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#1094024 - Sat May 02 2015 09:40 PM Don't download game cheats...
Tizzabelle Offline
Multiloquent

Registered: Sun Jan 17 2010
Posts: 2507
Loc: Sydney NSW Australia         
A friend of mine has a laptop with Windows 7 Home Premium. Her teenage son downloaded a whole mess of game cheats and other things which crashed the computer. She's paid $150 to have a guy clean it up as much as possible but there are still thousands of bits of 'stuff' there that make the computer crash if IE opens. It works perfectly well if they only use Chrome or another browser. The tech guy has said the only way to truly fix it is to reformat the computer. My friend isn't confident to do that, I don't know if she has the requisite discs (or whatever) she needs to do so, and she doesn't want to lose any of the photos and other things on there. She'll get around to putting things on an external hard drive (one day) but the issue of the computer remains.

This isn't so much of a problem but there are times when IE opens automatically when something like a USB modem is used, as it was on a recent holiday. Her son has disabled IE so it shouldn't be a problem, but is it worth running a malware programme through the computer? Would it help, and is there any danger of it doing harm?
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#1094047 - Sun May 03 2015 05:22 AM Re: Don't download game cheats...
flopsymopsy Offline

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Registered: Sat May 17 2008
Posts: 4383
Loc: Northampton England UK
Run Malwarebytes and see what it finds/recommends but the tech guy is probably right, reformatting may be necessary. If she doesn't have the disks (you mean she didn't create them when she got the computer?) she'll need to cough up and buy a new copy of Windows. May be cheaper to get a new computer than do that and pay someone else to do the reformatting, which if she isn't confident she probably should. And she should move her photos to an external drive pronto - if the malware makes her computer crash at some point, i.e. crash and burn, she may lose that stuff anyway. Once she's moved things across, she should run anti-malware on that disk drive in case any of the files were infected.

You should not be lazy with computers or you will pay the price. Set an hour aside each week, at a regular time, to sort things out, then let some things run overnight. Don't be cheap - it would have cost her less to pay for the full version of Malwarebytes than it has been to get it fixed (and it's not fixed yet). Or buy a good antivirus that includes malware protection and won't let you go to an infected site in the first place. Note the word buy. Some free versions of antivirus are reasonably good but they are limited and you get what you pay for.

I hope that teenage boy isn't allowed near her computer again, or if he is, he is allowed access only to his own account which she should set up for him with restricted privileges. She should know his password (because she should allocate it initially) but he should not know the password to her admin account. Best of all, she should set up a guest account for herself and only use the admin account/password when she needs to.

Plus she needs a good lawyer - because if her son does something like this again, she'll need a murder defence! "I told him I'd kill him, milud, so I did!"
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#1094055 - Sun May 03 2015 07:30 AM Re: Don't download game cheats...
Tizzabelle Offline
Multiloquent

Registered: Sun Jan 17 2010
Posts: 2507
Loc: Sydney NSW Australia         
Thanks very much for the info. smile I knew someone on FT would have good advice. I don't know if she has the disks but her ex-husband should have access to something at work. I'll pass all this on to her, but she knows less about operating computers than I do. If we go through it step by step, we might be in with a shot at salvaging something, or at least she'll know what to do with another computer. smile

*sets aside an hour each week to sort my computer out* wink
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#1094155 - Sun May 03 2015 07:23 PM Re: Don't download game cheats...
flopsymopsy Offline

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Registered: Sat May 17 2008
Posts: 4383
Loc: Northampton England UK
You're welcome. smile

Of course, if she could convert her son's enthusiasm towards a more positive aspect of games, e.g. writing one, or becoming a games designer, then he might end up making some proper money out of it. Careers come in all shapes and sizes!
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#1094165 - Mon May 04 2015 01:19 AM Re: Don't download game cheats...
tellywellies Offline
Forum Champion

Registered: Sat Apr 13 2002
Posts: 5398
Loc: South of England
I'd say to run MBAM too (Malwarebytes Anti-Malware). Perhaps also JRT (Junkware Removal Tool) and/or AdwCleaner. Will they cause any harm? It can't be guaranteed that they won't. Some cleaning programs might cause harm if malware is deep seated enough. If a system file has been corrupted and a cleaning program finds and removes one of these, this may become a slippery slope that leads to formatting and reinstalling anyway.

Since your friend has paid to have the computer cleaned, it is possible that the computer repairer has already tried quite a few cleaning tools, including the ones mentioned. If this is the case, he is probably right in saying that the situation is as good as it is going to get without reinstalling the operating system and programs.

I'd say the best course is to buy an external USB drive, copy any created files to it (photos, written documents for instance). At least then these files won't be lost no matter what happens This should be done as a matter of course right now anyway, as already suggested. Having done that, go for the re-installation of everything. Before putting the backed up files onto the re-installed system, scan them with an AV program.

Flopsymopsy has suggested ways of preventing problems of this nature. My only addition to what has already been said is to back-up. Not only photos and other created files but also make a back-up of the entire working system. Such a back-up is called a 'disk image'. A disk image usually takes the form of one large file that contains the operating system, installed programs and all created files (photos, documents etc.). The disk image can be written to a USB external drive and used to recover the working system if it ever gets infected, corrupted or somehow messed up.

Writing back a saved disk image to the computer takes about 30 minutes compared to the day or more it might take to reinstall the OS and programs. What's more, it does this without having to think about what to do. All that has to be learned is how to make the disk image and how to initiate writing it back to the C: drive if it becomes necessary. When this is done, the computer and programs are ready to use without further work (other than letting any Windows Updates install).

Windows 7 includes its own disk imaging program. Instructions on usage here (scroll down to the 'Here's How' heading). There are some popular third-party programs that will do the job too. These include Acronis, Macrium Reflect and EaseUS ToDo. Free versions of Macrium and EaseUS are available.

The only thing to remember to do when one of these programs is installed is to make a startup disk. If the computer becomes so bad that it won't start, the disk can be used to start the computer up, access the disk image on the USB drive and initiate the recovery process.

This might seem a complicated procedure but it is the simplest and quickest way of getting back to a pristine system if anything goes wrong. The time to make a disk image might be when a computer is new or when the operating system and regularly used programs have been newly installed.


Edited by tellywellies (Mon May 04 2015 01:30 AM)
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#1094205 - Mon May 04 2015 11:26 AM Re: Don't download game cheats...
mehaul Offline
Forum Champion

Registered: Wed Feb 03 2010
Posts: 6516
Loc: Florida USA
I would like to reinforce TW's point about the USB, Flash or Thumb Drive use and its benefit. I paid $20 for one to go with my PC a year ago, put a copy of everything on it but the OS (a copy of that is in a partitioned section of my hard drive to use for total recoveries). I store all my files to it (the thumb drive and since most programs retain a copy of the original in its hard drive location no matter what you ask the PC to do, my simple 'save' many times is actually a back up copy!). I just checked its properties and I have put 1.5 gigabytes onto a 16 gigabyte drive in the year. That's only about 8% so I might get at least 5 more years out of it. Every 6 months I do a whole drive copy to a second flash drive. This acts as a back up back up. That 2nd thumb drive is only 8 gigabytes and cost around $10 on sale.

Add it: My digital camera uses an 8 gig flash memory card for its files. If you have the right card docking hardware, you can use your camera memory card as a back up location. A warning on that would be not to have the card in your camera and then lose the camera. I just mention this aspect because if you have an old digital camera lying around, you could be using that memory for your computer too.

Edd it: The formats for image storage and file storage may be/are different. Be sure to have your photos saved somewhere before using the card for files. I think they ask you if you want to reformat first but that may have been directions on the card itself. There are so many ways to encounter flash drive formats, it can be tricky to sort them out.


Edited by mehaul (Mon May 04 2015 12:16 PM)
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#1094322 - Tue May 05 2015 10:03 AM Re: Don't download game cheats...
Tizzabelle Offline
Multiloquent

Registered: Sun Jan 17 2010
Posts: 2507
Loc: Sydney NSW Australia         
Thanks for the extra info. smile I'll pass it on to my friend and she can take it from there. As long as the photos are stashed safely away, somewhere, all will be well.
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