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Advice on various security software


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#1
NWkee

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Hi all. I am new to Geeks to Go! and this is my first post. In the last 4 months my machine has been horribly infected twice with a virus and this second time I'm calling it good and replacing the machine instead of putting any more money into a 7 year old machine. My user profile has been lost and I can't log onto the machine. Unfortunately there are some files I'd like to retrieve. Any advice anyone has in this area is appreciated.

My real question though is that I'd like some advice on security software. I was running AVG, Malewarebytes and A-squared on my old machine. I see from your free antivirus thread that AVG is not one of your favorites. I've recently received the recommendation of an AV program called "Avira". Any opinion on this program. Also I've been told the the AV software that's provided by my ISP is typically not very good. Do you agree with this? Finally, I've received the advice that running two AV programs is not a good idea (i.e. AVG and a-squared). That frustrated me because it was my local computer shop that set me up that way.

Last question, I've been running the firewall that is installed in Windows XP. What is your reaction to that.

Sorry for the long first post but as you may be able to tell, I am a bit frustrated with this situation.

Thanks
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#2
SpywareDr

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Hi all. I am new to Geeks to Go! and this is my first post.

Welcome aboard! Just registered here myself a few days ago. 8-)


In the last 4 months my machine has been horribly infected twice with a virus and this second time I'm calling it good and replacing the machine instead of putting any more money into a 7 year old machine. My user profile has been lost and I can't log onto the machine. Unfortunately there are some files I'd like to retrieve. Any advice anyone has in this area is appreciated.

Once you get your new system setup, (and protected), attach the hard drive from the old computer and then drag your personal files across to the new drive.


My real question though is that I'd like some advice on security software. I was running AVG, Malewarebytes and A-squared on my old machine. I see from your free antivirus thread that AVG is not one of your favorites. I've recently received the recommendation of an AV program called "Avira". Any opinion on this program.

Avira and Avast are ok, but lately I've been installing Microsoft's new, and free "Microsoft Security Essentials". Works great.

http://www.microsoft...ity_Essentials/

Also I've been told the the AV software that's provided by my ISP is typically not very good. Do you agree with this?

Depends on which anti-virus they provide.


Finally, I've received the advice that running two AV programs is not a good idea (i.e. AVG and a-squared). That frustrated me because it was my local computer shop that set me up that way.

AVG is a live, (running in the background and constantly watching), anti-virus solution. A-Squared Free is simply a scanner. If you use more than one 'live' anti-virus or anti-spyware program at the same time, your computer may experience decreased performance, become unstable, or restart unexpectedly.


Last question, I've been running the firewall that is installed in Windows XP. What is your reaction to that.

IMO, Windows XP's firewall is okay ... as long as you're also behind a hardware firewall.
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#3
123Runner

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Hi NWkee :)

AVG is not the top choice because (as I believe) after the version 7.5 it became very resource hungry on quite a few computers.
Avira and Avast are recommended and are free. I have been using avira because I like the interface better than avast.

As for your files....I assume we are talking a desktop computer here. If so, the attaching the old drive as a slave should allow you access to the files. You may have to change the jumper to a slave on the drive. Also make sure that you scan that drive with everything you have before moving files.

The windows firewall only protects 1 way. If you are behind a router (they usually have a firewall) then you should be good.
I use a router, turn off windows firewall and use the free zonealarm.

123runner
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#4
rshaffer61

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In the last 4 months my machine has been horribly infected twice with a virus and this second time I'm calling it good and replacing the machine instead of putting any more money into a 7 year old machine. My user profile has been lost and I can't log onto the machine. Unfortunately there are some files I'd like to retrieve. Any advice anyone has in this area is appreciated


I would say without having the system cleaned of any infection you may be risking infecting the new system with the virus.
Is the system bootable and if so how far does it boot up?
There are ways to get it bootable depending on the problem and then you can have it cleaned in the malware forum to assure the files you want are not infected.
Next running more then one real time AV is bad as stated above but also can cause false positive results with detections.
Lastly running of two firewalls I would recommend as it is done a lot of the time. Most broadband users have a firewall in place from their ISP already but running Windows firewall is a added protection level.

Edited by rshaffer61, 13 February 2010 - 02:01 PM.

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#5
NWkee

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In the last 4 months my machine has been horribly infected twice with a virus and this second time I'm calling it good and replacing the machine instead of putting any more money into a 7 year old machine. My user profile has been lost and I can't log onto the machine. Unfortunately there are some files I'd like to retrieve. Any advice anyone has in this area is appreciated


I would say without having the system cleaned of any infection you may be risking infecting the new system with the virus.
Is the system bootable and if so how far does it boot up?
There are ways to get it bootable depending on the problem and then you can ahve it cleaned in the malware forum to assure the files you want are not infected.
Next runningmore then one real time AV is bad as stated above but also can cause false positive results with detections.
Lastly running of two firewalls I would recommend as it is done a lot of the time. Most broadband users have a firewall in place from their ISP already but running Windows firewall is a added protection level.


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#6
NWkee

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Yes, it is a desktop. Sorry, I should have mentioned that. The machine is bootable until the user sign in screen. I am the only user but there was once a default "owner" icon to click on. The icon is no longer visable or available and I can't seem to get passed that point. I attempted to boot it from the Windows XP disk and I attempted to create a "bootable" disk. Neither worked.

How do I connect the old hard drive to the new machine. Can someone provide some direction on that?
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#7
rshaffer61

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Please don't quote everything as it just makes it harder to follow along.
Is there data you need to save to make sure it is safe? All though we do our best not to lose any data there are times when a resolution may cause data loss.
I suggest using a Linux live cd to get to the data and back it up before we proceed.


Get Puppy Linux from my signature below...Get puppy-2.16-seamonkey-fulldrivers.iso download it and burn it to cd
..
if you don't have a burning program that will burn .ISO files get Burncdcc from my signature...it is a small FAST no frills iso burning program...

NOTE...do not put a blank cd in until burncdcc opens the tray for you
1. Start BurnCDCC
2. Browse to the ISO file you want to burn on cd/dvd ....in this case its puppy-2.16-seamonkey-fulldrivers.iso
3. Select the ISO file
4. click on Start

make sure in the bios the cd drive is the first boot device....

put the cd in the cd drive..boot your computer....puppy will boot and run totally in ram...if your hardware is is good working order you will know...
after you get it running and your at the desktop...you take the puppy linux cd out and then you can use the burner to copy all your data to cd/dvds
you can also use it to backup your data to a external usb harddrive..just have it hooked to the computer when you boot up with puppy...

==========================
quick guide for saving data...music..files on a system that will not boot using puppy Linux..


after you get to puppy desktop..
click on the drives icon...looks like a flash drive...top row..it will list all the drives connected to

your computer...

click on the red icon for the drive you want to mount...in this case its a flash drive ...puppy will

mount the drive..the drive icon turns green when its mounted...
minimize the drives mounter window..you will need it again in a few minutes..
drag the right edge of it sideways to shrink it to its narrowest size...about half the width of the screen...then drag the window to the right edge of the screen...

now click on the icon that looks like a filing cabinet (kind of yellow) on the main drive...it should
already be green..
you will see a list of all the folders on the main drive Usually your C: drive..shrink that window to
the narrowest you can..about half the width of the screen...drag that window to the left side of the screen...
at this point you should have 2 windows open on your desktop..the flash drive on the right side..
go back to the folders on the C: drive...click on the documents and settings folder...then your user
name or all users..find the folders that has your data..
drag and drop the folder with the data you want to make copies of to the flash drive window...

your options are to move ..copy ect...JUST COPY..if its to big you will have to open the folder and
drag and drop individual files until the flash drive is full...(I have a 120 GB external USB drive for
big data recovery jobs and a 4 GB flash drive for the smaller jobs)..after you get the files copied to
the flash drive...
Click on the drives mounter you minimized earlier
UNMOUNT THE FLASH DRIVE by clicking on the green icon..you will once in awhile get error messages when
unmouting the drive..ignore them..when the flash drive icon turns red again its safe to remove the
flash drive..trot on over (stroll if you want to look cool) to another computer and plug in the flash

drive and copy all the data files ( I drag and drop) to the other computer..
make sure the other computer can read them...

now delete the data on the flash drive...take it back to the misbehaving computer and plug it in

again..click on the drives icon again and repeat until you have all your data transferred to the working
system..

Thanks to happyrock
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#8
NWkee

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I will give this a try and let you know how it goes.

Thanks for all the advice.
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#9
NWkee

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Excellent! It worked and I was able to rescue the needed files. I haven't opened all of them yet but I was able to get them off the machine. Thanks again for your great advice! It was awesome.
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#10
rshaffer61

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No problem. Please verify they are safe before we continue.
After that then let's do a Parallel Install and try to get the system back into a windows so you can go to the malware forum and have them do what they do so well. After they have gotten you cleaned up and healthy then we can try to run the original windows and see if it will boot then.
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#11
rshaffer61

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Parallel Installation of Windows XP

Boot to the Windows XP installation cd by pressing a key when the "Press any key to boot from cd" prompt appears at the top of the screen.
  • At the "Welcome to Setup" screen, press Enter to set up Windows XP.
  • Accept the License Agreement by pressing F8
  • With your current installation selected in the box, press Esc
  • Select C: Partition1 [NTFS] in the box and press Enter
  • To continue setup using this partition, press C
  • Now you should see formatting options...choose the last one, Leave the current file system intact (no changes), and press Enter
  • To use a different folder, press Esc
  • Name the folder WINDOWS0 (just type a 0 (zero)) and press Enter
The Windows installation should begin. This will install Windows to a new folder, leaving your data intact. Any programs installed on the old directory will have to be reinstalled to the new one. Device drivers will also have to be installed for all the hardware to work as it should.

The data will be located in the Documents and Settings folder (C:\Documents and Settings) under your old user account name...so when you set up the new installation, give yourself a slightly different user account name.
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#12
NWkee

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Very good. The files appear clean. I will follow the next set of directions and report back.

Thanks again.
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#13
NWkee

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Setup is copying files now.
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#14
NWkee

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I must say, I'm pretty impressed. I'm now looking at a desktop and my files under my old user name are still there. I have to thank you. I think you just saved me from having to purchase a new machine, which is something I really wasn't crazy about doing right now.

I'm assuming I have to update my windows and then download my AV software. You mentioned the malware forum. Is that where I should head next?
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#15
rshaffer61

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Yes I would think that to be safe you should make sure your system is healthy. Once that is done then return back here and then we can continue with moving data and programs. Do not do any surfing other then what they ask you to do so you can keep safe.

I suggest you go to the Malware Removal and Spyware Removal Forum and run all the steps located in the
START HERE. These self-help tools will help you clean up 70% of problems on your own.
If you are still having problems after doing the steps, then please post the reguested logs in THAT forum.
If you are unable to run any of the tools then start a new topic in the malware forum and put this in the subject line...I am unable to run any malware tools

If you are still having problems after being given a clean bill of health from the malware expert, then please return to THIS thread and we will pursue other options to help you solve your current problem(s).

Add a link to this topic so that malware tech can see what steps have been taken here
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