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spyware, adware, malware, etc. -- help!!!

This is probably one of the stupidest posts of all time, but after 2-1/2 years without serious trouble, I clicked on something the other night (I don't know what for sure) and now my XP Home,SBC Yahoo DSL Pro, with Spybot, Ad-Aware, Norton AV and Internet Security, Microsoft Antispyware, Spy Subtract, and even more, got badly messed up. The startup page, with all the icons, turned from blue to black with ''WARNING your computer may be infected ....'' in the background behind all the icons. I thought this ''warning'' was from Microsoft but when I clicked on it it turned out to be from PSGuard, which then apparently placed several dozen instances of spyware, or something, according to a free scan from Spyware Doctor. The free scan did not clean anything at all. All the others (Spybot, Ad-Aware, etc.) were of little use. The main culprits are of the Cool Web Search variety, with others scattered in. (I will note that I have no $$$ to pay for the 'fixes,' so any freeware leads would be much appreciated.) Please help this old newbie if you can. Thanks. ffej10

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ffej, Try This..

In reply to: spyware, adware, malware, etc. -- help!!!

First, click on the link below and download CWShredder to your desktop.

CWShredder 2.1x Hijack Removal Tool

Then restart the computer into Safe Mode using the instructions in the link below. Once there, run ALL of your spyware and antivirus tools INCLUDING the CWShredder program.

How To Start In 'Safe Mode'

Hope this helps.

Grif

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spyware, adware, malware, etc. ...

In reply to: ffej, Try This..

Grif:
Thanks much for the ideas. I ran CWShredder but my computer rebooted itself 3 times in a row while doing so, so something is goobered up with that. The trendmicro scan found several CoolWebs which it deleted, though. The startup icons screen still is black (instead of normal blue) with the 'warning' but I still have to do the Safe Mode. It's getting late (I'm in Central Time Zone) so I'll have to do more in the morning. Thanks again, progress is being made. ffej10

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Back up if

In reply to: spyware, adware, malware, etc. ...

you can and start over

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Ffej, Yep, Keep Trying Over and Over

In reply to: spyware, adware, malware, etc. ...

Keep trying in Safe Mode, then try in "normal" Windows. Use any and all scanning tools...Last week, I cleaned out two separate computers which took about 6-8 hours each...Repeated scans eventually got it done, although a couple of manual deletions were required in Safe Mode when specific files were identified and a scanner would clean them out.

Here's something else to try. Download the tool below, unzip it then run it. It stops a particular version of CoolWebSearch that shuts down your antispyware programs. After the tool does it's job, then CWShredder, Ad-Aware and Spybot should run correctly.

CoolWWWSearch.SmartKiller removal tool

Here's another standalone tool that cleans out a number of viruses. As before, download it to your desktop, restart into Safe Mode, then run it repeatedly till it comes up clean.

McAfee Stinger Download Link

Hope this helps.

Grif

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same problem

In reply to: Ffej, Yep, Keep Trying Over and Over

I'm having the same problem. have tried to use the smartkiller removal tool, but am unable to unzip the file -- it keeps opening in Excel. I'm running windows 98 -- any idea why it won't unzip?
Tried shredder and it doesn't pick anything up.

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Blu, Do You Have An Unzipper Program?

In reply to: same problem

To open a .zip file, you'll need an unzipper program. Windows 98 doesn't install one by default. There are a lot of free ones available on the internet but here's a link to a small one that I use.

Cam Unzip
http://www.camunzip.com/

CWShredder is only ONE tool available for detecting spyware. If you don't already have them, download, install, update, then run ALL of the tools from the links below:

Ad-Aware">http://www.lavasoftusa.com/support/download/]Ad-Aware

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Spyware, malware, it's nasty stuff

In reply to: Blu, Do You Have An Unzipper Program?

Thanks Grif. don't believe there is a zipper program on there, so I'll give it a try as well as the virus checks.
The sick pc is a little-used basement machine, and who knows where the daughter went on it. It has adaware & norton antivirus on it, but they hadn't been updated/run for a couple months. Ran the updates then loaded spybot & fix-it utilities on it last weekend to try & get it back to normal. Have run them all in normal and safe modes several times, but the stuff keeps coming back. At what point do you just reformat the drive & start over?

blu

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Blu, It Depends on How Much Work You Want To Do...

In reply to: Spyware, malware, it's nasty stuff

...and whether you've got backups of the important data.

If it's only one bad malware file that keeps coming back and you can nail down the name of the malware, you can frequently determine which file is the problem and delete it manually. But it might take a while. On the other hand, especially if you've got the Recovery CD's that came with the computer, using the Recovery Cd to take the computer back to factory condition is pretty quick. (Place the Recovery Cd in the CD drive, restart the computer and you'll be given options to restore. Selecting the right option causes the computer to reformat and reinstall automatically. )Unfortunately, you then need to add any other programs that you had installed on the computer, plus install all the Windows Updates, etc.

It just depends on your situation. At the office, where we keep constant backups of all data and very few extra programs are installed, it can be less time consuming to simply reformat and reinstall. That may not be the case on a home computer with lots of personal programs installed, lots of music files, etc.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Don't forget the files . . .

In reply to: Spyware, malware, it's nasty stuff

which may be run when Windows starts; unknown programs in the Add/Remove Programs; and any lingering unknown files in the Windows\Temp folder that should be removed/eradicated.

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Have you tried Hijack this?

In reply to: spyware, adware, malware, etc. -- help!!!

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Free SpySweeper and Free ZoneAlarm

In reply to: spyware, adware, malware, etc. -- help!!!

I highly recommend downloading and installing the FREE (I think it lasts for 15 days) trial of SpySweeper to detect and remove your malware. In reviews, its detection and removal abilities are consistently rated the best. I have used SpySweeper to clean up many computers filled with nasty-nasties. In my opinion, it is easier to use than many of the free programs.

SpySweeper:
http://www.webroot.com/consumer/products/spysweeper/

It should get them all, but there may be a piece of malware that it will detect but can't remove. All you have to do is Google the name of the malware and you should find a removal tool or instructions from a respectable company (one that makes antispyware: Symantec, McAfee, Webroot, etc.)

After you have done this, you need to download ZoneAlarm free firewall. This will provide another layer of protection. It will help keep the Internet from placing malware on your computer, and it will also help to keep any malware that happens to be on your computer from sending info to the Internet.

Download FREE ZoneAlarm:
http://www.download.com/ZoneAlarm/3003-10435_4-10421033.html?tag=lst-0-1

After you have detected and removed all malware, then you can install the free antispyware and free antivirus programs of your choice

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dude

In reply to: spyware, adware, malware, etc. -- help!!!

i would if i wer u . Reboot the entire pc with the oem. then install everything. Then get a mcafee virus scan with the firewal. Then get spybot , ad-aware and spyware blaster from download.com
then ur done

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