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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

More Advanced Spyware Cleanup...


Some of the spyware out there can be a real pain in the neck to get rid of, and can do some real damage to the files that your computer uses to access the Internet.

Most malware will try to change Window's Internet files in order to redirect you to advertisers or other companies. When the malware tries to take over these files most of the time, instead of changing the Internet traffic, it brakes it, causing your Internet connection stop working all together. One of the most common errors is when trying to renew your PC's IP address, you will get "an operation was attempted on something that was not a socket" message. This means your Winsock files have been compromised. Luckily, there are some tools out there that make restoring those Winsock files pretty easy. For Windows XP, I like to use WinsockXPFix. For Windows 95,98,ME I like to use W2fix.

Some other more advanced tools for fighting malware are:

HighjackThis by Merijn is very useful but should only be used by knowledgeable users.
CWShredder is the best tool to remove variants of Cool Web Search.

I will also note that you can more easily remove spyware by keeping it from starting up when you turn on your computer. The best way to do this is to turn your computer on in Safe Mode, you can do this by tapping the F8 key as your computer is booting, and choosing Safe Mode from the Windows boot options. You can also disable individual programs from starting up by opening up msconfig ( window-key R then type in msconfig and press OK) Under the Startup tab is a list of all programs that start when Windows boots, you can uncheck any suspicious looking programs. (If you are not sure what one is try searching for the file name in Google.)


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