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Serious Slowdown Problems.


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#1 Village Baka

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 06:57 PM

Alright, something got into my computer. At first, it seemed harmless enough. It would only give me an IE popup every few minutes, and didn't eat up any files or crash my system. I tried several big-name anti-virus and anti-malware programs, but nothing seemed competent enough to find it. After a while, it got to be like an annoying cockroach in your kitchen that you end up affectionately giving a nickname.

Then, it inexplicably went away. And the next time I turned on my computer, it was slow. I mean, SLOW. Whatever degree of slow you are thinking of, it's not slow enough. Think one hour boot times and 5 minutes to open the start menu. Seriously. I was patient enough to open up the task manager once, and for the entire time that the computer was on, it said CPU usage was 100%.

I'm not so much posting this because I need help (I can just get the IT guys to reformat my HDD and reinstall XP...again), but I want to know what the deal is with prevention measures. I have yet to find a single piece of anti-virus software that does not:
1. Fail to catch any malware
2. Eventually lead to an infection
3. Actually install malware itself
4. Put you in such stupefying security as to render your computer unusable

The fact that there seems to be absolutely no solution for virus problems is aggravating beyond belief. Whenever I buy commercial anti-malware software, it doesn't work. Whenever I download free anti-malware software, it doesn't work, or causes one of the above problems. Whenever I ask for suggestions on which program to get, I always get directed to something that causes more problems. Hell, I've had my own college professor lie to my face about a so-called "security" program that actually wiped my hard drive clean as a whistle.

I'm seriously doubting that anything good will come of this question, but does anyone know of an honest, effective anti-malware program?

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#2 buddy215

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 07:18 PM

Feel Better?

The best advice I can give you is no matter what security programs you install, they all have one weakness.
They can't stop you from clicking on a link to free screensavers, using P2P programs, visiting high risk sites such as gambling or porn, opening emails from unknown senders or clicking on a link in an email or opening an unexpected attachment to an email. They also can't force you to use a safer browser than IE such as Firefox with NoScript extension.
In other words, the best defense against malware is an informed, safe user. A lot of us practice this with free antimalware products and never get malware.

“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded and the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics...you are all stardust.”Lawrence M. Krauss

A 1792 U.S. penny, designed in part by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, reads “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry.”


#3 fozzie

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 03:18 AM

Here is some reading material

Simple and easy ways to keep your computer safe
The Ten Most Dangerous Things Users Do Online
Seven ways to keep your search history private
How did I get infected?, With steps so it does not happen again!
Secure Your Home Computer - A guide for online users

#4 Village Baka

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 12:35 PM

Well, that's the thing. I'm not enough of a computer newbie to click on ads. Heck, I can't even see them; I'm using AdBlock Plus on Firefox. :thumbsup:
I don't use P2P programs like Bittorrent or Limewire.
I don't have any reason to visit "high-risk" sites.
I don't even use e-mail, no less open up attachments.
And like I stated earlier, I'm using Firefox with several ad-blocking addons.

I really can't imagine how I got the damn thing, but I do know that it was exploiting some sort of weakness in Internet Explorer. Even thought FF is my default browser, the popups would always open in IE. And they weren't the kind that open when you open/close a web page, they'd just come up randomly out of nowhere whether you are using a browser or not.

Oh well. I guess I'm just overlooking something. Thanks for the advice, both of you.

By the way, considering that it's the root of all of my problems so far, is there any reason to NOT uninstall Internet Explorer?

#5 buddy215

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 01:58 PM

You cannot uninstall IE. You didn't mention having the most important extension in Firefox---NoScript.
There are sites on the web that all you have to do is visit them to get infected. NoScript is the best defense against that happening.
Another way to get infected is by malware that piggybacks on programs or files that you intentionally download.
That is why it is best to scan all downloads before opening or installing.
One thing I didn't mention but should have is the importance of keeping your OS and programs updated. One that is often attacked is Java.

“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded and the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics...you are all stardust.”Lawrence M. Krauss

A 1792 U.S. penny, designed in part by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, reads “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry.”


#6 Village Baka

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 11:12 AM

Uh, you sure of that? If you go to Add/Remove Programs and hit Add/Remove Windows Components, IE ought to be on there. Unless Microsoft decided to change it, who knows. Iíll take a look when I get home.

#7 buddy215

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 11:51 AM

You can remove IE7 and roll back to IE6. You can repair IE6. Keep in mind, you need IE to keep Windows up to date. There are many programs, websites, that want work or are not 100% functional with other browsers. Though those numbers have shrunk in past few years. I ran across one this week that I could not get the streaming live video to work acceptably in Firefox, my default browser.

“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded and the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics...you are all stardust.”Lawrence M. Krauss

A 1792 U.S. penny, designed in part by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, reads “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry.”


#8 quietman7

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 01:36 PM

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 malware infections appear. Each vendor has its own definition of what constitutes spyware 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 layered defense using several products (including an effective firewall) to supplement your anti-virus and scanning in "safe mode" provides the most complete protection.

See BC's List of Virus & Malware Resources and Freeware Replacements For Common Commercial Apps. You will not have to worry about any of the programs recommended there.

If your computer seems to be slow, read Slow Computer/Browser? Check here first; it may not be malware. There are reasons for slowness besides malware - i.e. disk fragmentation, disk errors, corrupt system files, too many startup programs, unnecessary services running, not enough RAM, dirty hardware components, etc. As your system gets older it becomes filled with more files/programs and has a natural tendency to slow down so cleaning and regular maintenance is essential.
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#9 fozzie

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 04:08 AM

You can remove IE7 and roll back to IE6. You can repair IE6. Keep in mind, you need IE to keep Windows up to date. There are many programs, websites, that want work or are not 100% functional with other browsers. Though those numbers have shrunk in past few years. I ran across one this week that I could not get the streaming live video to work acceptably in Firefox, my default browser.

Can you give an example link?




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