April 1, 2005
Dear CNET members,
I regret to inform you that we will be discontinuing the CNET Community Help & How-to newsletter. So I encourage all of you to stay strong and keep helping each other through our Community forums. I enjoyed writing these newsletters and will truly miss you all. So Tom, this week, you are on your own with this spyware issue, or you can take member Jim W.'s advice on how to physically remove pop-ups.
Gotcha! Just thought I'd have a little fun with you, after all, it's April Fool's Day! Now let's move on to tackle Tom's stubborn malware issue. This week, I received a ton of recommendations for resolving Tom's daughter's computer issue with spyware. Submissions were all over the map, from running additional spyware utilities to simply switching to a Mac. Coincidentally, at my office, I had two of my pretty tech-savvy coworkers get hit with the same type of malware you've experienced, Tom. And while they practically threw everything at it, including tinkering with their registry, it didn't resolve the issue. And using add/remove programs caused worse issues. Finally, the spyware severity was so bad, they had no choice but to back up all of their data and reformat to get the machines back up and running. Now that's some nasty malware!
So, Tom, while I would love to pick a concrete solution for your daughter's malware issue, depending on the severity, there really isn't a one-shot fix. Hopefully, this week's three winning answers (by Miguel K., Mark F., and Jacob S.), all of the honorable mentions, and other recommendations from our members will give you some insight on how to tackle your situation. If all else fails, there's always Jim's advice. Good luck, and please return to the forums to tell us what did the trick. And for those of you who have additional how-to advice or who have found yourself in Tom's shoes, join us in this week's discussion. Thanks, everyone.
Member Question of the Week
My daughter's Windows XP SP2 computer is full of spyware. I've used Spybot, Spy Doctor, and Ad-aware, and they've recognized some spyware and removed it, but some just won't go away. What's driving me crazy is her computer starts spitting out pop-ups (30 to 40 in 10 minutes) without me opening a single program while the computer is still booting up! Whatever this is, it's active as soon as the computer is on. Disconnecting my cable modem so far is the only way to stop all the pop-ups. Please help!! What's a dad to do?
Answer by Miguel:
While you alluded to the use of various antispyware utilities, you failed to mention whether your daughter's computer is protected by a firewall. This is a key consideration and the first part of the solution to your problem...
Miguel K. of Columbus, Ohio
Answer by Mark:
Spyware is an ever-increasing problem nowadays for all computer users, and it is good to see that you are trying to combat these nasty little beasts. However, although Spybot, (full name: Spybot Search and Destroy), is a very good...
Mark F. of Littleover Derby, United Kingdom
Answer by Jacob:
Unfortunately, once spyware and adware become installed, they can be very difficult to remove. Removing these programs can often take hours, if not days, to completely eliminate. The worst ones copy themselves like viruses, with...
Jacob S. of Fallbrook, California
Miguel, Mark, and Jacob's
efforts, we're sending them their choice of any Help.com Learning CD.
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