Monday, July 5, 2010

How To - Fix a Virus-Crashed Computer

Thank you to everyone who recently commented on my blog and emailed me with helpful information regarding my recent laptop virus infestation! Although it was a massive headache at the time, and an expensive lack-of-computer know-how on my part, I am now so grateful for the experience.

I am proud to say that I have gained enough knowledge from this ordeal that I was able to fix the same problem with a lady's home desktop computer today. Her computer had done the EXACT same thing that mine had. It was the same virus. Something had popped up on her screen saying it was AVG, alerting her that her computer was infected and being attacked with multiple viruses, malware, and spyware. She clicked around for a bit, making the problem worse, and nothing would work anymore. Ctrl + Alt + Delete wouldn't work, nothing would open, her old anti-virus program wouldn't do a scan (it was being blocked by the virus), and her computer was (for the moment) utterly useless.

I am so happy that I just went thru this, because I was not only able to help, but I was able get her computer all cleaned up and running smoother than it had in a while. Knowledge is power... and not necessarily even that much knowledge. In this case, I only needed a little bit. :-)

Here is what I did.

1.) Turned off her computer
2.) Turned it back on and then hit F8
3.) Selected the option to run her computer in "Safe Mode with Networking"
4.) Put my little Kingston 8 GB flash drive into one of her USB ports

** On my flashdrive were 3 programs that I had recently downloaded (I recommend downloading them and keeping them on a flash-drive in case of emergency!):
MalwareBytes
SUPERAntiSpyware
and an Anti-Virus program if you don't have one (I have Avast & the Avast license file on my flash drive. Lots of people also recommend Free AVG and Microsoft Security Essentials and ClamWin) **

5.) Clicked on "My Computer," opened the folder for my flash-drive, and clicked on the "MalwareBytes" file to install it on this lady's computer.

6.) Ran "MalwareBytes" so that it could scan the computer (while still booted in Safe Mode)

7.) It found 15 viruses, so I clicked on the option to remove them from the computer.

8.) It then promted me to re-start the computer in normal mode, so I hit ok, and the computer re-started. Everything seemed normal!

9.) I clicked on "My Computer," re-opened the folder for my flash drive, and then clicked on "SUPERAntiSpyware" to install it onto this lady's computer.

10.) Ran "SUPERAntiSpyware" so that it could scan the computer (while now booted back in regular mode)

11.) It found over 400 adware/spyware/bad stuff, so I clicked on the option to Quarantine them.

12.) It then prompted me to re-start the computer, so I did this again.

13.) This time I installed free Avast onto her computer so that she would have a current anti-virus program.

14.) Opened "Avast" and performed a full-system scan, and it found 4 more infected files, which it "Moved to the Chest."

15.) Ran into a dilemma - Internet Explorer wouldn't work (even though the Avast firewall settings seemed fine and the Charter high-speed Internet cable was hooked up correctly), so I....

16.) Opened Internet Explorer and went to Tools, Internet Options, Advanced, and then clicked on "Reset" (to reset Internet Explorer's settings to their default condition). It worked! I re-opened Internet Explorer and it was now connected to the Internet.

17.) Just for kicks, I then removed a few programs that she said she never used, I peformed "Disk Cleanup" (to get unnecessary files off her computer), and then I ran the "Disk Defragmenter."

Just like new. I will never have to pay 199.99 again for this! Thank you again to everybody....

12 comments:

The Baumer said...

Great info on the computer side. That is awesome you learned and can now help others! Maybe you could parlay this into a side biz for yourself....not only cleaning house, but cleaning up your computer mess too!
I really liked your comment about independence. You really have it down. I saw this video posted on another site where this guy interviewed people about why we celebrate Independence Day, and these people were clueless! So sad :( Gald you got to see fireworks, they really do make the day. Enjoy the motorcycle course...I'm excited to hear how it goes!

Mike said...

A trick I learned while watching someone working an a candy machine (The type that takes a coin and gives out a hand full of candy). He was rubbing Vaseline around the base of the stand. I asked why he was doing it and he said Ant's will not cross Vaseline. I did the same to my axle hubs and landlines on my Motorhome. just put some around the entry points ant's would use to gain entry to the vehicle. I had no more ant problems :)

erowe3 said...

I'm glad to see you've become a full fledged Geek Squad member.. I'm so proud :)Feel free to call if you ever run into any mess you can't get out of in the PC world. Also, if you can make one of these it will end up saving yours or someone elses butt in the future. I use it all the time:
http://www.ubcd4win.com/

Eddie
erowe3.blogspot.com

I said...

Only one thing to do now. Download Google Crome browser and delete all traces of Internet Exploader.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info on cleaning hard drives. I really enjoy your blog. I have used many of your helpful hints like bleach percentages to clean water, flashlight recomendations ect. I have a off the grid camp in Maine that is solar powered and alot of fun. It is great to read blogs of like minded people, Keep it up.
Ed H.

Guntard said...

Motorcycle course? Awesome. Shorty and I ride and there is nothing like taking that "perfect corner" on a motorcycle, unless it's flying a plane. Enjoy riding, once it is in the blood you'll not be able to give it up.

Remember; look through the corners. You really don't turn a motorcycle until the corners apex. They'll explain all that to you if they are worth their salt. get the book "A twist of the Wrist" by Keith Code. Keith is a great guy but for his religion.

Anyway, a motorcycle is just another version of freedom--you don't even have to ride a Harley. I don't.

piper craven said...

heart your blog so much! every time i come here, i learn something valuable. rock on freedomgirl.

tatertom said...

On the ant problem -

I've heard the vaseline trick before, but it is a preventative measure. To rid yourself of the current infestations, you may try a bug bomb. It should be near the traps in the grocery store. There are some things to consider due to your small house, however. Get a smaller dose, as you don't have enough space for most of the bombs on the market. It's basically a continuous release of bug spray. This means you'll have to stay outside [but not far] from the van for a few hours. Perhaps you could do it while cleaning a house or something, but keep in mind, it will look like your van's on fire, with 'smoke' pouring out of it while it's going off. I suggest raising the can off the floor of the van, say on a milk crate or wooden platform or something similar. Also, because there is less volume of space than these things are intended for, you may want to crack a window, or even leave your pop-top up, so there isn't more gas than there is space inside. Clean anything with soap and water before eating off of it or cooking with it, and remove all foodstuffs BEFORE you bomb the van.

Thank you for having the blog. You have helped to restore my faith in humanity. You are beautiful, bright, and your self-reliance and confidence only make you that much more attractive. Keep feeding us awesomeness, dream woman!

Nick Cooper said...

are you doin hard time? update yer blog once in a while.:)

Juan said...

Hi! I live in my van too! I found it for $500. It's got a pop up and old stove/water hookups which I may or may not utilize. My living space is simple. I made a bed out of burlap coffee bean bags covering them with a sheet. I hung a tapestry on a shower curtain rod and covered the windows as well. It is very comfy. I plan on driving it down to South America this winter. I've traveled most of the West, Central and North East and am now ready to head out of the country and stop by some communes down there along the way. It's so great to hear from others doing the same thing. Life is a blast and I thoroughly enjoy my lifestyle(though some don't get it). Maybe I can get a blog going? I'm not sure how to go about that exactly though. Here's my facebook address, soon I'll have some pics of my home on there.
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1016067381

eye4media said...

Glad to hear you were able to fix the laptop. I've found that a few free virus/spyware checkers are all I need to be safe (knock on wood) for the past 5 years!

Johnnyreb™ said...

I also use Malwarebytes and AVG. The other program I use on a weekly basis is Ccleaner (download from cnet downloads or filehippo) to keep everything snapping along ...