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XP queries - SAFE MODE; BETA, and delete or not delete

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#1 oldsoldier


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Posted 09 April 2005 - 12:33 PM

Gentlemen [and Ladies ?]

I have three questions.

My Operating System is Windows XP Professional SP2.

1. I read the reply to PURE TRAGEDY's post of the 7th April 2005 and immediately uninstalled my AVG7 anti-virus scanner. Norton System Works antivirus and AVG7 antivirus had been running side by side for six or seven months and nothing untoward had happened, but when I read the dire warning in the advice to PURE TRAGEDY, AVG7 got the chop.

I would like to scan with Norton in SAFE MODE but do not know how to do it. When I had Windows 98SE, my computer used to jump into SAFE MODE without me doing anything positive to cause it to do that. I had no idea how to get out of SAFE MODE so a neighbour helped. I cannot remember what he did. My computer was in SAFE MODE for two days on one occasion because I did not dare mess about with it.

So, an explanation, in 'dummy' language, exactly how I can get into SAFE MODE, and scan my computer for viruses with Norton, and how I can get out of it, will be appreciated.

2. I have Norton System Works, Ad-Aware SE Personal, Spybot S&D, Spyware Blaster. Spyware Guard, and 2-Squared in my computer. The programmes are updated and used every day. Norton detected a virus which AVG7 did not, so I feel happy with the Norton security.

I have considered installing Microsoft's Beta Anti-Spy and malware application but my friends throw up their hands in horror when anything with Beta is mentioned. "Don't do it," they say, "Beta is a risk, it may have bugs."

Is that fear justified?

Do you recommend an installation of the Microsoft's Beta Anti-Spy and malware application, considering that I already have 2-Squared and the other programmes?

3. I uninstalled AVG7 yesterday and expected everything to disappear, but today Program Files has a Grisoft folder, which has an AVG7 folder, which has these files -

avgf.dll Application Extension
avgips Help File
avgips.cnt CNT File
avgips.GID GID File
ffx.dll Application Extension
license Text Document
loadsos BIN File

If I go to open the .dll files or the BIN file, I am advised that it is unwise to do so because they are used by the OS or by various programmes, and that editing or modifying them could cause damage to my computer's system. With the GID and CNT files, I am told that they cannot be opened unless the programme which created them is known. The license and help files seem not to a problem.

If I go to delete all of the files, I am asked if I am sure that I want to send them to the Recycle Bin. I am not told that the .dll and BIN files are used by the OS or other programmes and that deleting them could cause damage to my compter's system.

Why is that?

Can all of these files be deleted or should I leave well alone? I'm a tidy person who likes to see loose ends tied up.

Yours truly, oldsoldier

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#2 phawgg


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Posted 09 April 2005 - 01:41 PM

I too am a tidy person, to the degree I can be, oldsoldier

The reason you had no untoward results having both Norton & AVG running was probably due to how they were configured to run.
If both were set to to scan continously and be auto-updated constantly, then some problems may have surfaced.

You may simply delete the Grisoft folder.
You need not open any of the files before you do.
That folder was essentially for backups to what the AV software did for you.
Without it's presence, or in light of your decision not to re-install it, those files in that folder are useless.

I should mention I uninstalled Norton in favor of AVG because:
1. Norton updates less frequently than AVG, and isn't effective against as many new variants as the Grisoft has been in the last couple of years.
2. Norton costs more.
3. Norton, when uninstalled, is also messy. It seems to me to require more system resources to do less for me. An opinion based on a couple years of observation, and reading countless HJT logs where it is installed and serious malware problems also co-exist.
4. Norton offers several products. I've had most installed at one time or another.
I bought the System Works Suite in 2002. It deeply embeds into winXP when you use all the features of it, and slows the PC down considerably doing so. If you do not use a similar product, then you will not have similar experiences. The anti-virus aspect of it alone did prove IMHO to be marginally adequate.

Microsoft Beta 1 is not anti-virus software.
As an anti-spyware program, you can certainly benefit from also having it on your PC.
Win98 & Win XP differ significantly. MS Beta is for WinXP. It is not buggy,
in my experience using it. The "fear" is not justified. It is a very effective program, and can be used
in several ways. To block malware, to delete all traces of malware and to understand how the malware exploits vulnerabilities, also.
Until July of this year (at least) it is free. It is a program Microsoft bought from an English firm and has had a very good reputation up to that point.
A preview of it can be viewed within the special forum setup to discuss it, and tutorials regarding it's use also. here

Safe Mode in winXP is fairly straight forward to use.
It is designed to provide the desktop and start menu for you without any unnecessary programs running from the startup. By eliminating them, and those include all drivers (software) for higher levels of operation involving the display
(monitor) and browser (Internet Explorer), the system is basically operating on a barebones basis. Most (but not all) malware will not be operating in safe mode for this reason. The vulnerabilities they exploit often depend on full system operation.

For these, and other reasons, the safe mode (and other modes available in the
special startup that safe mode is part of) is provided for diagnostic purposes.
It allows one to accomplish uninstalls, installations, and activities like malware scans in an environment that has fewer factors to contend with. File activities, in particular deletions, are less restrictive due to the fewer constraints on those files. You might encounter a error message trying to delete a bad or unnecessary folder or file in normal mode because "a system operation is using it" where this will not happen in safe mode.

You will not have the mouse functionality when you first make the choices getting into safe mode. You will be presented with a simple display mode 'console".
You can choose "Last Known Good Configurations", which is useful to restore your system if something you did to it caused a problem. You can select to start with networking, should you have more than one PC involved, or the safe mode itself. The choices are available by using the up & down arrow keys on your keyboard and the enter key. Once you approve your choices, you will experience the desktop in default 480 X 600 screeen resolution and may continue using the mouse normally, to do most anything you would normally do.

A tutorial on safe mode in win XP is HERE

You may do either of two things to get in:

Press your start button, then select Run from the start menu and type msconfig and when the System Utility console appears, select boot in safe mode and reboot.
reboot, and when the cycle begins, tap the F8 key continuously until the "DOS Console" appears and you are presented with the prompts that will lead to what I described above.

Deletion of any files like those you describe in your post can easily be done in safe mode, and simply empty your recycle bin after you exit, that way you can have an opportunity to restore them if you find (although I doubt you will) any untoward results have occured.

One last note. Should you choose the Last Known Good Configuration option, the reboot immediately following that will generally take a little longer than usual since the OS will be assessing the whole situation. If you choose this option when no system changes effecting things have been done in the immediate past, no changes will be made to accomodate the request, yet the slower boot will still occur.

The feature is designed for your assistance in operating windows.
It is a good one to know and understand.


Edited by phawgg, 09 April 2005 - 01:45 PM.

patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#3 oldsoldier

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Posted 10 April 2005 - 10:49 AM

Dear phawgg,

Thank you for that advice. My cofidence is growing but I am still twitchy about entering SAFE MODE.

It is the getting out of it which is bothering me. Memory of that 2 day stand-still, because I got into SAFE MODE and could not get out of it, still haunts me. The helpful neighbour has moved.

Your reply has been printed and I will keep it in front of me as I work, for I intend to take the second route into SAFE MODE, the F8 tapping method.

When I am ready to return to NORMAL MODE, will I see a window with a choice in it - to do this or that? Do I then choose which, and click?

You say reboot. To me, that means click START at the bottom left of my monitor, click TURN OFF THE COMPUTER, click RESTART.

Or do I see an odd looking screen, with no choice offered, after which I press the power-up button on my computer?

Yes, I must appear to be a chicken-hearted Limey, but I would rather be safe than sorry.

Your reply was excellent and I do appreciate it. May I suggest that you call yourself 'clarity' instead of 'phawgg', because foggy it was not.

Yours truly, oldsoldier

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