Is your anti-virus program installed and up to date? Sometimes not, but even if so, many threats still manage to get installed onto your system anyway. How? They trick you into clicking OK via sneaky popups, official looking upgrade offers, extra value added downloads along with other programs or games, or sometime by other malware programs. The reset your search engines, make themselves the internet start or search pages, install themselves as toolbars. Why aren't they blocked by those Anti-virus programs? Good question! Why indeed? If I was a conspiracy theorist ..
Don't pay Apu to do this for you. Hire me! or do it yourself. Not all annoying intrusive headache causing programs on your computer are considered to be viruses - and that is all most anti-virus programs look for (self-replicating programs). You also need anti-malware (both not one or the other) programs to get you computer and sanity back.
Stay tuned .. this is what I use. <but first I have to run to my day job - I'm late>
OK - I'm back!
- Step 1 - Update your antivirus program. Do you have one installed? Is it running at startup? Is is updating itself? You would be surprised the number of computers I am given to work with that have non-functioning or no antivirus protection at all. On the other hand, some seem to think, if one antivirus program is good then three or four must be better .. wrong. Choose just one. Otherwise, they fight with each other and will cause you grief. I like to use free antivirus options for home computers and commercial versions for work computers. AVG is my current choice - free.avg.com for home user, the paid version is a reasonable yearly amount for several stations - we have used this program at my day job for the past decade and have experienced no problems with it. You may have your own preference for free or paid antivirus. OK, just make sure it is installed and working. And remember, even with a functional antivirus program, you may still be afflicted with annoying malware programs spying on you in the background or popping up scary messages.
- Step 2 - Let's get rid of some of those annoying pop-up malware running in the background or installed as add-on toolbars. Aside: you may need to do this step first to permit you to get your antivirus program running properly. I have found the free adwcleaner to be quite effective in shutting down most of those annoying 'helper' programs. If necessary, download it on a working computer to a USB drive and run it on your sad broken internet computer. Click the Scan button first and then when that is done click the Clean button and when that is finished your system will reboot and voila, you should be exorcized of many of those malware demons.
- Step 3 - MBAM! I like to install and run Malwarebytes Anti-malware program (MBAM) next. It excels at finding and removing harder to find unwanted programs from your system. There is a paid version of MBAM in addition to the free one. I have found the free version to work well for this purpose. The install defaults to a trial version of the paid program and eventually will start to pop up helpful nag messages asking you to pay for the full version - what? OK, if you want. I tend to click the 'end free trial' link in bottom right and switch to the free version.
- Step 4 - CCleaner. Now that all those extra services that have been slowing you down have been removed, I like to finish with a current copy of CCleaner from ccleaner.com. This program also has a free and paid version available. While it does not detect or remove viruses, spyware, or malware, this utility offers several useful functions I like to run monthly or when the spirit moves me. a) The first finds and removes unneeded temporary windows/internet files from your system. b) The second detects and corrects problems with your windows registry, and c) the third lets you safely uninstall and remove programs from your system, including unexpected toolbars and other 'helper' programs that hijack your search settings and start pages when accessing the internet.
There, that should feel much better now. /rdd