    Got the anti-virus and internet security pack.
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  • Profile picture of the author n7 Studios
    Great article, Tom.

    Can certainly vouch for AVG, MalwareBytes, Spybot and CCleaner. I've commonly used those in IT support for removing viruses and spyware from infected PC's.

    For Rootkits, I'd recommend F-Secure's free Blacklight tool:
    http://www.f-secure.com/en_EMEA/secu...ght/index.html

    Very lightweight, fast, and has revealed rootkits for me in the past to solve issues.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom Brite
      Originally Posted by n7 Studios View Post

      Great article, Tom.

      Can certainly vouch for AVG, MalwareBytes, Spybot and CCleaner. I've commonly used those in IT support for removing viruses and spyware from infected PC's.

      For Rootkits, I'd recommend F-Secure's free Blacklight tool:
      BlackLight

      Very lightweight, fast, and has revealed rootkits for me in the past to solve issues.
      This thread is now going from a hill into a mountain of information.

      Great share thanks

      Tom Brite
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      • Profile picture of the author rosetrees
        I'm paranoid about backups - I subscribed to carbonite a few weeks ago. Online backup. I also use an external drive - but as I use a laptop it isn't permanently connected.

        I'm a fan of Avast antivirus - and you missed superantispyware from your list of malware programs.
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        • Profile picture of the author webwyn
          Tom, sorry to hear that you lost so much data and time. Not sure if you were able to, but as for an option for recovery did you consider getting the hard drive replaced before (re-)installing Windows. Then use the old hard drive to recover the much need data files (ie: spreadsheets etc). In this instance the old drive would of been the basic backup.

          You may be able to look at some file recovery software to see if any of the data is still accessible after the re-install.

          I think one of the key issues here is RECOVERY. Backups are one thing, but the speed of recovery is the key to a good backup/recovery policy.

          In doing backups, RAID Mirror is probably the most preferable to a speedy recovery. Failing that Image backups are probably next best, without having to reinstall all programs.

          Of course, keeping security software (not just anti-virus) installed and up to date, including operating system (Windows, etc) and browsers (Internet Explorer etc) and other relevant software up to date with security patches also helps.
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          "To know that you know, and to know that you don't know - that is real wisdom." - Confucious

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          • Profile picture of the author Tom Brite
            Originally Posted by webwyn View Post

            Tom, sorry to hear that you lost so much data and time. Not sure if you were able to, but as for an option for recovery did you consider getting the hard drive replaced before (re-)installing Windows. Then use the old hard drive to recover the much need data files (ie: spreadsheets etc). In this instance the old drive would of been the basic backup.

            You may be able to look at some file recovery software to see if any of the data is still accessible after the re-install.

            I think one of the key issues here is RECOVERY. Backups are one thing, but the speed of recovery is the key to a good backup/recovery policy.

            In doing backups, RAID Mirror is probably the most preferable to a speedy recovery. Failing that Image backups are probably next best, without having to reinstall all programs.

            Of course, keeping security software (not just anti-virus) installed and up to date, including operating system (Windows, etc) and browsers (Internet Explorer etc) and other relevant software up to date with security patches also helps.
            Damn that is alot of information, i think i need to lie down now! lol

            Thanks
            Tom Brite
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            • Profile picture of the author webwyn
              Yes Tom I did try to squeeze a lot into a small post, LOL. I guess I was trying to cater for a wider audience on some good practices for recovery planning and risk.

              In your case I think the main item is the file recovery software. Have you tried any file recovery software now that you have re-installed. Some of the spreadsheets and other files may (I stress 'may') be recoverable.
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              "To know that you know, and to know that you don't know - that is real wisdom." - Confucious

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        • Profile picture of the author kirbymurphy
          Originally Posted by rosetrees View Post

          I'm paranoid about backups - I subscribed to carbonite a few weeks ago. Online backup. I also use an external drive - but as I use a laptop it isn't permanently connected.
          Hello folks! 1st poster here.

          Best bet is be prepared to restore your OS to its normal configuration. If you're like me, you have customized many settings and have a long list of software add-ons that would be a mess to reinstall.

          Tom Brite didn't mention if he tried a System Restore using a valid restore point. SR has saved my bacon (and some friends/family) several times. If you're not familiar with it, you should read up on the help files. When you install a new piece of software, you should create a new Restore Point.

          Backup, backup, backup! If the worst should happen, at least have the data backed up. I use Mozy.com for 2Gb free space. (If you sign up at mozy dot com/?code=QDALVH , you and I both get an extra 256Mb of free storage.) I set it to backup every 3 days.

          Just be sure to write down your account info in case you need to restore. The backups are automatic, but you may need to login to resore. If you do crash the hard drive, you'll need to download the software prior to restore, and then login.

          Having a 2nd partition on a drive is better than nothing, but if the hardware fails, you've lost both partitions. If the partition table gets corrupted, you've lost both drives. A better solution is add a second drive and use a product like Second Copy to make background backups.

          I also dump weekly to DVD (using name brand disks only )

          I also have an older 80Gb hard drive that I hooked up with a IDE to USB converter from Ebay. $12 I think. I use it now and then to backup data from my desktops and laptop. There are many available standalone USB drives that will do the job. Newegg.com sells a Fuji 300Gb for $75 with free shipping.

          I even share a couple of folders on my PC's and use them as backups. Better too much than too little.
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          • Profile picture of the author tj
            Kirbymurphy, thanks a lot for a good first post here in the forum and welcome!

            What size is your backup that you arte uploading to Mozy? I think that an online backup is a great idea if your file size is not that big. File more than 2 GB in size should be not backup'ed online if you do not have a fast online connection. I am out of luck anyway with a size of 15 GB - just for the important files. So a external hard drive goes to the bank every week with that stuff.

            Timo
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            • Profile picture of the author kirbymurphy
              Originally Posted by tj View Post

              Kirbymurphy, thanks a lot for a good first post here in the forum and welcome!

              What size is your backup that you are uploading to Mozy? I think that an online backup is a great idea if your file size is not that big. File more than 2 GB in size should be not backup'ed online if you do not have a fast online connection. I am out of luck anyway with a size of 15 GB - just for the important files. So a external hard drive goes to the bank every week with that stuff.

              Timo
              I'm really close to the 2Gb free limit, like about 95%. The software has a neat check-box system where you can go through the drive and pick the folders to backup. Mozy offers unlimited storage for $4.95 a month. I'm too cheap to actually pay for more. :rolleyes:

              The first backup can take a bit of time on ADSL or cable since they upload speed is slower than download. After that it only backs up new files or files that have changed. Not too slow at all.

              You might be a candidate for a BlueRay DVD burner. (after the media price drops) A single-layer disc can hold 25GB. A dual-layer disc can hold 50GB. 25Gb disks run $5 to $6. 50Gb media is like $50 I think. Burners run $150 to $250.

              Originally Posted by tj View Post

              ........ So a external hard drive goes to the bank every week with that stuff. Timo
              Yep!
              IMHO you can't beat a good hard drive backup. It's there, you can look at the data, it's easy to grab files from. I've seen and read about too many magnetic tape drives and Raid failure backups to trust them, besides the cost. Off-site storage is smart.
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  • Profile picture of the author waken
    Well honestly.. AVG works so well for me for so many years now and it's being updated so frequent even compared to paid ones.

    (new viruses being born everyday and so it's vital that your antivirus software has an up to date virus definition or else, it won't even recognize a virus as virus. And AVG never fail so far).
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    • Profile picture of the author Vikuna2009+
      Sorry for your loss Tom and a BIG thank you for posting this. Time to set some of it in action ! I too got a virus a few months ago and since I'm no techie, had to bring it in.

      They did save my files but had to dump em' all into one file and its all kind of scrambled but I've now learned how to find most stuff. On top of that, had to be without my laptop for 17 days and costed me $220 !

      Thanks again for the info.
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      • Profile picture of the author Tom Brite
        Originally Posted by Vikuna2009+ View Post

        Sorry for your loss Tom and a BIG thank you for posting this. Time to set some of it in action ! I too got a virus a few months ago and since I'm no techie, had to bring it in.

        They did save my files but had to dump em' all into one file and its all kind of scrambled but I've now learned how to find most stuff. On top of that, had to be without my laptop for 17 days and costed me $220 !

        Thanks again for the info.
        Ouch!

        This has only really cost me time in re-setting everything up and doing everything again! However time is money so you could say ive lost alot!

        Tom Brite
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  • Profile picture of the author new2ebiz
    Tom here is a tip that might help with backups in the future.

    I divide my hard drive into two partitions at least. C is where the programs are installed. Another partition is where I store my 'work' files. I might create another for my music files or whatever.
    So when (not if) I have a computer 'die' I can easily decide which files I want to restore first. It helps me keep my sanity, somewhat at least.
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  • Profile picture of the author forest_boy001
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  • Profile picture of the author gareth
    Ubuntu is easier and better than windows

    People just don't know about it - I've been using it for 2-3 weeks now and am finding it a breeze.

    Tomorrow I will stick XP into virtualbox

    HINT - pick up a disk from somewhere and run the OS from disk to check it out - I didnt bother just jumped right in.

    The vanilla Ubuntu is fully functional but once you have your video hardware and internet setup its far superior to windows - just be sure to install compiz.

    Check compiz out at youtube.
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  • Profile picture of the author techuse
    For better PC optimization I use Tuneup Utilities.
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  • Profile picture of the author Regional Warrior
    Tom

    I have to say that AVG sucks big time it did not pick a virus called Skybot or one called WIN32 Vonderloo (spelling is wrong I know) and it just killed my Lappy and had to press the old F9 to start all over again

    So I would say use something else besides AVG

    Jason
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  • Profile picture of the author gareth
    I guess computer viruses may yet come to be the greatest curse of our age.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cody Rainer
    Some great advice on keeping your computer clean. I also use Mozy for backup... it's easy to use and has 2GB free storage.

    I'll just add that if you want another great tool to get rid of spyware or adware, check out Lavasoft's Ad-Aware. They've been around the longest, I think. They have a free and paid version, but the free version does the trick.
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  • Profile picture of the author Emmanuel ED
    Great Tips!,
    Happened to me sometime ago, I was trying to install an application and my computer went haywire. For spyware protection I use Spyware doctor. AND I back up my files regularly to an external hard drive-comes in handy these days...

    I also use TuneUp utilities, very great set of tools and Registry mechanic. You must have lost a lot of valuables in there.
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    • Profile picture of the author StephenDavies
      My elderly Aunt purchased a computer last year. I stressed to her over and over again the need to protect her computer and her data.

      I told her where to get free anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software. I explained that she needed to update both the software and the viurs / spyware patterns as often as possible, and that she needed to carry out regular scans.

      I explained that over time she would accumulate large anounts of data and photos, and that she should consider purchasing an external drive to use as a back-up for when the main computer failed, as it surely would.

      Shortly after that my laptop displayed the blue screen of death followed by a hard drive failure, then I realised that the last back I had done was 8 months ago.

      You don't realise how much stuff you can loose in 8 months, especially if you are into internet marketing and are a serial 'latest new idea' buyer like me!

      To make it worse I had become dependent on RoboForm to store my passwords, and didn't keep a physical back-up.

      I can't face telling my Aunt yet. Maybe one day.
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  • If you must use Windows, partition your hard drive and keep your data on one partition and your system on the other. That way, when Windows poops the bed (as it will), you simply re-install on the system partition.
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