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help! I think im in trouble! :(


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#1 savethewhales

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 12:22 AM

hi there,
When i first got this computer, I unfortunately did not understand that I needed security software, and my brother spent a god deal of time surfing the web. Eventually, my computer screen froze and showed a jumbled pattern of colors on the screen. I shut it down and learned that I needed antiviral software, and installed Mcafe security. Problems seemed minimal for a while and when they would come up, it would usually be that the computer would run slow, stop running a program. or freeze up on occasion. Sometimes media programs wouldn't run properly, or trouble with internet explorer would occur. I could never get much advice from anyone, except that computers can be a pain sometimes, and eventually these glitches seemed to resolve themselves. Then last year I couldn't get my security software to remain enabled. It was assumed I had an aggressive viral infection at that point. I had AVG security recommended to me at that point and after I installed it it removed a bunch of stuff. However, my computer never did run properly again. Sometimes it barely wants to run at all. Occasionally it has trouble starting up, it always seems to be excruciatingly slow lately and often has to shut programs down, especially internet explorer. Then today I saw that my browser history has a porn site which it has apparantly visited on a weekly basis. I have not visited this site or any porn at all, for that matter. Seems I have a real problem here but I haven't the slightest idea where to begin to fix it. Oh yes, no one who uses this computer has visited any porn either, I should add.
Can anyone help me?
Thanks.

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 07:44 AM

Did you uninstall McAfee before installing AVG? Using more than one anti-virus program is not advisable. The primary concern with doing so is due to conflicts that can arise when they are running in real-time mode simultaneously. However, even when one of them is disabled for use as a stand-alone scanner, it can affect the other. Anti-virus software components insert themselves into the operating systems core and using more than one can cause instability, crash your computer, slow performance and waste system resources. When actively running in the background while connected to the Internet, they both may try to update their definition databases at the same time. As the programs compete for resources required to download the necessary files this often can result in sluggish system performance or unresponsive behavior.

Each anti-virus will often interpret the activity of the other as a virus and there is a greater chance of them alerting you to a "False Positive". If one finds a virus and then the other also finds the same virus, both programs will be competing over exclusive rights on dealing with that virus. Each anti-virus will attempt to remove the offending file and quarantine it. If one finds and quarantines the file before the other one does, then you encounter the problem of both wanting to scan each other's zipped or archived files and each reporting the other's quarantined contents. This can lead to a repetitive cycle of endless alerts that continually warn you that a virus has been found when that is not the case.

Anti-virus scanners use virus definitions to check for viruses and these can include a fragment of the virus code which may be recognized by other anti-virus programs as the virus itself. Because of this, most anti-virus programs encrypt their definitions so that they do not trigger a false alarm when scanned by other security programs. Other vendors do not encrypt their definitions and they can trigger false alarms when detected by the resident anti-virus.

To avoid these problems, use only one anti-virus solution. Deciding which one to remove is your choice. Be aware that you may lose your subscription to that anti-virus program's virus definitions once you uninstall that software.

Have you tried running your anti-virus scans in "Safe Mode"? If not, please do so. If you did and that did not help, then do this:

Please download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (v1.34) and save it to your desktop.
alternate download link 1
alternate download link 2
If you have a previous version of MBAM, remove it via Add/Remove Programs and download a fresh copy.
  • Make sure you are connected to the Internet.
  • Double-click on mbam-setup.exe to install the application.
  • When the installation begins, follow the prompts and do not make any changes to default settings.
  • When installation has finished, make sure you leave both of these checked:
    • Update Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
    • Launch Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
  • Then click Finish.
MBAM will automatically start and you will be asked to update the program before performing a scan.
  • If an update is found, the program will automatically update itself.
  • Press the OK button to close that box and continue.
  • If you encounter any problems while downloading the updates, manually download them from here and just double-click on mbam-rules.exe to install. Alternatively, you can update through MBAM's interface from a clean computer, copy the definitions (rules.ref) located in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Malwarebytes\Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware from that system to a usb stick or CD and then copy it to the infected machine.
On the Scanner tab:
  • Make sure the "Perform Quick Scan" option is selected.
  • Then click on the Scan button.
  • If asked to select the drives to scan, leave all the drives selected and click on the Start Scan button.
  • The scan will begin and "Scan in progress" will show at the top. It may take some time to complete so please be patient.
  • When the scan is finished, a message box will say "The scan completed successfully. Click 'Show Results' to display all objects found".
  • Click OK to close the message box and continue with the removal process.
Back at the main Scanner screen:
  • Click on the Show Results button to see a list of any malware that was found.
  • Make sure that everything is checked, and click Remove Selected.
  • When removal is completed, a log report will open in Notepad.
  • The log is automatically saved and can be viewed by clicking the Logs tab in MBAM.
  • Copy and paste the contents of that report in your next reply. Be sure to post the complete log to include the top portion which shows MBAM's database version and your operating system.
  • Exit MBAM when done.
Note: If MBAM encounters a file that is difficult to remove, you may be asked to reboot your computer so it can proceed with disinfection. Regardless if prompted to restart the computer or not, please do so immediately. Failure to reboot normally (not into safe mode) will prevent MBAM from removing all the malware. MBAM may "make changes to your registry" as part of its disinfection routine. If using other security programs that detect registry changes (ie Spybot's Teatimer), they may interfere or alert you after scanning with MBAM. Temporarily disable such programs or permit them to allow the changes. Click this link to see a list of programs that should be disabled.
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#3 savethewhales

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 10:22 PM

Wow. Thank you so very much for this advice. I did uninstall all other antiviral programs that I am aware of, and am as sure as I can be that AVG is the only one operating. I am going to try these suggestions you have offered and see how that goes. Thank you very much again for your help.

#4 savethewhales

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 01:48 PM

Hello again.
I scanned in safe mode as you suggested. My machine does seem to be running better, although it may be some time before I can be sure that no more porn comes up in my browser history, as it was previously a weekly occurrance, not daily. While I was waiting for a reply to my original message on this thread (assuming that is the right word for this), I used the autoruns program with this website's startup database to start cleaning up that way, and found 4 viruses plus a load of unneeded stuff in there within the first 10th or so of the list. Before I go back to continue down the list, I think I may consider using the VAIO recovery system instead. I don't have much on this computer worth saving as I have only used it for checking email, internet research, photo storage and word documents. It wouldn't take me long to back up the things I want to keep to a disk and cleaning up this computer is going to be quite a time commitment in contrast. I went ahead and posted a request for guidance on how to do this in the Windows XP forum, and will go ahead with this plan unless I am advised to do otherwise, which I realize may be the case as my knowledge of the topic is almost none.
Thanks again for taking the time to help me.

#5 quietman7

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 06:10 PM

I think I may consider using the VAIO recovery system instead.

Sometimes a reformat or a factory restore with a vendor-specific Recovery Disk or Recovery Partition is the best solution.

If your using an IBM, Sony, HP, Compaq or Dell machine, you may not have an original XP CD Disk. By policy Microsoft no longer allows OEM manufactures to include the original Windows XP CD-ROM on computers sold with Windows preinstalled. Instead, most computers manufactured and sold by OEM vendors come with a vendor-specific recovery disk or recovery partition for performing a clean "factory restore". See Technology Advisory Recovery Media

A Recovery Disk is a CD-ROM or DVD data disc that contains a complete copy/image of the entire contents of the hard drive that will restore the system to its factory default state at a certain time. Essentially, it will reformat your hard drive, remove all data and restore the computer to the state it was in when you first purchased it. You will lose all data and have to reinstall all programs that you added afterwards. This includes all security updates from Microsoft so you will need to download/install them again.

Some factory restore CDs give you all the options of a full Microsoft Windows CD, but with better instructions and the convenience of having all the right hardware drivers. Others can do nothing except reformat your hard drive and restore it to the condition it was in when you bought the computer. Before using a factory recovery disk make sure you back up all your data, photos, etc to another source such as a CD or external hard drive. If you do a Google Search, you will find links to topics on how to obtain a replacement recovery disk from various vendors.

A Recovery Partition is used by some OEM manufacturers (Dell, HP, IBM, Gateway) instead of a recovery disk to store a complete copy of the hard disk's factory default contents for easy restoration. This consists of a hidden bootable partition containing various system recovery tools, including full recovery of the preinstalled Windows XP partition that will allow you to restore the computer to the state it was in when you first purchased it. The recovery software will then re-hide its own partition after creating a new partition and installing the software to it. You will lose all data and have to reinstall all programs that you added afterwards. This includes all security updates from Microsoft so you will need to download/install them again.

Recovery partitions may only work with a start-up floppy disk or the user may be prompted immediately after the "Out Of Box Experience" (OOBE) to create backup CD-R disks for the software on the hard drive image for future use. Once the CD's are made, the Operating System, Drivers, or Applications can be reinstalled using the files on the hard drive or the backup CDs. Before using a recovery partition make sure you back up all your data, photos, etc to another source such as a CD or external hard drive.

Some built in recovery partitions can be accessed by hitting Ctrl+F11, just F11 or F10 during bios startup. Others like those used by IBM Thinkpads will display a message at bootup instructing you to press F11 to boot from the recovery partition. For more information, see Understanding Partition recovery.

Again, if you do a Google search on recovery partitions, you can find information specifically related to the manufacturer of your machine.

Most Sony Vaio systems will have a VAIO recovery wizard. Create a Recovery Media Kit using this wizard and you'll be able to create a set of CDs that will enable you to do a system recovery on your Sony VAIO machine.

If your PC does not have this feature, you can always call Sony at 1-800-488-SONY to have them send you the disks.

How to Create Sony Vaio Recovery Disks
About the VAIO Recovery Wizard Utility

Reformatting a hard disk deletes all data. If you decide to reformat, you can back up all your important documents, personal data files and photos. The safest practice is not to backup any executable files (*.exe), screensavers (*.scr), autorun (.ini) or HTML files because they may be infected by malware. Some types of malware may even disguise itself by adding and hiding its extension to the existing extension of files so be sure you look closely at the full file name. After reformatting, as a precaution, make sure you scan these files with your anti-virus prior to copying them back to your hard drive.
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#6 savethewhales

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 01:59 PM

Thank you for ll of this information. I cannot express how grateful I am for your time and guidance. Lets hope my next post tells you that I now have a secure, smooth running machine!
Thanks again!

#7 quietman7

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 02:10 PM

You're welcome.

Tips to protect yourself against malware and reduce the potential for re-infection:Avoid gaming sites, pirated software, cracking tools, keygens, and peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs. They are a security risk which can make your computer susceptible to a smörgåsbord of malware infections, remote attacks, exposure of personal information, and identity theft. Many malicious worms and Trojans spread across P2P file sharing networks, gaming and underground sites. Users visiting such pages may see innocuous-looking banner ads containing code which can trigger pop-up ads and malicious Flash ads that install viruses, Trojans and spyware. Ads are a target for hackers because they offer a stealthy way to distribute malware to a wide range of Internet users. The best way to reduce the risk of infection is to avoid these types of web sites and not use any P2P applications. Read P2P Software User Advisories and Risks of File-Sharing Technology.

Keeping Autorun enabled on USB and other removable drives has become a significant security risk due to the increasing number of malware variants that can infect them and transfer the infection to your computer. To learn more about this risk, please read:If using Windows Vista, please refer to:
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#8 savethewhales

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 04:22 PM

Your last response raises one question which I would love to ask to you... Do you have a personal opinion regarding the best PC security and how to set it up and use it properly? I really know so little about it. I've heard AVG is great and that's why I use it, but I really have no frame of reference. Is there, in your opinion, superior security software?
Thank you, as always, for your time.

#9 quietman7

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 05:06 PM

Choosing an anti-virus is a matter of personal preference, your technical ability and experience, features offered, the amount of resources utilized, how it may affect system performance and what will work best for your system. A particular anti-virus that works well for one person may not work as well for another. You may need to experiment and find the one most suitable for your use. Another factor to consider is whether you want to use a paid for product or free alternative. My personal choice is NOD32 Anti-Virus .

Most of the same considerations apply when choosing a firewall.

See BC's Freeware Replacements For Common Commercial Apps and List of Virus & Malware Resources.

Keep in mind that no single product is 100% foolproof and can detect and remove all threats at any given time. The security community is in a constant state of change as new infections appear. Each vendor has its own definition of what constitutes malware and scanning your computer using different criteria will yield different results. The fact that each program has its own definition files means that some malware may be picked up by one that could be missed by another. Thus, a multi-layered defense using several anti-spyware products (including an effective firewall) to supplement your anti-virus combined with common sense and safe surfing habits provides the most complete protection.

Edited by quietman7, 02 March 2009 - 05:08 PM.

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#10 savethewhales

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 12:05 PM

Hi again. Unfortunately, I cannot get my compter to write to either DVD drive. I've tried cds and could only get it to make one and it will go halfway through the process of writing DVDs but won't finish. I've also tried compressing the files. Nothing seems to be working so far. The program usually winds up not responding and then I lose the desktop temporarily. Thought I'd see if you might have some advice to offer, or perhaps I should post in another forum.
Thanks, as always.

#11 quietman7

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 12:39 PM

I cannot get my compter to write to either DVD drive

Start a topic in the Windows XP Home and Professional forum. If the issue is more hardware related, use the Internal Hardware.
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#12 savethewhales

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 12:42 PM

Thank you.

#13 quietman7

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 01:07 PM

You're welcome.
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#14 savethewhales

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 05:15 PM

Hello,
Just wanted to let you know that the system recovery worked out wonderfully. Everything seems to be in ship shape. Thanks a million for all your help. You are a bit of a hero to my husband and I.
All the very best to you!

#15 quietman7

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 08:09 PM

Glad to hear the good news. :thumbsup:
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