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Just Why Is Combofix So "Dangerous"?


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#1 norwood781

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 09:00 AM

I see this type of response all the time:

I want to inform you that the execution of ComboFix, without supervision from a trained helper, can have very harmful effects on your computer.
ComboFix is a powerful tool, that can, without supervision from one of us, make your system (partly) corrupt. So I advise you to don't use this tool, and our other tools, in the future anymore without supervision.


and I simply have to ask: What is so inherently dangerous about the program? I've been working with computers since I was able to type, my first machine was a C64 (yes, I'm sure someone else is older than I am) and I have been working in IT for about 8 years (yes, I'm also aware that others may have worked in the field longer).

Why is this the de-facto response when someone asks about Combofix? I have used Combofix countless times and have never seen it behave in a way that "utterly destroyed" any machine I used it on.

So, again I just need to know - what is it about Combofix that is so dangerous to computers that this warning needs to be incessantly repeated ?

There are no options to choose when running the program (other than to install or not install the Recovery Console if it isn't already). There are no choices to be made after the program finishes, it simply produces a log report of what it did. And it creates a restore point before it does anything that one can simply go back to, if Combofix does, indeed, wreak havoc and "destroy" a computer.

So, why is Combofix so dangerous and why are people told not to use it, unless a "professional" from these forums tells the user to run it?

Edited by norwood781, 13 September 2010 - 09:01 AM.


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#2 quietman7

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 12:18 PM

Hello norwood781

No one should be using ComboFix unless specifically instructed to do so by a Malware Removal Expert who can interpret the logs because it is a powerful tool intended by its creator to be "used under the guidance and supervision of an expert. Using this tool incorrectly could lead to disastrous problems with your operating system such as preventing it from ever starting again.

Even if used by following this authorized guide: A guide and tutorial on using ComboFix, something could go awry and leave the user facing issues they do not know how to correct or deal with. Trained helpers know what to do in most situtations and can provide further instructions as to how one should proceed. If not, they have access to the tool's developer and other experts. Someone not trained and not using the tool under guidance may end up staring at a computer that no longer will boot normally.

While there are no options to choose when running the program as you say, ComboFix is capable of doing much more under the guidance of a trained helper. What those options are and how to use them is not available to the general public but some folks may read topics where instructions are provided and attempt to use them. Those instructions were most likely given under the guidance of an expert to fix that particular member's problems after careful evaluation of the malware involved. Before taking any action, the helper must investigate the nature of the infection and then formulate a fix for the victim. Although the problem may be similar, the solution could be different based on the kind of hardware, software, system requirements, etc. and the presence of other malware infectors.

Please read the pinned topic ComboFix usage, Questions, Help? - Look here for more information.

Edited by quietman7, 13 September 2010 - 12:23 PM.

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