Full Cleanup of your Computer...featuring Hitman Pro - HotUKDeals
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How to properly cleanup your computer, with just a few programs.

1) Check for malware with a quick scan of Hitman Pro (A 2 minute in the cloud scan of all the major locations using four different A/V engines). Uninstall when finished or leave as a permenant second scanner. If you decide to leave it, make sure to go into settings and uncheck it from starting it up.

http://www.surfright.nl/en/hitmanpro

If it finds lots of stuff (ignore tracking cookies as they are removed for free), I would suggest you activate the license and use its force breech future. If it finds a rootkit, go to a forum to get proper help. (I suggest bleepingcomputer forums, but there are many others that will help with full on removal, as rootkit removal can make your computer unbootable).

How to use the force breech feature:

Close the program and any other program running, hold down the left Ctrl Key and then double click to open it. Hitman Pro will then close any non-essential programs that are running. This ensures that no malware processes are running.


Download malwarebytes for further cleanup:

http://malwarebytes.org/

Also consider switching to another antivirus, as your current one is letting things through. There are multiple ones out there that are free:

Avira (http://www.free-av.com/)
Avast (http://www.avast.com/free-antivirus-download)
MSE (http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/)
AVG ( http://free.avg.com/us-en/download-avg-anti-virus-free)
Panda Cloud (http://www.cloudantivirus.com/en/).



2) Check MSCONFIG for processes not needed.

Start>run>msconfig (For XP and above).
In the startup tab.

The following are examples of things that can be safely disabled, to give quicker boot times:

Adobe Gamma loader, adobe reader speed launch, adobe reader synchronizer, qttask, Microsoft Office quick starter.


3) Disable java quick start service using services.msc.
Start>run>services.msc

Double click on Java Quick Starter service.

A dialog box should appear. Click the Stop button.

When the service stops,change the startup type from Automatic to Disabled. Click Apply. Click OK.
I have found the java quick start service frequently causes IE to max out CPU at times.

For the more adventurous out there, you can have a look at blackvipers list of services that are needed and not needed:

http://www.blackviper.com/Articles/OS/OSguides.htm


For those who want even more control of their startup programs, check out Microsoft's Autoruns. This is an ADVANCED technique. Don't use this unless your familiar with programs that are starting up.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx

4) Run CCLeaner portable - to clean up some of the temporary files. http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner

5) Check add/remove programs for any toolbars that are not needed.

6) Run the standalone filehippo update checker - to get the latest updates for most of the installed software. Its the second link there labelled "click here"

http://www.filehippo.com/updatechecker/


7) Use Auslogics Portable Disk Defrag to defragment the hard drives.
http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/disk-defrag/portable/

Inbuilt Windows defragmenter does not reduce number of fragments properly on hard drive. So even if run frequently, will still find thousands of files, all with multiple fragments all over the hard drive, which decreases speed.

8) Check Windows Updates and that you have the latest updates.
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#1
Thank you
#2
Thanks Chuckles2007 :)

What Firewall (software) should I use ?

How should I lock down my router (firewall hardware)

:|
#3
What a great post for those like me that need a bit of direction on looking after the health of thier computer. I already do some of what is there but not all, but I will do so
Thanks
#4
@DuffRulez - I have to say firewalls are a living hell. They really are. Anyone who tells you otherwise probably does not understand the average user.

Most firewalls have evolved from controlling your internet/network connection, into controlling whether programs can make changes to other programs - a HIPS - Host Intrusion Prevention System.

The problem is that most users (myself included at times) have no ideas how to answer the sort of prompts that come up. Or they end up restricting you from doing things you want to do. Here are some popular firewalls, all of which I have tried, but none of which I liked that much. Even though Comodo and Online Armor I used both for nearly 2 years each.

Comodo
http://www.comodo.com/home/download/download.php?prod=firewall

Outpost:
http://free.agnitum.com/

Online Armor:
https://www.online-armor.com/products-online-armor-free.php

Sunbelt's Firewall (based on Keiro):
http://www.sunbeltsoftware.com/Home-Home-Office/Sunbelt-Personal-Firewall/


My ultimate conclusion...try them out for yourself. If they work for you, its all good.

I think a lot depends on what you use your computer for. If you do a lot of file sharing and do online banking, you may need a proper firewall to protect you. If on the other hand, all you do is surf some well known websites, check email and social networking sites, then you could run with only the inbuilt firewall with outgoing traffic enabled. I have many friends who do that just fine.

There is no easy fix for the firewall issue. Do you want more security which usually means a lot more prompts, or are you willing to live with a little less security but no popups.

My usual prescription for firewall stuff is this. If your running your system fine, without any real malware and no real problems, then continue to do so. Your current firewall is fine...

Like I said at the beginning, a living hell - which by the way, is why I did not recommend any particular firewall in my opening post.
#5
@DuffRulez - I have to say firewalls are a living hell. They really are. Anyone who tells you otherwise probably does not understand the average user.

Most firewalls have evolved from controlling your internet/network connection, into controlling whether programs can make changes to other programs - a HIPS - Host Intrusion Prevention System.

The problem is that most users (myself included at times) have no ideas how to answer the sort of prompts that come up. Or they end up restricting you from doing things you want to do. Here are some popular firewalls, all of which I have tried, but none of which I liked that much. Even though Comodo and Online Armor I used both for nearly 2 years each.

Comodo

http://www.comodo.com/home/download/download.php?prod=firewall


Outpost:

http://free.agnitum.com/


Online Armor:
https://www.online-armor.com/products-online-armor-free.php

Sunbelt's Firewall (based on Keiro):

http://www.sunbeltsoftware.com/Home-Home-Office/Sunbelt-Personal-Firewall/



My ultimate conclusion...try them out for yourself. If they work for you, its all good.

I think a lot depends on what you use your computer for. If you do a lot of file sharing and do online banking, you may need a proper firewall to protect you. If on the other hand, all you do is surf some well known websites, check email and social networking sites, then you could run with only the inbuilt firewall with outgoing traffic enabled. I have many friends who do that just fine.

There is no easy fix for the firewall issue. Do you want more security which usually means a lot more prompts, or are you willing to live with a little less security but no popups.

My usual prescription for firewall stuff is this. If your running your system fine, without any real malware and no real problems, then continue to do so. Your current firewall is fine...

Like I said at the beginning, a living hell - which by the way, is why I did not recommend any particular firewall in my opening post.


Nod32's firewall is brilliant, I can't see how the 'average user' would struggle to use something like that....
#6
Chuckles is so right, very helpful info. I too get stumped with firewall prompts sometimes. Ive been using comodo internet security for a while now and highly recommend it to anyone.
#7
thank you will take a look
#8
I use the ZoneAlarm Free firewall.
Agree that the number of prompts for permissions can get worrying, if you are unsure what they are for.

They occasionally offer a years free upgrade to ZoneAlarm Pro.
If you are in any way worried by what the popups are for, DO NOT TOUCH.
The Pro version checks for a lot more.
banned#9
Great post EXCEPT advice to use AVG FREE

Dont do it!
#10
For the information alone..........+1
#11
Is it really worth running a firewall when most people are behind NAT routers?
#12
http://i1018.photobucket.com/albums/af309/trent-bishop/Gifs/thanks-1.gif
#13
Cheers, just used it and all clear on the laptop.....must mean my son is not going on them dodgy sites!!
#14
looks good to me
#15
Is Hitman Pro free? I mean its free for the scan, but if you have to remove stuff is their a charge? Sorry, im not the best at this :( Heat added though just for the other info x
#16
Hitman Pro is free to scan. It will also tell you the location of said items found. So if you want, you can manually navigate to the place in My Computer, and delete it like that. (I have done that a few times myself).

If however, your computer is badly infected, then I suggest activating the free 30 day trial license. This will allow you to cleanup all the infections found. After your machine is totally clean, you can then take further prevention steps. Some of these include:

1) Spywareblaster - http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html#Overview

- Basically you enable protection on this and it puts a registry entry in to tell whatever browser your using, that this is a bad website. Or this is a bad activex do not install. It does not run actively, it does not clean up mess. Once every two weeks the definitions are updated (its somewhere about 14,000 bad activex blocked), and you just update and enable protection.

2) Get a different browser, such as:

Mozilla's Firefox - More secure than IE on XP...very customisable.
http://www.mozilla-europe.org/en/firefox/

Opera - This is my main browser. Its good for almost every website (except the new hotmail which it does not like).
http://www.opera.com/browser/

Google Chrome.
http://www.google.com/chrome

If you really do prefer using IE 7 or 8, and your using Vista or 7, then I suggest you make sure Protected mode is activated.

http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/9907/captureiew.jpg

3) Grab Sandboxie and sandbox your browser. Learning curve is a little steep to begin with. It may seem like something totally bizarre, however once you have the hang of it, its the easiest thing in the world.

sandboxie.com

What the sandbox does, is make sure that all programs in the sandbox (in this case it would be your browsers) cannot touch anything in your real system. Which means you won't ever get infected by drive by downloads and the like. Only two things you really need to become used to. One is that you have to "recover" files if you want to save them to your actual machine - otherwise its cleaned away in the sandbox. Second thing is Sandboxie won't save you if you save an executable to say your desktop, then run it. ie user error it cannot save you from, but hidden and sneak attacks it can.


@the rest of people commentating on my choices...

AVG free is better than nothing or worse yet an expired subscription. I know it was not the best for version 8, but its got better. AV Comparatives upholds this view in recent tests where its done better and better. The on-demand comparative report of August to me says its reasonable protection.
http://www.av-comparatives.org/comparativesreviews/main-tests

ESET's firewall may be easy to use, but it does cost some money to buy the license in the first place. Secondly, I don't think you can just have the firewall by itself. Thirdly, it does poorly on the leaktests as far as I can tell. They may not be the be all and end all of HIPS, but its a fair indication if your product is scoring really quite low overall. This is because from what I have read, that in default mode, ESET's firewall only controls inbound activity, not outbound activity! Its only when you put it into interactive mode, ie off default, that you get that control.

I apologise for not including Zonealarm - there are quite a few others which I probably missed. All I am saying about firewalls is that with the inclusions of HIPS nowadays in your firewall, most of them now require you to be a semi expert at what is going on, either that or suffer a lack in security terms. Its a hard choice.

Just to give you an example of what I mean by prompts being hard to answer. Take the below image for an example. This is an old image of me trying to install Flash Player from the flash website, using a Comodo version from March 2009 I believe.

http://img692.imageshack.us/img692/7554/3comodoflashplayerinsta.jpg

Notice how Comodo actively recognizes that the flash executable is safe. Then it proceeds to worry my by telling me that the file its created is not safe. What the heck is an average everyday user supposed to think about this. Either you take note and read every single prompt that comes up, or you end up in click fever ..clicking away more and more so. Or if your like me, just click trusted installer and hope its not got corrupted somehow.

Edited By: chuckles2007 on Sep 29, 2010 14:13: Image Link updates
#17
Thank you so much. Really informative and helpful! Thanks again
#18
Microsoft Security Essentials is all I have to say!
http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/

Lightweight and Free and integrates well with windows (as its from Microsoft.

Most routers have inbuilt firewalls now anyway, plus windows firewall too. Also, look at what you're clicking on when surfing :)
#19
From my experience;

1. For AV, I prefer Avast AntiVirus or Avira AntiVir based on test results and reviews.
2. For Firewall, my preference is Agnitum Outpost or Comodo Firewall.
3. As an additional AV scans, I use MalwareBytes Anti-Malware
4. When things go bad, I use Hijack This
5. For regular clean up, I use CCLeaner Slim and TuneUp Utilities

I had a huge problem with MSE and MS Update so I've removed MSE and moved back to Windows Update.

Oh and great post, OP!

Edited By: frogman on Oct 01, 2010 14:10: Thanks to OP!
#20
The most important things is to keep your programs up-to-date - there is a free program you can download here:
http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/personal/

or use the online scan here:
http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/online/?task=load

i prefer the installed program (which does a more thorough scan), you can change the options if you don't want it to automatically run in the background.

they will scan your programs for out-of-date programs and provide links for where to update them
#21
Hi.
I've been getting a few viruses on my computer lately so I thought I'd do a few of the things suggested on this thread.
I used the online scan: http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/online/?task=load recommended by hamkam. It told me to update some programs.
I updated firefox but then my roboform wouldn't work with it so I tried installing the roboform add on but it was incompatable with that version of firefox so I installed a different version of firefox. I had a free version of roboform but now I can't access it as it keeps asking me to register it and pay for it.
Does anyone know how I can get my roboform back working again, I have tried system restore but that didn't help.
#22
thank you, thank you so so much, OP
#23
Router firewalls are good for inbound rules, (ie allow practically nothing) but many aren't really looking at outbound traffic. Often the rule is "if it initiates on the inside, allow out". This means that all the computers on the inside can start any kind of TCP session on any service. If you are infected with something thats transmitting information outbound, this is allowed too. A software firewall on your PC is however usually looking at inbound and outbound, and will spot if a rogue application is sending out when it shouldnt be. This can protect against some botnet based attacks. I find Win7 firewall is actually pretty good at this, earlier versions not so much. I havent run a third party firewall since moving to Win7.
#24
cami
Hi.
I've been getting a few viruses on my computer lately so I thought I'd do a few of the things suggested on this thread.
I used the online scan: http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/online/?task=load recommended by hamkam. It told me to update some programs.
I updated firefox but then my roboform wouldn't work with it so I tried installing the roboform add on but it was incompatable with that version of firefox so I installed a different version of firefox. I had a free version of roboform but now I can't access it as it keeps asking me to register it and pay for it.
Does anyone know how I can get my roboform back working again, I have tried system restore but that didn't help.


sorry to hear that - cant help with Roboform, never used it myself, perhaps contact them directly, seems a bit mad that you cant access it cos you updated your browser, isnt it only the Pro version that you have to pay for?
#25
Yes it is only the Pro version that you have to pay for.
I could not acces the free version I had because you are only supposed to be able to store up to 10 passwords but I had 1057 stored on mine.
I don't know why I was able to save so many on the free version but now I can't even look at them to remind myself what they were.
I have now been locked out of my on-line mobile phone account because I could not remember the details I registered with.
If anyone has any ideas about Roboform I'd be grateful to hear them.
#26
Okay I have never used Roboform before, but I downloaded it and took it for a trial run. Okay this is how it works. It stores the data in your personal data folder - unless you changed where its being stored.

So all your information should still be there - every single password and profile you saved.

Depending on your operating system, it should be something like this:

C:\Documents and Settings\WINDOWSLOGINID\My Documents\My RoboForm Data\Default Profile

Where WINDOWSLOGINID is the name you login to windows with. That is most likely to be Administrator or some such.

If your using Vista or 7, then it will be in your users folder, then navigate to somewhere similar like that. Users>WINDOWSLOGINID etc etc.

Inside that folder is all your passwords and data storage stuff. Unless the uninstall removed that too. (I would assume it would offer are you sure you want to delete all your logins).

If you still cannot find it, try this.

Go to Search.

Click on the option to choose all files and folders (if your in XP).

Then type in the following:

*.rfp

Click search and wait for results. If it does not find any .rfp files, then that would most likely mean you have lost all your password storage files. If you can find them, right click on one of them and tell it to open containing folder. Then I would select the whole directory and copy it somewhere safe. I suggest to a CD/DVD or some such as that contains your full 1000 logins.


I won't post what to do next, because if you can't find them then you have a different issue.
#27
Good advice OP, may I also add that if something has already gotten through, I find Combofix very effective, sometimes needs to be run in safe mode but has saved the day many a time!
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/combofix/how-to-use-combofix
#28
thanks

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