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Been told PC is infected and would like some help

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#1 duffsparky


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Posted 15 June 2016 - 05:53 PM

I have an oldish eMachines EL1600 with an Atom 230 1.6Ghz processor and 1Gb ddr2 dram running Win XP Home SP3. I hadn't used it for a while because it became very slow and would frequently freeze especially when connected to the internet but I now need to start using it again.


Installed anti-malware was Avast(free), SuperAntispyware(free), Malwarebytes(free), these have now been replaced with AVG Ultimate 2016.


I believe it may be infected with something and I need some assistance to clean/disinfect it. I've tried to do it myself, including trying to follow the BC slow PC/internet guides but to be honest my skills at such things are limited and my head is now in a spin.


Any assistance would be much appreciated.





More info


I recently purchased AVG Ultimate, including AVG PC Tuneup, for an Acer laptop running Win Vista and hoped that the AVG PC Tuneup would help solve the issues with the eMachine. Well, it didn't, it made it worse. I contacted AVG who told me that the machine only had a 32gig processor which wasn't good enough for the AVG Ultimate and, via their remote access GoToAssist, told me that it was infected with Caphyon, a browser hijacker, and other malware.


AVG also told me that the installed programs CCleaner, SuperAntiSpyware(Free), Malwarebytes(Free) and remnants of Avast Antivirus(Free) plus other tools would interfere with the operation of their software and visa versa and effectively result in the PC not being protected at all. They offered to resolve these issues for 159.99 sterling (UK), which I can’t afford especially as I had just paid 59.99 sterling (UK) a week before it went down to 19.99 sterling (UK).


According to the AVG website the eMachine just about meets the minimum requirements for the AVG Ultimate. Their comment about the 32gig processor and offer to correct the issues of a PC that wasn't good enough ran alarm bells so I declined their resolution.


I found that by disabling some auto-start items, including PC TuneUp that I could get the PC to run stable enough to update the AVG antivirus and then disabling the AVG antivirus I could get the PC Tuneup to update, albeit with a lot of coaxing and several reboots. Then, using the PC Tuneup the PC became more responsive and stable and more still after using the PC TuneUp's Startup Manager option to switch off auto-start programs.


I scanned the PC with:


AVG which found nothing.

Hitman Pro which found and cleaned 11 items two of which were trojans (?).

ClamWin Portable which found nothing.

McAffee Stinger Portable which found nothing.

Kaspersky TDSS Killer Portable which found nothing.


I also ran HijackThis Portable which seems to suggest there are auto-start items that are disabled but Sysinternal's Autoruns shows at least some of these to be enabled, however, I don't really know how to interpret the HiJackThis results so I could be way off the mark.


Autoruns also shows there are a number of Avast items still loading despite the software being uninstalled.


Although the PC is just about usable it still very slow, has short & long term freeze ups and sometimes takes ages to refresh a screen especially when using the internet. These issues remain whether AVG and PC Tuneup are disabled or not; they are, however, worse when enabled especially when AVG updates.


Some of the slow internet problems are probably down to a slow WiFi connection.

Edited by duffsparky, 15 June 2016 - 06:12 PM.

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#2 Aura


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Posted 16 June 2016 - 10:22 AM

Hi duffsparky :)

I have an oldish eMachines EL1600 with an Atom 230 1.6Ghz processor and 1Gb ddr2 dram running Win XP Home SP3. I hadn't used it for a while because it became very slow and would frequently freeze especially when connected to the internet but I now need to start using it again.

That machine really is "oldish", I can tell you that! :P

I can tell you that your performance issues are caused by AVG PC TuneUp, and probably AVG itself.

"PC Booster/Tune Up" programs are part of the worst programs you can install on a system. When it comes to messing up your system (Windows), these are as worst as malware. They are completely worthless and useless to use. The worst is that they'll often take action on your system without you knowing, nor authorizing it, which could lead to your system being altered in a way you don't want it to be or even worst, a "broke" system. Every feature they provide, you can either do it natively under Windows, do it via another standalone executable (which is way easier and safer to use) or they aren't providing something you need. Here's a few examples:
  • Cleaning temporary files: TFC (standalone executable), CCleaner (installed), Cleanmgr.exe (built-in);
  • Managing start-up entries: Autoruns (standalone executable), CCleaner (installed), Task Manager and Registry Editor (built-in);
  • Driver Updater: Not needed, all you need is to go on your manufacturer website so you'll be sure to get the right, official, working drivers for your computer or hardware;
  • Registry Cleaner/Defragger: Completely useless and also dangerous;
  • Disk Defragging: Disk Defrag (built-in), O&O Disk Defrag (installed), Defraggler (installed);
  • Powerful uninstaller: Not needed, only needed when you have to make sure a program is completely uninstalled. Revo Uninstaller and GeekUninstaller are two good alternatives;
  • "Enhanced" Task Manager: ProcExp from Sysinternals Suite (standalone executable), Process Hacker (portable or installed);
  • "Active security": Any Antivirus and Antimalware can beat that, easily. These programs aren't made to replace Antivirus or Antimalware products and shouldn't be seen as such;
  • Repair bad sectors on a hard drive: Simple chkdsk /r command under Windows (built-in);
Having such program installing on your system will just bloat it down and you have more chances to have issues by using them than without. These products are advertised as a program that can solve all your issues, remove every malware, speed up your computer performance over 100%, etc. The truth is that there's not a single program that can do that. First of all, these programs aren't made to remove virus and malware, leave this in the hands of Antivirus and Antimalware, period. Secondly, there's so many kind of issues under Windows that there's not a single program that can address them all. If you think that BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) issues can be solved by opening a program and clicking on a "Fix" button, then I'm sorry to tell you but, you're wrong. Also, you cannot boost the performance of a hardware over it's hardware capabilities. Of course you can overclock some components, like your CPU, RAM and GPU, but these aren't done via these programs, but via your BIOS interface. I could recommend you a program for every feature these programs advertise, and also tell you exactly in detail why most of them are completely useless, such as Registry cleaner (dangerous to use), and driver updater (dangerous to use, and also completely useless, it'll not improve your system performance). In the end, buying such programs is the exact same as being scammed (because this is what it is, a pure scam) and using one of these programs will result you in having a system less performant than prior to using it.

Relevant articles if you want to read more about PC Boosters/Optimizers and why they are useless:

Security Administrator | Sysnative Windows Update Senior Analyst | Malware Hunter | @SecurityAura
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#3 duffsparky

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 01:46 PM

I only bought the AVG Ultimate 2016 (AVG Internet Security plus PC TuneUp) because I screwed up the installation of a Bluetooth device on the Acer laptop, which corrupted its registry. Once I fixed(???) the registry issues on the Acer its AVG Internet Security 2015 (AVGIS2015) wanted the license number but it would not accept the number I had. When I contacted AVG they told me the number was not genuine. The laptop belonged to a friend and I had no idea if the software was supposed to be legal or not; a later call to an AVG re-seller suggested the AVGIS2015 was probably an illicit corporate version.


AVG suggested that if I bought the Ultimate package they would sort out its installation and any issues relating to its installation, which they did. Having screwed up the laptop and being told the AVGIS2015 was not genuine, I felt obligated to pay up. The PC TuneUp was supposed to be a bonus.


If I understand correctly running PC tuneup/booster programs is not a good idea; so it's probably best to remove/disable the AVG PC TuneUp, although there is no disable option for the AVG PC Tuneup.


I'll look into the standalone executable tools you suggest; some of which I've used in the past. However, AVG told me that CCleaner interferes with their software and visa versa but I see there is a portable version; so I'll give that a go.


The eMachines PC was very slow prior to installing the AVG Ultimate but by running various tools from a USB stick it is getting better. Hopefully a few more scans and remedies from other standalone tools will improve it further.


I'll also take a look at the 3 links you provided above.


Many thank

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