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Need some computer advice
Old 12-09-2009, 07:58 PM   #1
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Need some computer advice

I'm finally able to get back on this board. I don't know what happened, but I couldn't get in, no matter what I did.

I have a computer issue and wondered if anyone can give me some advice on what to do. I have some spyware which can not be removed through a normal scan. It's one of those redirecting things which have about a thousand incarnations. My particular one is "searchmeup".

I spoke to someone who told me that if I don't have a lot of stuff stored on my computer (which I don't-just some documents that I could back up) and if I have my recovery disk (which I do) the simplest thing might be to just restore my computer back to when it was new. Other than having to update windows, and install some software, are there any other pitfalls that I may be overlooking?

If anybody has any suggestions as to what I should do, I would appreciate it.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:42 PM   #2
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Try more than one spyware scanner. I use Spybot Search and Destroy (www.safer-networking.org), which is free, in addition to McAfee. Googling "searchmeup" should also lead to some ideas about eradicating it. You can google the solutions or their websites to make sure they are legit. Since you're ready to restore, you don't need to be super careful there.

I hate losing all my preferences and cookies, so I'll do almost anything to avoid erasing the entire disk.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:52 PM   #3
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My favorite software to use to get rid of spyware/malware is "malwarebytes". Can be downloaded here: Malwarebytes.org

I would try to remove the spyware/malware, and try to copy any important data before resorting to restoring from a restore disc.

If you can identify the name of the offending redirecting spyware, you may also try to look that up via google, yahoo search etc. That might lead to a solution telling you how to remove it. I did that before to someone's who "lost" their desktop via the "Smitfruad" infection.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:46 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
My favorite software to use to get rid of spyware/malware is "malwarebytes". Can be downloaded here: Malwarebytes.org
I had Dell help me with a spyware/maleware issue and they remotely installed Malwarebytes as above and also SUPERSpyware. Both were the free editions.

I kept both and run them periodically. Note that with the free version you need to go in and update and then run the search. Inorder to get the scheduler you need to pay to register.

I would suggest you download both and run Maleware first. My thought is if Dell uses in its "pay for service" group...they have tried a most choices and settled on these two...seems to work for me. BTW...I also have and run Norton 360.

Only one issue in about 15 years...and that issue I was "warned" when downloading a name brand driver...and "ignored" the warning and downloaded anyway...my BAD.

Try Malewarebytes and SUPERspyware...good luck...TomCat
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Old 12-10-2009, 04:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by gailwinters View Post

I spoke to someone who told me that if I don't have a lot of stuff stored on my computer (which I don't-just some documents that I could back up) and if I have my recovery disk (which I do) the simplest thing might be to just restore my computer back to when it was new. Other than having to update windows, and install some software, are there any other pitfalls that I may be overlooking?

If anybody has any suggestions as to what I should do, I would appreciate it.
After you install Malwarebytes and run it, may find the problem is more complex. Definitely worth a try, though. If it doesn't fix the problems, you can always restore everything. This usually takes a day, as Windows finds and downloads many updates. Install a few, reboot, and there are more waiting for you. If you have MS Office, make sure you have the original disk and license for that.
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:52 AM   #6
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Windows finds and downloads many updates. Install a few, reboot, and there are more waiting for you. If you have MS Office, make sure you have the original disk and license for that.
I have similar problems to OP.... and similar questions.

1. My Dell Dimension 4500 is 6 - 7 yrs old. I have the original op sys (XP) restore disk and was going to try restoring but am concerned that the downloads of updates for the op sys will take forever on my slow DSL connection (ATT slowest DSL offering). I'm current with updates now but this has been accomplished over the years. What will it be like getting them all at once?

2. I've used all 3 allowed installs of my Home and Student edition of Office (DW and my desktops and our shared laptop). Is there someway to get Microsoft to let you do an additional install onto the restored computer?

Thanks.
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:57 AM   #7
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First, wlecome aboard. You came to the right place. There is a mountain of useful information here... on a wide variety of issues.

Secondly, don't blame yourself (if you have tendency in that direction), this happens to everyone at some time -- there is nothing you can do about it. Anyway, I somewhat agree with the "start over" group. But, however, you get back to "normal," do install the above named programs and run them on a regular (daily/weekly) schedule. This will, at least, cut down on the number of such problems.

Hope to hear more about you.
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:04 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by youbet View Post
I have similar problems to OP.... and similar questions.

1. My Dell Dimension 4500 is 6 - 7 yrs old. I have the original op sys (XP) restore disk and was going to try restoring but am concerned that the downloads of updates for the op sys will take forever on my slow DSL connection (ATT slowest DSL offering). I'm current with updates now but this has been accomplished over the years. What will it be like getting them all at once?

2. I've used all 3 allowed installs of my Home and Student edition of Office (DW and my desktops and our shared laptop). Is there someway to get Microsoft to let you do an additional install onto the restored computer?

Thanks.
My guess:

1. The Service Packs contain all of the previous "updates" for that very reason. You would probably (if even) have to only update through the Service Packs. Any DSL is much faster than dial-up, so count your blessings.

2. Once restored, the MS programs should recognize your system as "authorized." Re-installation should then go forward as expected.

Again, only my guesses.
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:33 AM   #9
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You might be able to un-install your MS Office and have that detected by Microsoft, leaving you another slot for installing it later. I am just guessing.

Just in case your MS Office gets messed up, consider OpenOffice, a freeware or donation program that is almost identical to MS Office. I have MS Office, but since it was given to me free by Microsoft because I was an employee at my particular workplace, when it craters that is the end of it. So, last week I downloaded OpenOffice from http://www.OpenOffice.org . I like it so much that I am not even using Office any more and have taken the shortcuts off my desktop. Open Office loads and saves in MS Office formats.
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:03 AM   #10
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Thanks. A local friend also recommended OpenOffice and that sounds like a good alternative.
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:18 PM   #11
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Thanks. A local friend also recommended OpenOffice and that sounds like a good alternative.
Yes, a good alternative but also possibly a few minor quirks here and there. Like W2R, I have existing copy of MS Office, so I have not played with OO too much, other than to verify that it seems to work fine for me. Then I go back to excel just out of inertia. Long term, I will switch to OO.

The version I have is also the MS Home/Student (for the Mac) with the three 'keys'. I am not 100% sure, but I don't think you will have any problems installing them. I think the only 'check' they do is to see if the same key exists on the same local network. I discovered this after I backed up (cloned) my daughter's computer, and then I booted my computer from that clone when I wanted to check something out there. That essentially made my computer a clone of her computer. When I started up Excel (or maybe when it did it's 'update' check?), barked at me and told me that there were duplicate keys or something, telling me I had to buy the program. Her computer was on at the time, and on our wireless network, otherwise I don't think anything would have alerted me.

-ERD50
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:26 PM   #12
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Yes, a good alternative but also possibly a few minor quirks here and there. Like W2R, I have existing copy of MS Office, so I have not played with OO too much, other than to verify that it seems to work fine for me. Then I go back to excel just out of inertia. Long term, I will switch to OO.

The version I have is also the MS Home/Student (for the Mac) with the three 'keys'. I am not 100% sure, but I don't think you will have any problems installing them. I think the only 'check' they do is to see if the same key exists on the same local network. I discovered this after I backed up (cloned) my daughter's computer, and then I booted my computer from that clone when I wanted to check something out there. That essentially made my computer a clone of her computer. When I started up Excel (or maybe when it did it's 'update' check?), barked at me and told me that there were duplicate keys or something, telling me I had to buy the program. Her computer was on at the time, and on our wireless network, otherwise I don't think anything would have alerted me.

-ERD50
Hmmmmm...... I hope so. Not trying to "cheat." I just don't think I should have to purchase another copy just because I'm reinstalling the op sys on my computer. Each time I've installed it before, I had to go online and submit the serial number and got a code in return which was required to install it. So, they know I've installed it three times........ and I'm assuming I'll have to go online again when I try to reinstall.

If it doesn't work, I guess OpenOffice it is. In retirement, the chances of a quirk reading or working on someone else's Microsoft Office document is small and the consequences only a little inconvenience. Fortunately, the days of having that PowerPoint presentation ready by 2:00 PM or else are behind me!
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:48 PM   #13
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Yes, a good alternative but also possibly a few minor quirks here and there.
Yeah, luckily MS Office doesn't have any "quirks".

I use OO exclusively. For the non corporate user it's a wonderful piece of software. I'm not a power user, but I do write documents and build spreadsheets, and I've even played with the database and Powerpoint'ish capabilities a little. Best freeware out there, IMHO.

As far as the OP is concerned, running the aforementioned spyware apps is a good idea. However, if you are the least bit computer-handy, an occasional restore or rebuild isn't a bad thing to do. Get all the crapola out of there, install all the service packs, and off you go. However, if you are intimidated by computers it would be worthwhile to find a geek friend to help.
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:37 PM   #14
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Install Avira. Scan.
Install Avast. Scan.
Both are free.

If you save your documents on a USB drive, you may well bring along the virus/worm/trojan. In fact, your backups and key drives are probably infected already. You'll need to scan them.
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:58 PM   #15
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If I had an old computer I would install UBUNTU. Now, having said that a caveat. If you use your computer to surf the web, get email maybe instant messaging, then ubuntu will work for you. It comes with free open office, gimp for photos, games and a bunch of other stuff. Best of all it is free! If I were going to reinstall windows, I would try ubuntu first. It takes about 20 min. to install, it starts in less than 45 sec. and shuts down in less than 10. If you don't like it, go ahead and install windows. In fact you can install it alongside of windows and boot to either. Little or no problems with viruses. It runs Firefox as it main browser.
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:32 PM   #16
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Finally back!

Thanks for all the ideas and suggestions. I found a lot of instructions online about how to scan for and remove this absolutely awful spyware, but most of them were over my head! I ran Malwares on my own, and it found several items which were removed, but my problem was not removed. There is actually a tool created especially for this spyware, but it hasn't been updated in a while, and didn't work for me.

I finally found someone who I trusted to work on my computer. He ran a bunch of scans and seemingly removed the offending item, but when he opened the computer up a few hours later, it was back. He did that a couple of times, and it then got to the point where the scans couldn't even find the item. This particular one apparently mutates and hides itself.

He saved my documents and my favorites, used my recovery disc, updated Java, Adobe and Windows for me, cleaned up my desktop a bit, installed new virus protection and even upgraded my Office.

So far, so good.
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:35 PM   #17
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Glad to hear this, Gail!! From what I read apparently "searchmeup" is really awful and hard to eradicate, and I am so glad that he managed to get rid of it.
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:58 PM   #18
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Glad to hear this, Gail!! From what I read apparently "searchmeup" is really awful and hard to eradicate, and I am so glad that he managed to get rid of it.
Thanks!

I just wish I had some idea of how I got it, so I could try to avoid getting it again!
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Old 12-19-2009, 03:18 PM   #19
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Gail,

Glad to see that youre PC is back up and cleanly running again. Some of those spyware/malware programs are really sneaky. Then install code to redirect you to other sites are mess up your desktop, then under disguise they want to force you to buy there "clean up" software to clean up the mess they created in the first place.
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Old 12-24-2009, 09:40 AM   #20
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My computer got infected with the "Antivirus Live" rougue anit-spyware program today. Luckily, recovering was pretty painless as I have rollback software which allowed to me rollback my system to a point before the infection.

Ironically, I was infected not by viewing a naughty site but while I was at USA Today and browsing an article on universal health care
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