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    Default What is the best way to remove adware?

    Yesterday, somehow, I picked up some adware, and it's completely bogging my machine down. In ten years online I've never picked up a virus, spyware, or the like. I honestly have no clue how I got this, but Windows Defender isn't finding it completely.

    Anyone have an recommendations for the best approach/program for removal of this kind of a thing?

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    Sinner's Swing! graeme's Avatar
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    Sometimes the best way is to simply find your last system restore point before the program got into your computer and reset to that.

    Sometimes works with this kind of rubbish.
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    It's best to run several anti-spybot and anti-adware programs concurrently. No single program will get rid of everything, but running several programs increase your chances of keeping your computer clean(er).
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    The best way to get rid of it? Grab your data off the drive, and reformat. Painful? Sure. Arguably less painful than dealing with the frustration that naturally comes along with repeated attempts to clear off well-designed malware or trojan horses. Especially given the danger of your computer having been compromised, sending your data... somewhere.

    Best way to prevent it? Use Linux (yuck) or a Mac.

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    Those are the best. Sometimes though all you can do is reformat/reload. Good luck.
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    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    Sometimes formatting is the only option, unless you're ready to dig.

    First of all, I hit 'em with Windows Defender and/or Ad Aware (depending on if one or the other is already loaded). Make sure the definitions are up to date before scanning. Boot into safe mode. Unless you think you might wish to attempt a restore later, turn off system restore. Try to clean up temp crap ahead of time - c:\documents and settings\(your login)\local settings\temp - delete anything in that folder, and anything in C:\windows\temp. Delete your temporary internet files, too. Then run a full scan, not a quick scan.

    If that doesn't do it, but you're still not ready to reformat - you may have to get surgical. Run Msconfig and look for stuff that's starting up that's not supposed to and delete it at the source ("Start Up" or in the registry) and don't forget to delete the file, too. Go to your c:\windows\system32 and look for recent .exe and .dlls that look out of place - but make sure you know what they are before you delete them (there are sites where you can look up files and see what they are, but sometimes they're not complete and you have to go with your gut). Also, if you're going to delete a suspicious file - search for it in the registry, might find a reference to another file that you're not even looking for that could be the whole root cause (something that's been placed in your "My Documents" or c:\windows\inf or some other offbeat location). There worst ones are the ones that attach themselves to explorer.exe, but if you know what you're doing you can find them and kill them.

    But again, for peace of mind, nothing beats a good formatting!

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk MikeL's Avatar
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    Once you've done all of that, you may want to monitor your network traffic for a while, too. I've seen some very nasty trojan horses that are as resilient as Keith Richards, and sometimes pretty subtle, too. DNS redirects, installing email servers, chat bots, remote access for someone, hard-drive indexing... nasty, nasty stuff.

    Last year my father had some of that going on. Identity theft is just too easy if someone has access to your computer through the Internet. How many people keep things such as their tax records on their PCs? Thankfully, my parents were willing to do the identity theft drill--calling their banks, credit card companies, and freezing their credit.

    Having seen all of this on more than a few occasions over the years, there is absolutely no way that I would keep any sensitive information on a Windows-based PC. My Windows XP box has literally nothing but programs on it. No e-mail, no records, absolutely nothing to do with a credit card. Nothing.

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    Thanks for the info, guys. There's some excellent suggestions here. I do appreciate the help very much.

    After I made my original post I remembered I hadn't tried the system restore. Since I could literally pinpoint the moment I contracted this thing (6:29 AM yesterday morning), I just went back 24 hours before that. So far all seems to be operating okay again. I went and did a Windows update and ran Defender again.

    I spent about five hours yesterday digging through files and folders looking for any sign of this adware thing. It was everywhere--in random folders for media players, programs, etc., and it reconfigured my whole startup so my internet and task bar were just fucked up. It seemed like it was one of those thigns that would restart itself; even after I got things mostly fixed if I opened Explorer or restarted my computer it would start all over again.

    Like I said, this is the first I've EVER had to deal with this kind of a thing. Frustrating, to say the least.

    **Crossing my fingers the restore got rid of it**

  10. #10
    Atomic Punk sixstring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeL View Post
    The best way to get rid of it? Grab your data off the drive, and reformat. Painful? Sure. Arguably less painful than dealing with the frustration that naturally comes along with repeated attempts to clear off well-designed malware or trojan horses. Especially given the danger of your computer having been compromised, sending your data... somewhere.

    Best way to prevent it? Use Linux (yuck) or a Mac.
    Man, AT, sorry to hear that - I've been dealting with the same problem the last 3 weeks or so - it even got to the point that Time Warner Cable suspended my service for about two weeks until I cleaned my hard drive. Get the virus stuff off you system ASAP if you can, and BE WARY - you can search FOR DAYS and not find those files - they're just hidden too well so I think that's good advice to blank your hard drive and start over. It's a MAJOR pain in the ass but really the only way to guarantee you get rid of the problem. Godd luck, bro...

    -B
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]


    "20 minutes (late to work)? Shit. Last year I woke up three weeks too late.
    My advice is to go for the alien abduction story. Look bemused, dishevelled and on the verge of tears as you recount your story of intrusive and degrading medical tests.
    Worked for me anyway. I still have colleagues asking me what it is like to fuck a green womanoid with seventeen breasts.
    Alternatively just walk in and inform everyone that alcoholism is indeed a disease and that they should be less judgemental and perhaps a little more supportive."
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sixstring View Post
    Man, AT, sorry to hear that - I've been dealting with the same problem the last 3 weeks or so - it even got to the point that Time Warner Cable suspended my service for about two weeks until I cleaned my hard drive. Get the virus stuff off you system ASAP if you can, and BE WARY - you can search FOR DAYS and not find those files - they're just hidden too well so I think that's good advice to blank your hard drive and start over. It's a MAJOR pain in the ass but really the only way to guarantee you get rid of the problem. Godd luck, bro...

    -B
    I think **still crossing fingers** I got lucky, and the restore got rid of everything. Since doing it I've restarted three times, and my system is running normally again (no sluggishness) and Defender hasn't found anything. I'm going to be very careful, though, and keep checking in the coming days.

    You've probably already tried it, Six, but if you haven't go back about a month and do a system restore.

    Lastly, props to the VH Links gang: This really is an awesome community of people. I messed with my computer for hours yesterday, and I did countless seraches on the web for solutions, etc. The advice laid out by you guys here in just a matter of a couple hours since I posted was more helpful than all of that. So thanks again, everyone.

  12. #12
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewThomas.net View Post
    Yesterday, somehow, I picked up some adware, and it's completely bogging my machine down. In ten years online I've never picked up a virus, spyware, or the like. I honestly have no clue how I got this, but Windows Defender isn't finding it completely.

    Anyone have an recommendations for the best approach/program for removal of this kind of a thing?
    How do you know when you have picked up ad ware? And is this a virus? Not a real computer savvy person. Sometimes my computer runs slow and sometimes it doesn't. I have McAfee Security Suite installed. Will this catch it all?

    When i try to do a system restore on any of my last few restore points, it says it isn't able to and that no changes were made.

    Hope you don't mind me piggy backing on your thread AT.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hagarfn View Post
    How do you know when you have picked up ad ware? And is this a virus? Not a real computer savvy person. Sometimes my computer runs slow and sometimes it doesn't. I have McAfee Security Suite installed. Will this catch it all?

    When i try to do a system restore on any of my last few restore points, it says it isn't able to and that no changes were made.

    Hope you don't mind me piggy backing on your thread AT.
    I don't mind at all.

    I think the more people know what's happening and how to recognize this kind of stuff, the better we'll all be off; if you catch a virus on your machine and know what it is and how to get rid of it right away, the less likely you will pass it on to others.

    I have never had ANYTHING infect my computer, and I think the only reason why is I don't visit questionable websites, don't click on random links/pop-ups, and I don't download anything if I don't know where and who it came from. Somehow, though, I messed up yesterday and let this thing in.

    Adware is something that completely reconfigures your system files and places random (and lots of) tasks throughout your computer to "pop up" ads and links in browser windows. (This is what I've come to know it as in my 36 or so hours of experiencing it.) I noticed it seriously affected my internet configuration (it actually deactivated my wireless router when it attempted to infiltrate the Windows controller), and it would cause a series of pop-up ads whenever I'd switch website pages. Some of the ads were predictable--porn, mortgage, gambling, all the stuff you see in your junk mail inbox--but some of the ads looked like serious business--law firms and medical services. Any business that signs on to these means of advertising should be reprimanded, and I of course would never fucking give any of them my business.

    So, moral of the story, be careful. Don't go download crazy, and clear out your cookies often.

    **Still normal with the machine. This is good**

  14. #14
    Atomic Punk sixstring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewThomas.net View Post
    I don't mind at all.

    I think the more people know what's happening and how to recognize this kind of stuff, the better we'll all be off; if you catch a virus on your machine and know what it is and how to get rid of it right away, the less likely you will pass it on to others.

    I have never had ANYTHING infect my computer, and I think the only reason why is I don't visit questionable websites, don't click on random links/pop-ups, and I don't download anything if I don't know where and who it came from. Somehow, though, I messed up yesterday and let this thing in.

    Adware is something that completely reconfigures your system files and places random (and lots of) tasks throughout your computer to "pop up" ads and links in browser windows. (This is what I've come to know it as in my 36 or so hours of experiencing it.) I noticed it seriously affected my internet configuration (it actually deactivated my wireless router when it attempted to infiltrate the Windows controller), and it would cause a series of pop-up ads whenever I'd switch website pages. Some of the ads were predictable--porn, mortgage, gambling, all the stuff you see in your junk mail inbox--but some of the ads looked like serious business--law firms and medical services. Any business that signs on to these means of advertising should be reprimanded, and I of course would never fucking give any of them my business.

    So, moral of the story, be careful. Don't go download crazy, and clear out your cookies often.

    **Still normal with the machine. This is good**
    Right on, brutha...
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]


    "20 minutes (late to work)? Shit. Last year I woke up three weeks too late.
    My advice is to go for the alien abduction story. Look bemused, dishevelled and on the verge of tears as you recount your story of intrusive and degrading medical tests.
    Worked for me anyway. I still have colleagues asking me what it is like to fuck a green womanoid with seventeen breasts.
    Alternatively just walk in and inform everyone that alcoholism is indeed a disease and that they should be less judgemental and perhaps a little more supportive."
    - graeme on the addiction to this place.

    "something tells me that after the nuclear holocaust, there'll be twinkies, cockroaches, and a dave vs. sammy argument going on somewhere".
    - han valen, 6.11.04

    "in my best "saw" scary movie voice: "oh, yes, there will be beagles."
    - hatchetforce, 6.7.06

  15. #15
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hagarfn View Post
    How do you know when you have picked up ad ware? And is this a virus? Not a real computer savvy person. Sometimes my computer runs slow and sometimes it doesn't. I have McAfee Security Suite installed. Will this catch it all?

    When i try to do a system restore on any of my last few restore points, it says it isn't able to and that no changes were made.

    Hope you don't mind me piggy backing on your thread AT.
    Sometimes you just know - you go to a page and down in the corner you catch some sort of process running and you know you just got bit. Other times, you just don't know - but all of a sudden you seem to be seeing more pop-ups than usual and of a questionable nature. Or your virus protection keeps saying it found something - maybe it cleans it, maybe it says it can't. There is no problem that catches it all, so buy a good one you're comfortable with (and McAfee should be good), but also keep tools handy like Ad-Aware and Windows Defender, which both are free and vouched for by many (some like SpyBot as well, but I haven't used it much, so I can't endorse it).

    The system restore thing is kind of weird. First thought is to think maybe restore is turned off, but then I think if you tried to restore you'd get a message that says something like "restore is currently turned off, do you want to turn it on now?". Maybe if you're fairly confident with the current state of your Windows, it might be worth it to turn it off (which I believe will clear all restore points - maybe there's something corrupt), reboot, and then turn it back on.

 

 

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