It seems like it is inevitable. Your computer starts slowing down. Then there is that new toolbar in your browser and you know you didn’t install it. Or you start seeing pop-ups. Your computer has been infected. It’s not your fault – it just happens. So how would you like to save the $179.00 to have someone like the Geek Squad fix you computer? Read more on how to clean your computer form spyware, viruses and more inside and find out!
Its easy to clog your computer down. Whether its toolbars that get installed when you rush through updates or installing new software, to accidentally going to that website that ended up having a bunch of bad stuff. Or the software that promised to tune up your computer actually isn’t doing that – its doing the opposite.
Your computer can get infected with spyware, malware, and viruses pretty easily. So now your computer is taking forever to open applications or boot up. You can’t browse your favorite sites because of all the pop-ups and the toolbars. So how do you fix it?
And it’s not your fault. Really, it isn’t.
Warning: Every case is different. And although you can clear up most infected computers with the steps I go through. I unfortunately cannot guarantee that YOUR computer will be 100% fixed as there is no way to know what is wrong with it. Also these steps might cause your computer to stop working altogether in some extreme cases. I’m not responsible if your computer decides to stop booting up.
Well, you can decide to hire someone like myself that will charge you around $50.00 / hr. Or even better you can pay the one time fee of $179.00 to have the Geek Squad from Best Buy clean your system. Or you can do it yourself. And you can do all of this pretty much for FREE. Even better?
You don’t even have to be a computer nerd to do it.
Now this could take a lot of time – so make sure you have a few hours free before starting this.
Get the Free Tools to Clean Up Your System
OK, you will want some tools to help you clean up your system. These are the basic ones I download and use on every computer I work on. The best part about them? They are all Free (or at least a free trial).
Glary’s Utilities – This replaced CCleaner as it just seemed to run a little better for me. And it’s “One-Click” to clear out temp files, registry settings, and temporary internet files runs fast and works!
Malwarebytes (Link Below) – I can’t say enough about this software. It roots through your system and scans all of the known threats out there that your antivirus just doesn’t catch. Even if you have a Premium Anti Virus? I suggest running this one as well. Not only will it disinfect your computer – if you end up purchasing it after the trial period? It will keep it clean through its online scanning.
Protect Your PC for Less. 10% off Malwarebytes PRO Use Coupon Code “avgjoe10” at checkout to receive your savings. Offer Ends 11/16/2013
Anti Virus – Unfortunately it is usually too late once your computer has been infected. BUT – if your computer is still able to limp along? Then you should get an anti virus. There are two that I recommend here:
Avast Free – I like it because it runs in the background quietly without using a lot of resources. Which for a gamer/geek like me and someone who tends to tax their computers to the limit? Is very important.
Zone Alarm – This one is a bit more aggressive in protecting your computer. Not only does it have an anti-virus it also has a very strong (for software) firewall built in as well.
Step 1 – Uninstall the “Junk” Software
This is where you will have to go through by hand and uninstall the software causing you issues on your computer. Which ones though? Well, unfortunately I can’t really tell you as I’m not on your computer. But there is a pretty neat trick to help you out here.
Pull up your Programs and Feature menu (Windows 7/8) and you can sort by the Installed On column by clicking on it. This way it will display the applications by the date they were installed on. Then you can go through the list. You will need to then pull up Google and start doing research for each application in the list. You will also see the Publisher field. If it’s blank or doesn’t have a brand name you recognize? I’d start with those first. Just make sure that you aren’t deleting important applications like Office, Windows Updates etc.
Tip: I would unplug the computer from the internet during the uninstall process. A lot of the junk software you will be removing will re-direct you to a web page – which then in turn could re-infect your computer again – or try and entice you into getting even more junk software to install on your computer. By doing this it will still perform the uninstall – and the page will come up with “Page Cannot Be Displayed” and you can close down the browser.
Step 2 – Run the Free Tools
Have it do a full scan of your system. Depending on the size of your hard drive? This could take awhile to finish running. When it finishes scanning – just follow the instructions and check the boxes and have it clean the system. It might ask for a reboot so it can finish cleaning.
Run Glary’s Utilities
With this Utility you’ll just be using the 1-Click-Maintenance tab. Click the “Scan for Issues” button and have it do it’s thing. When it finishes scanning your system just click the “Fix Issues” button and your done. It will go through your system and safely delete invalid Windows Registry entries, Clean Temporary Files from your web browser and your computer, Invalid Shortcuts, and your Startup Manager.
Tip: Make sure to shutdown any running applications and web browser before running the tool. This will make sure that it has access to delete all of the junk on your computer.
Install the Anti Virus Software
This is assuming you didn’t have any to begin with. If you do have one already? Make sure it is up to date and it has the latest virus list update on it. You’ll need to make sure your computer is plugged back onto the internet and has a valid working connection of course.
Step – 3 Resetting Your Web Browsers
Spyware really does tend to get everywhere. And tool bars seem to be the worst. I end up having to reset the web browsers or even uninstalling/re-installing them in some cases if they are really bad off. Here is how to ‘reset’ the big three – Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome.
Warning: This will remove any bookmarks, extensions, plugins etc you have on the browsers. So be forewarned and backup your bookmarks!
- Click on Tools -> Internet Explorer.
- Click on the Advanced tab
- Go down to the “Reset Internet Explorer settings section and click on the Reset… button.
- A popup will ask you “Are you sure you want to reset all Internet Explorer Settings”. I suggest checking the “Delete personal settings” box as well and then click the Reset button.
It will go through and reset everything back to original specs – including your bookmarks, toolbars etc. So make sure to back them up first!
To reset Firefox it is really simple:
- Click on the Firefox menu on the upper left
- Highlight over the Help menu item and click on Troubleshooting Information
- Click on the Reset Firefox button in the upper right.
- Click on the confirmation Pop-up and it will restart with the default settings.
With Chrome you’ll have to do the following:
- Click on the Settings Menu on the Right then click Settings
- Go to the bottom and click on the blue link “Show Advanced Settings”
- Scroll all the way to the bottom and click on “Reset Browser Settings”
- Restart Chrome to finish the reset.
Note: With Chrome if you have it synced online with Google? You won’t lose any bookmarks or saved passwords.
Step 4 – The Advanced Stuff
Sometimes things get a little rough though. If its a Virus or a piece of Spyware that just wont let go of your system you will need to do the following:
If its a Virus?
Hopefully you can get the name of the virus. Write it down. Then try going to Norton’s Removal Tools and do a search for it there. (Just noticed its a bit outdated now) If you can’t find it there. You will need to Google for it. Someone should have a solution on how to remove it for you. Do NOT purchase a tool for removing it on the web. Most of the time those will just be yet another Virus! Most of the solutions found will be free. Just double check what they are talking about and follow the instructions.
If its Spyware?
This is pretty rare now. But you can get another free tool called “Hijack This“. I only recommend it if you have something that seems to be really stuck in your system and Malwarebytes can’t remove it for some reason.
Step 5 – Relax!
Now after doing that one last reboot? Your computer is back up to snuff. It is whizzing along back at its normal pace. Or in some cases running faster than before as you cleaned up a lot of junk you didn’t even know you had! Sure it is tedious and time consuming. But you did just save yourself $150 bucks!