I have spyware all over my computer and I can’t access a lot of web sites along with other things. Like, I went to click on your spyware cleaners link and lo and behold it sent me to this website [evil browser hijacking link deleted.] I don’t know what to do and I need to use my computer the way I used to. Please help me I’ll forever be indebted to you.
Missing my Computer
Wow. If clicking on the Lifehacker link to spyware cleaners sent you to that search engine, your web browser’s been hijacked. Sounds like your PC’s in a bad state and there’s a major cleaning in order. Here’s what to do:
1. You’ll have to download cleaning software. But if Internet Explorer has been hijacked it may not let you get to the web pages you’ll need. So first things first - download Firefox from here and install it.
2. Using Firefox, download a copy of Ad-Aware here, Spybot Search and Destroy here and Spyware Blaster here. Install all three free programs. Open each one up and choose “Update” to get the latest updates.
3. Now, before you scan your computer, you want to unload any spyware processes that are already up and running on your machine. So disconnect your PC from the internet, then shut down. Start up the computer again and hit the F8 key while it is booting up (before you get to the blue-toned Windows welcome screens.) Choose to start the computer in “Safe Mode.”
4. Once the computer is back up in Safe Mode, open Ad-Aware. Run a full system scan. The scan will take awhile to run, but make sure you clean everything and anything it finds. Then open Spybot. Choose “Check for Problems.” This scan might also take some time. Remove anything Spybot finds. Do the same with Spyware Blaster.
5. Reboot your computer normally.
6. Download Microsoft AntiSpyware here. Scan your computer with it and fix any problems it finds.
7. Visit Windows Update and make sure your copy of Windows is as up to date as possible - at least install any “Critical Patches” Windows Update recommends. (Unfortunately, Windows Update works in Internet Explorer only. For all other browsing, I recommend you switch to Firefox to avoid browser hijacking software in the future.)
8. Finally, in Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs, comb through your installed software list. See anything you don’t recognize or need? Uninstall it. If there is anything starting up automatically with Windows, remove it also. To do so, from the Start menu choose “Run,” and type msconfig. Review all the programs set to start and uncheck any you don’t want.
Those are the first essential steps to reclaiming your computer. I hope they help! Let me know how it goes.