Cleaning your hard disc

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Not your average framer
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Cleaning your hard disc

Post by Not your average framer » Sun 10 Jan, 2010 9:06 pm

I suspect that something is wrong with my normal computer and for the time being I am now using my rather elderly and painfully slow laptop.

My assuption is that my normal computer may have suffered a virus attack, but don't know how to check this out. I'm thinking about using this same computer to download an anti-virus program, I gave up because it was taking so long to download it.

Unfortunately there are important files on this computer which I want to safety extract onto another computer. I do not have a cd rom writer and therefore I am thinking of buying a large capacity memory stick, but how do I check these files are clean before loading them onto the other computer.

I am not an IT boffin, so I would be thankful for some advice.
Thanks in anticipation,
Mark
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

Dermot

Re: Cleaning your hard disc

Post by Dermot » Sun 10 Jan, 2010 9:20 pm

Down load MalwareBytes http://www.malwarebytes.org/ it’s free, update it and then scan your computer if a virus has got in to your computer, it is virtually 100% guaranteed to catch what is there, you should have no conflict with your existing anti-virus software.

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Re: Cleaning your hard disc

Post by prospero » Sun 10 Jan, 2010 9:25 pm

Hi Mark. I'm not an IT boffin either, but.....

Are you telling me you have no anti-virus installed? :o

It may not be a virus at all. It could be lots of spyware/adware and other junk that get downloaded when you visit sites. These things are fairly innocuous in the main, but will eventually start to hog resources if you get enough of them. There is a good free program to clean these out :

http://malwarebytes.org

When was the last time you defragged? Another thing that can slow a PC down is having your HD too full. You should leave at least 15% free space.




Edit: You see. It's very popular. :D
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Re: Cleaning your hard disc

Post by Not your average framer » Sun 10 Jan, 2010 9:46 pm

Hi Peter,"

Yes I do have anti-virus software, it's part of "Fix-it utilities" and I also have a "Zone Alarm" firewall. As you may have gathered the computer is not that up to date and is running Windows 98 (second edition), which is not provided for in a lot of the modern anti-virus software.

The present set-up has been o.k., until now. Earlier today, I did some digging and looked any newly created files. I found some windows short cuts in the internet browers directory, which I thought were suspect and removed them. I also re-named an Excel application at the end of one of these short cuts and disabled the macros.

I am thinking of going into the registery and de-selecting the applications which run .xla and .hta files to see what happens. If anything is trying to execute a file with one of these classifications, it may generate an error message and tell me something useful. I am not an expert, but sometimes I can still get lucky.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

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Re: Cleaning your hard disc

Post by The Crofter » Sun 10 Jan, 2010 10:15 pm

Not sure if CCleaner will work with W98 but worth a try. Have used this software regularly for a long time, will clear out your registry and various other files. Worth trying this before you do anything else.

http://www.filehippo.com/download_ccleaner/
Pat

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Re: Cleaning your hard disc

Post by Not your average framer » Sun 10 Jan, 2010 11:40 pm

I use Fix-it to defrag both the hard disc and the registery, probably every three or four months. Usually there's not much fragmentation, but I'll give it another check just to make sure.

My impression is that other things are going on while I'm on line and if so I need to do something about it. I'm not too worried about the computer; I'll happily junk it, but I want to recover my files and information first.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
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Re: Cleaning your hard disc

Post by w00dward » Mon 11 Jan, 2010 12:00 am

If you are thinking of upgrading the PC and getting XP/Win7 then it is fairly trivial to remove the old hard drive and plug it into a IDE to USB converter and grab the files from it. On the upgraded PC make sure you have AV software installed. I use F-Secure suite which is very good and the new Norton suite has had very good reviews (thankfully this version has shaken off some the bloat and slowness from previous versions). Antivirus/Malware/Firewall protection is one of the things I do not mind paying for.

By plugging the drive into another computer via USB you are unlikely to 'activate' any virus's and you will be able to grab any spreadsheets/documents you need.

a IDE - USB converter http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=48965 or http://www.scan.co.uk/products/Scan-Eas ... n-seconds!

Another free spyware/malware scanner is Spybot.
Paul.

Alcohol does not make you FAT
- it makes you LEAN ….
against tables, chairs, floors, walls and ugly people.

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prospero
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Re: Cleaning your hard disc

Post by prospero » Mon 11 Jan, 2010 3:19 am

External HDs are quite cheap nowadays. Great for transferring files and useful later for backing up stuff

Never tried using one with win98 though. :?
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Re: Cleaning your hard disc

Post by Not your average framer » Tue 12 Jan, 2010 8:25 pm

Thanks guys for all the info. I've learnt a lot of new things through this.

I never knew that there was such a thing as a IDE to USB converter, I'm planning on getting one of these as soon as I can get a new PC, so I can rescue my files.

I've had a good quote of £275 + vat, for a new PC with windows 7 and a cd writer to work with my existing monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Business is a bit slow right now, so at present it w,ill have to wait until things improve, (gotta pay the bills first). The old PC will later be upgraded with a new hard disc, motherboard and O/S, as I think a spare PC would be a smart move.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

Dermot

Re: Cleaning your hard disc

Post by Dermot » Thu 14 Jan, 2010 10:49 pm

I had a very pleasant message from a UK based trade supplier who used malwarebytes to resolve a computer issue….it great when you hear something we have posted on the forum sorts an issue for someone.
DERMOT YOU ARE A STAR!!!! A technician from France spent 3 hours on my system yesterday trying to get my internet banking card reader working. His best solution was for me to reformat my system. I ran this (malwarebytes) and my problem is sorted.

Regards

Not your average framer
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Re: Cleaning your hard disc

Post by Not your average framer » Fri 15 Jan, 2010 11:34 pm

When I get my new computer, I will load AVG and Malware onto it from day one. Thanks for the advice guys.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
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w00dward
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Re: Cleaning your hard disc

Post by w00dward » Sat 16 Jan, 2010 7:37 pm

I would seriously recommend not using AVG free and purchase a good quality anti virus software with malware and firewall protection. As I mentioned above, F-Secure and the new Norton suites are very good and do well in tests.

This is a report for 2009 on all of the AV Suites. http://www.av-comparatives.org/images/s ... ry2009.pdf
Paul.

Alcohol does not make you FAT
- it makes you LEAN ….
against tables, chairs, floors, walls and ugly people.

Dermot

Re: Cleaning your hard disc

Post by Dermot » Sun 17 Jan, 2010 3:33 pm

What is wrong with AVG!!!!

I have been using AVG paid for and free for years now without an issue, currently 7 computers, 3 of the computers are the kids computer with AVG free and you can imagine the sort or crap they get targeted at their systems there has not been an issue yet over many years.

Please let us know what you found wrong with AVG, as so many people use it it would be helpful to know what is wrong with it.

w00dward
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Re: Cleaning your hard disc

Post by w00dward » Sun 17 Jan, 2010 7:14 pm

The is nothing wrong with it, but there again there is nothing spectacluar about it either. There are better products out there.

I don't believe it offers the best protection available. The free version is a very basic version which doesn't offer full protection against all types of attack.

The PDF I linked to above is a good guide to go with. I, personally like F-Secure as a company and I read their security blog which links to the latest attacks and vulnrabilities.

Network and PC security I think is one of the most important parts of running a computer and especially if you depend on it for your income and do personal banking over the internet. I would always pay for the best I could find for that protection. The other important thing is to always ensure your applications and OS are up to date with patches. 0 day attacks are getting more widespread and if you checked the logs on the interent firewall you will see how often you are port scanned and attacked.
Paul.

Alcohol does not make you FAT
- it makes you LEAN ….
against tables, chairs, floors, walls and ugly people.

Not your average framer
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Re: Cleaning your hard disc

Post by Not your average framer » Tue 19 Jan, 2010 10:08 pm

I have discuss this issue with my ISP and they recommended F-secure as this is the one they use themselves. They did not elaborate of the reasons for doing so and I did not ask any detailed questions about it.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

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