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Ok, I'm fairly freaking out about my computer right now

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive March 2007: Ok, I'm fairly freaking out about my computer right now
By Anonymous on Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 05:51 am:

I downloaded Spybot and when I click the button that says to Check for Problems, a window pops up and says I need to install the detection updates first by using the integreated update or the manual updater. I click OK and the window goes away. I look for something that tells me how I do what it suggests and I CAN"T FIND ANYTHING! I am almost in tears. I hate this.

By Unschoolmom on Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 06:57 am:

Oh gosh! Don't let a computer do that to you! I'm not sure what's going on with Spybot but one option, probably you're best, would simply be to uninstall Spybot and download and install one or more of the following;


Windows Defender (you need to be running XP)...


Those are all excellent programs and will help keep your computer spy- and mal-ware free.

By Karen~admin on Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 09:00 am:

Our IT guy highly recommends Windows Defender. We have used Spybot before with no problems, but we don't use it now.

By Ginny~moderator on Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 10:39 am:

OK, in Spybot, in the left hand menu window, the bottom button is Update. And in the main window, the buttom button is Search for Updates. Click either of these. Then, after Spybot searches, at the top you will see four menu buttons - the second one lists the various "mirror" sites from which you can download updates. I have found that if you use the site at the top (Safer Networking #3), sometimes that server is getting heavy use and the downloads don't come, so I click to open that menu and select one of the other mirror sites and click on that one. The third button in the top row is Download Updates. After you have selected the mirror site you want, click on the updates you want in the box by each (unless you are color blind you don't need "main skins" so don't click that one), then click "Download Updates" and just wait. Spybot pops up a window to tell you which updates it is downloading and puts a green checkmark next to each type of download it has completed downloading.

If you don't see the side menu or the menu in the main window that says Search for Updates, you may indeed need to uninstall and reinstall Spybot - you might have an incomplete download. My favorite place for downloading SpyBot and Ad-Aware is from the PCWorld site, because I trust PCWorld. The PCWorld site to go to to get these downloads is : PCWorld Scroll down to the second list, More Anti-Spyware Tools, and Ad-Aware and Spybot are at the top of that list.

AdAware will also need updates. When you open AdAware if you need updates you will get a window that says how old your definitions are (if you have downloaded the program for the first time, they'll be fairly old). Make sure your internet connection is open, and then click OK in the Ad-Aware window. In the next window, click Connect. Ad-Aware takes longer to download then Spybot, but it runs a bar that tells you how far along the download is.

I recommend using both Spybot and Ad-Aware, because I have found that sometimes one catches spyware the other doesn't. After each program finishes running it will give you a list of everything it has found, and you have to click which ones you want to get rid of and go on to the next step. The first time I used each of these programs I was horrified to find that I had hundreds of spyware programs on my computer, ranging from simple tracking cookies (which often produce those pop up windows that say "click here" for this or that) to potentially malicious software.

Yes, Windows Defender is good, but it is not free. Spybot and Ad-aware are, and both are very highly recommended by PCWorld and a lot of computer advice columnists I have read.

By Ginny~moderator on Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 10:49 am:

Another important thing to do is to stop sites from putting unwanted cookies on your computer (which will stop a lot of the popups). If you are using InternetExplorer, which most of us use as a browser, go to Tools \ Internet Options, and select the Privacy Tab. Click on the Advanced Button. In that window, click "override automatic cookie handling", and in the two lists, click Prompt. Also click "Allow session cookies" (this allows sites you use, like Momsview, to put a cookie on for just that session). For a while after you do this, when you go to a site you'll get a popup window telling you a site wants to put a cookie on your computer and asking if you want to allow or block - along with a place to click if your decision is permanent for that site. As you build a list of "always allow" for your favorite sites you'll see that window less and less. Sometimes I click Block and then find I need to allow a cookie for that site - for example, to make a purchase. If that happens, go back to Tools \ Internet Options \ Privacy, and click on the button "Sites". That will pull up all the sites for which you've made a decision. Type in the first few letters of the name of the site and when it comes into the top window you can click allow and then go back to that site.

By Dawnk777 on Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 10:53 am:

Here's a free download for Windows Defender:

Windows Defender

By Cocoabutter on Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 11:05 am:

Ditto everything Ginny said, and just to add, the detection update is like a list of threats that the program needs in order to know what it is searching for when you run a scan and what to protect your computer from in the future. Every week, or even every day, there are new threats out there and your anti-spyware and anti-virus programs need to be updated in order to be able to protect your computer against these threats.

And please try to relax and remember that Spybot and Ad Aware are very highly regarded programs, and they will not do anything that will put you into any further jeopardy. As long as you know that the programs you are using are trustworthy, you can use them with peace of mind.

It's just a walk in the park, right? Once you get used to using these programs, you will wonder why you panicked so much! :)

By Ginny~moderator on Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 12:10 pm:

Oh, and you also need to have your internet connection open to download Spybot updates - and updates for any other program. I didn't realize that the first time I tried to download updates but fortunately, that program popped up an internet connection window and "I got it". Now I open my internet connection on a Sunday morning once or twice a month and spend some time updating my Norton, Spybot and Ad-Aware, to get it over with. I then close the internet connection and run Spybot and Ad-aware with the new updates. Most times they don't report anything I should remove, which I credit in great part to my controlling cookie download, but every so often something is listed and I get rid of it.

By Ginny~moderator on Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 12:13 pm:

Finally - I promise - You are not alone. My computer and software have driven me to tears or almost to tears more than once. The last time was when I inadvertently downloaded Internet Explorer 7 from Microsoft updates, and found I really, really hated it. It took me quite a while to find out how to uninstall it and return to IE6. And then I discovered that I can tell Microsoft to NOT offer me certain updates in the future (like IE7), which makes me feel a bit more in control.

By Anonymous on Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 01:01 pm:

Thank you all for your advice. ((((HUGS)))) I feel somewhat better right now. I followed your directions, Ginny to a "T" and thanks to you, I got Spybot working. I also downloaded ZoneAlarm and it is working fine too. I appreciate you all taking your time to give me the best help. I do still have a problem on my bottom bar. There is a button blinking from a question mark to a red warning sign,(the circle with a slash through it)and every once in a while a balloon pops up from it that says they found a problem and to click on the icon and do another download from yet another site. I am leaving it alone but I'm so tired of that balloon popping up and I need to know how to get it to stop. Again, thanks soooooooooooo much for all your help.

By Anonymous on Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 01:11 pm:

The whole thing was such a big mess. I am still shaken over all this. I don't know whether or not I should cancel my credit cards and paypal and checking account because of some of the alerts that popped up said that our privacy was compromised. I'm a little nervous about that. What if someone now has our personal info? I don't ever want to go through this again. Also, if I call those companies that I bought software from, except for Norton, I am keeping Norton, do you think I will get a refund?

By Ginny~moderator on Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 04:08 pm:

If Spybot didn't get rid of it, I would suggest you download Ad-Aware also, update it, and run it.

Caution - if you are using Windows XP, you need to deactivate the firewall in XP in order for the ZoneAlarm firewall to work best. The ZoneAlarm firewall is better, anyhow. The XP firewall only works at blocking (most) incoming stuff, but ZoneAlarm also tells you if a program on your computer is trying to get onto the internet and ask you to grant or deny permission.

As for the popup, it is time to review your cookies and get rid of a lot of them. The cookies should be stored in Documents and Settings, in the folder with your name, or the User folder (or both). Click on the menu bar in the place that shows the date a cookie was added, scroll down to the approximate date you clicked on that popup, and see if a cookie with the name of the program is there. If so, delete it. Then, organize your cookies by name (click on the bar at the top over the column with the names) and go down the list. Hold down the control key and click on any cookies you think you should eliminate, and when you get to the bottom, click on delete in the left hand menu, or on the delete button, and click yes when you get a popup window asking if you are sure. Then go to your trash can, open it, go into the file menu, and click on Empty Trashcan.

If that doesn't get rid of the popup, the next time it pops up, right-click on it and in the menu that opens, click properties. Or just right-click on the red warning sign. That will bring up a window that should give you the name of the program. Then click your "Start" button - left of the bottom tool bar, and click on Search, then click Files and Folders. In the next window, tell Search to search for files and folders, and in the next window type in the first 4-5 letters of the program, and click on the down arrows next to date modified and type in a date about a week before you clicked on the first popup, with today being the second date. Then click the search button at the bottom of this window. It will take a while, but Search should find all bits of this program - these programs hide themselves in odd places - and list them in the window. You can click on them and delete all of them.

After you have done all of this - Ad-Aware, cleaning out cookies, searching for the program - then re-start your computer, and you should have a clean start.

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