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What Steps Do I Take To Clean Up A Teenagers Computer?


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#1 auntna

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 11:42 AM

I wonder if someone can give me a simple checklist of how to approach this effort. I have 3 teenagers (my niece and nephews) on the same XP computer with multiple user and email accounts, and instant messenger accounts. They have several browsers also. The computer is nearly unusable, you can imagine. I want to restore the computer to optimum condition but not sure how.

Should I just reformat and start over? Will this get rid of all viruses (I imagine there are some)? Should I check to see if there is a restore point from when they first got the computer, which has been at least 2 years ago? What can an amatuer computer geek do to get this computer healthy?

Any advice would be appreciated.

auntna

P.S. I meant to say toolbars (search engines) instead of browsers.

Edited by auntna, 21 September 2007 - 12:26 PM.


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#2 jwinathome

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 11:46 AM

I think reformatting the computer and restoring it back to its original form is the best way. It will end up being the most efficient and least frustrating method. Before you do it however, make sure you have all the drivers for your computer and it's components. Also make sure you have the Windows XP CD, and a legitimate XP license.

#3 auntna

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 12:33 PM

Thanks jwinathome,

I was thinking that. I'm not sure if the kids still have the cds available. I hope they still do but if they don't what should be my approach?

auntna


#4 usasma

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 12:35 PM

Yes, a format will destroy the viruses and will reset the computer to it's original configuration. But without other measures in place (consequences for their actions), you'll end up doing this again and again and wondering why they keep getting infected.
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#5 WinCrazy

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 02:57 PM

Hi .

A Restore or a Reinstall will certainly do the trick. If you have a Restore disc then the drivers will be on it. Some PCs have a hidden Restore partition that is accesed with either a program or through the BIOS. Your PC manufacturer will know exactly waht you have available if you tell them the make, model and serial number (or, in the case of Dells, a "Service Tag" number).

If you have an Installation CD then you will need the drivers. They would have come on a separate CD.

If you need CDs and have lost yours then the PC manufacturer can replace them for about $30 (USD).
________________________________

For the future: Here's my minimal list of PC protection programs that you should be running. They are all freeware and are excellent in quality.

Antivirus (Run only one)
Avast Home Edition Antivirus Freeware PREFERRED No banner placed in outgoing email like AVG

http://www.download.com/Avast-Home-Edition...tml?tag=lst-0-1

AVG Free Edition Antivirus PREFERRED

http://free.grisoft.com/freeweb.php

AntiVir Personal Edition Classic Freeware No email scanner!!

http://www.free-av.com/

BitDefender 8 Free Edition

http://www.bitdefender.com/site/Main/view/...e-Products.html

Firewalls (Run only one)
Zone Alarm Free for Personal Use Allows home networking using “Zones”

http://www.download.com/ZoneAlarm/3000-104...tml?tag=lst-0-4

SyGate Personal Firewall

http://www.majorgeeks.com/Sygate_Personal_...Free_d3356.html

OutPost Firewall Free

http://www.agnitum.com/products/outpostfree/index.php


Anti-Malware

Startup Monitor *** A Must-Have ***

http://www.mlin.net/StartupMonitor.shtml

ERUNT *** A Must-Have ***

http://www.snapfiles.com/get/erunt.html



Mike Lin's Startup Control Panel *** Very Useful ***

http://www.mlin.net/StartupCPL.shtml


Startup Inspector *** Just As Useful ***

http://www.windowsstartup.com/download.php


Microsoft MS Autoruns for Windows

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysintern...s/AutoRuns.mspx

#6 Bonneville

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 03:06 PM

:thumbsup:

hiya,

I suppose, just to add a little humour to the subject, chain the kids down......................

regards,

Tony.
Is all that we see or seem, but a dream within a dream ?

#7 david28

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 06:30 PM

I think that you should purchase an Internet Security Suite then scan for viruses and spyware. Also, go to Add/Remove Programs and delete any programs that are unrequired and also delete the toolbars.

Hope this helped you! :thumbsup:

#8 tg1911

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 09:35 AM

I disagree with david, regarding purchasing an Internet Suite.
Most of these programs are so bloated, they hog system resources.
Also, it seems the more they add to the program, the more problems people have with it, and they're just about impossible, to remove.
Just do a Search of the forums for McAfee, and Norton, and you'll see what I'm talking about.
That's why, in my opinion, it's better to use programs that are dedicated to do one job well (AV, Firewall, Antispyware, ....), instead of trying to do everything so-so.
You'll have fewer problems in the long run.

Also, why pay a lot for something, you can get for free, that will do the same job, if not better, and use fewer resources.
This link, Freeware Replacements For Common Commercial Apps, will provide a list of several alternatives, that in my opinion, work just as good as any paid program.
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#9 eXpelled

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 09:57 AM

Since I am a teen and i have 16-year old sister which clicks on every link possible and downloads everything from p2p networks,I can help you.

1.Go Start>Run>msconfig
Choose selective startup
Go to the startup tab and disable everything that is not needed,if you arent sure what to disable post a screenshot here and
I will try and help.

2.Press CTRL+ALT+DELETE and go to processes tab.
Check the processes on >
http://www.sysinfo.org/startuplist.php
http://www.processlibrary.com/
http://castlecops.com/StartupList.html

If any of them are viruses,find out how to delete them.

3.Tools
Install Firewall,AntiVirus, and AntiSpyware softwares and scan for viruses and spyware.
Install CMCleaner or CCcleaner and scan.
Pay attention to registry.

5.Install HijackThis and post the log.

6.Web protection
Block porn sites and all the sites which are known to contain viruses.
Block sites that contain words hacking,cracking,writing viruses and that kind because teens are wannabe hackers and
most of them don't know what they are doing.
Block sites that contain words like free smileys,cool msn stuff,cool programs because most of them are malicious.

7.Themes
Uninstall any theme changing program,they take very much resources.
Disable all visual effects,it makes computer very fast (disable the XP theme too).

8.Programs
Uninstall any toolbars,smiley packs and MSN addons.
Uninstall any P2P program.

9.Final Touches
Defragment (could take hours)
Block any unwanted content.
Scan each week at least once
Use XP tweaks to improve performance
Block MySpace (You don't want them to get all kind of malware from that site,and get drugs from it)
Install monitoring program which will record what they do.
Restart and run msconfig again,then see if everything is ok.

Trust me,that isn't enough :thumbsup: :flowers:

EDIT> I found this while surfing trough boards,should help you

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/44694/slow-computer/
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/2520/how-did-i-get-infected/

Soon I will do a clean-up on my schools worst conditioned computer (my teacher asked me to do this) and it is used by teens so I will be able to provide you more information.

Edited by eXpelled, 22 September 2007 - 10:18 AM.


#10 tg1911

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 10:29 AM

I have to disagree with eXpelled, about using msconfig as a startup monitor.
Try to disable programs that run at startup, from inside the program itself, using the Options menu.

msconfig should not be used as a startup monitor.
That's not what it was designed for.
msconfig, was designed as a troubleshooting tool.

To control Startup applications, that can't be disabled from the programs Option menu, use a third-party startup monitor.
Two good ones, are mike Lin's Startup Control Panel, and Startup Inspector.

Make sure to research, all programs, before disabling them from startup, as disabling the wrong program could render your computer inoperable.
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#11 eXpelled

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 10:44 AM

Well,I used msconfig to stop the programs that don't have that option,but there are some viruses like b.exe that turn on the option again,so I would need to use msconfig.

#12 Queen-Evie

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 11:06 AM

All of the above is excellent advice. I totally agree that you need a good set of security tools. However, BEFORE purchasing any internet security (firewall and anti-virus) do some research about what is available. Ask questions about the various programs. And in order to help you make up your mind I encourage you to see if what you're interested in purchasing has a free trial offer; if so, try it before you buy. My reasoning for this "trial run" is simple. With the trials, you get a feel for what the program does, how it operates, if it's user friendly, does it play nice with your computer or does it make everything slow to a turtle paced crawl. There is no one size fits all when it comes to these programs, what works for me may not work for you. If you purchase before trying it out and it doesn't play nice with your computer you'll have wasted your money.

#13 garmanma

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 11:28 AM

Well,I used msconfig to stop the programs that don't have that option,but there are some viruses like b.exe that turn on the option again,so I would need to use msconfig.

I'm with TG1911 on all counts. MSCONFIG , and MS will tell you this, is a diagnostic tool. You use it to diagnose the problem then find a more permanent solution.You'd be better off getting rid of the virus rather than using MSCONFIG all the time
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#14 eXpelled

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 11:54 AM

I agree with that,but I used it to stop the program.I will try the one tg1911 recommends,but msconfig is good enough for me.

#15 auntna

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 07:56 PM

Since I am a teen and i have 16-year old sister which clicks on every link possible and downloads everything from p2p networks,I can help you.

"6.Web protection
Block porn sites and all the sites which are known to contain viruses.
Block sites that contain words hacking,cracking,writing viruses and that kind because teens are wannabe hackers and
most of them don't know what they are doing.
Block sites that contain words like free smileys,cool msn stuff,cool programs because most of them are malicious.

7.Themes
Uninstall any theme changing program,they take very much resources.
Disable all visual effects,it makes computer very fast (disable the XP theme too).

8.Programs
Uninstall any toolbars,smiley packs and MSN addons.
Uninstall any P2P program.

9.Final Touches
Defragment (could take hours)
Block any unwanted content.
Scan each week at least once
Use XP tweaks to improve performance
Block MySpace (You don't want them to get all kind of malware from that site,and get drugs from it)
Install monitoring program which will record what they do.
Restart and run msconfig again,then see if everything is ok.

Trust me,that isn't enough :thumbsup: :flowers:"


Thanks eXpelled,

I especially value this particular advice from you. Seems like a very good way to help control what gets into the computer in the first place.

I will keep checking this topic for advice until I actually get the job done and then I will let you know how it all went. :trumpet:

auntna





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