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Pop-ups include desktop shortcuts and IE windows

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Subject: Adware pop-ups include desktop shortcuts and IE browser windows.

Dear GeeksToGo guys:

My Dell Dimension 2350 is HEAVILY infected with adware.

I am running WinXP(HE)SP2.

The following symptoms occur within seconds after my modem has finished dialing, even if I have not yet opened my browser (IE):

+ Shortcuts begin to pop up and populate my desktop (often linked to C:\Windows\icont.exe).

+ Browser windows (from various advertisers) begin to pop-up and open at a rate of several per minute.

+ Sometimes a MacromediaFlash item (usually a cartoon animated advertisement) appears in a LAYER that is always on top and cannot be moved.

The above symptoms occur whenever I am connected to the internet (even if my browser is NOT open). But they do NOT happen when I am offline.

In my efforts to solve this, I have already installed and run the following:

+ Google IE toolbar with pop-up blocker

+ Yahoo IE toolbar with pop-up blocker

+ Spybot - Search And Destroy (free version) - with latest updates

+ LavaSoft - Ad-aware Personal SE (free version) - with latest updates

+ Microsoft anti-spyware tool (free Beta version) - with latest updates

+ Symantec anti-virus - with latest updates

+ Installed Service Pack 2 (for WinXP-HE) and made sure that the firewall is enabled.

+ Ran MSConfig and reduced the number of auto-start items.

+ Used the Tools | Internet Options menu of InternetExplorer (IE6) to increase my security settings by requiring a prompt before running scripts, ActiveX, etc.

BUT NONE OF THE ABOVE HELPED ! The pop-ups continue.

It is so bad now that I dare not connect to the internet at all. This means, for example, that I could not download the copy of CWShredder that is recommended on your website. As a workaround for that, I downloaded it (CWShredder.exe) to a clean PC, copied it to a floppy, and then carried the disk to the infected PC. But when I tried to open it, I got an error msg saying that it is “not a valid Win32 application”.

The infected PC is out of warrantee and I no longer have the disks. So re-installing the OS is not an option.

I would be most grateful for any help you can give me on how to clean the adware from this PC.

Sincerely Paul_628 October 12, 2005
Email: paul628 at concentric dot net
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