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I don't know about you, but for me other than my telephone, my computer is my lifeline! I am disabled and have no money to spare, so imagine my horror when last night a virus snuck into my computer and I knew I couldn't afford to pay anyone to remove it! This particular new virus is called System Tool 2011 and it's a rogue Trojan that completely takes over your computer if you allow it to finish its scan! (You can see the scan progress on your computer screen because it has gained control of your computer). Don't think for one single minute that you've done something wrong to get this virus, because this rogue finds ways to infect you even when you're visiting completely trusted sites and have excellent security set up on your computer!
At first, it looks like your personal security system alert has popped up to tell you that your computer has become infected but this is a tactic to trick you into thinking you've got a virus and need to remove it when, in fact, the virus alert is the virus. It's not like the old "ignore it/don't click on it and just reboot immediately to get rid of it" viruses of days gone by. Oh no, this one is already automatically downloading. Oh, and if you do try to reboot, it doesn't matter because what comes up on your screen are nasty "HA, HA in your face" comments that basically say, "Tell your boss, your family, and friends that no matter how careful and safe you are that we can get you!" (I almost took a screen shot of it but decided I had better not waste time keeping my computer on while allowing the virus to continue taking over my computer) Anyway, this virus will not allow you to access "any applications whatsoever" including your security system or even your documents!
So now what? Thankfully I already have extras beyond my McAfee like Malwarebytes, C Cleaner and Spybot downloaded on my computer and a desktop shortcut for each. So what I did was turn off my computer, take a deep breath with lots of prayer and restarted while constantly clicking F8. I chose 'safe mode' and then ran Malwarebytes via the desktop shortcut first. Yep, it found the virus and I clicked to delete. Then I used Spybot and it also found a bad registry and I deleted it. Then on to CC Cleaner to get rid of any other possible hidden items and finally did a full McAfee scan. Bessie is now clean as a whistle ;-)
Should you choose not to download these three completely free programs now (and make shortcuts for them on your desktop for easy access) please don't panic should you happen to get an infection! Just print this tip, keep it in a safe place, and instead of when turning off your computer and restarting by clicking F8 and choosing 'Safe Mode'; keep clicking F8 and choose "Safe Mode With Networking" and type in the links in your search engine for downloading and running the programs one at time (in this order) Malwarebytes, Spybot and C Cleaner. Oh, and once you have downloaded these programs be sure to update them weekly (I choose Wednesday's) so that your computer is completely up to date! By the way, this virus is updated by these creeps (and changed to the next coming years numbers) every single year around this time just before or during the holidays. :-(
Here are the links to download for virus (and junk in general) removal help:
Malwarebytes: You do not need the full 'pay for' version! Also, once you've run it on full search the first time you will probably not ever need to do more than a quick search ever again :-)
Spybot: Do not worry about a donation to start because you can always donate 'if you want' at a later date. Just scroll down until you see the download button for Spybot Search and Destroy.
C Cleaner: (Used to be known as Crap Cleaner. Seems everything has become politically correct - LOL):
By Deeli from Richland, WA
You have probably heard of the computer viruses that will automatically send themselves to everyone in your email address book, there are several different ones out there. If someone opens or clicks a link in one of those emails, they can 'catch' the virus, too. If your computer gets such a virus, there is a way to send yourself an 'alert' so you will know you have it.
Make a new entry in your email address book. For the 'Name', enter "Virus" and for the email address enter "YouHaveAVirus@virus.com". Now if your computer gets a virus that sends itself from your computer, it will also send to the YouHaveAVirus email address. Since there is no such email address, the email will come back to you as undeliverable and you will know your computer has a virus.
By Amuck from Fairview Heights, IL
There is a malware Trojan called "DNS Changer" that has infected millions of computers worldwide and if your computer is infected by it you will no longer be able to access the internet because the FBI plans to pull the plug on DNS servers that are currently providing computers infected with the DNS Changer malware.
It is vitally important that you check your computer now because the definite date for resolution by way of this shutdown in order to stop the spread of this Trojan will be on July 9! Go to this link to check if your computer is infected. If it is not infected you'll see green:
For more detailed information about DNS Changer, go to this link:
Source: I am a subscriber to FBI updates
By Deeli from Richland, WA
Are you having problems with virus', worms, Malware, and other such nuisances on your computer? Here are some free software links and advice to set you on a better track while surfing the wonderful world wide web : )
Another good tip is to use Firefox as a browser instead of Internet Explorer because Internet Explorer is a virus and Malware magnet. Sad to say but true. Firefox is a much better built browser with more protection.
If you want to make Firefox your default browser (which you should), in Windows Vista go to the Start Menu and click on Default Programs. Click on "Set Your Default Programs". Follow the directions to set Firefox as your default browser.
By Carly34 from Lynnwood, WA
Next time you replace a PC plagued by viruses buy a Mac (Apple) computer and you will have no more virus issues. ;-)
I recommend this FREE Malware program to help you protect your computer. It doesn't replace virus or spam software, but does a super job of trying to keep your PC running in top shape and it's easy to install.
If you're a 'home-only' computer user that typically leaves the computer 'on' during the day, but leave your computer for moments in excess of 15 minutes, do this: activate one (Virus, Trojanware or Malware) of your protection programs.
Thousands (possibly millions) of users are receiving what looks like an innocuous daily missive from CNN.com (it sails right through spam filters), offering links to the "Daily Top 10" stories and videos. Flag these emails as spam, and do not click the links inside.
Each day you use your home computer, tablet, or smartphone, you risk the chance of installing viruses, malware, spyware, or Trojans on your devices. Therefore, it's necessary to protect your devices with antivirus and spyware programs.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
My paid AVG Internet Security is about to expire. I'm looking into free software and am overwhelmed with all the choices. I'm using Firefox as my web browser with Windows 7. I've Googled questions and can't determine what I need and what conflicts with what. I'm running around in circles trying to figure what to do.
If I use Microsoft Security Essentials is that all I need? I'm reading good things about Avast and Spybot Search and Destroy and from what I see both can be used at the same time. Can they be used with Microsoft Security Essentials? People are saying we need multiple protection, but some software can conflict and cause computer freezes. My AVG subscription runs out in four days and I don't want to put out unnecessary money. I want to know what software my ThriftyFun friends are using to protect their sensitive information.
By Betty from Lubbock, TX
You can get a free version of AVG, it you like it. My computer guy told me to never buy security programs, because he said as a whole the paid ones aren't as good as the free versions.
Try askbobrankin.com for advice. He tells you about the top free down-loads for security of all kinds. He lists the best, tells you what is good about them, and not so good. That way you can choose the ones you want. He also says what he uses himself.
My daughter was having major problems with her computer. She tried everything over a period of weeks, to no avail. I told her about this website. She chose to download Avast entirely free, Well, it fixed things for her. I have a friend who uses free downloads to keep her computer running well, and is very satisfied. I have Defender Pro 15-in-one, and love it. But when it expires, I will download free programs from his lists. He gives a lot of good computer advice.
I use AVG free version and have for years. I am very happy with it and no problems.
DAW Realtor in Virginia.
Thank you for your suggestions. Since posting my question I called a couple of computer repair shops and the advice they both gave me was Microsoft Internet security. It's free also. Any more comments?
I am using AdAware for free for years, with Essentials as a backup. No problems on this end.
I have used the free version of Avast plus SpyBot with Internet Explorer as web browser for more than 10 years with no problem.
I need to install new security soon. Any recommendations? I am not very computer literate, I need something that's easy to install.
By Joanie from South Norfolk , VA
Look for Free AVG. I've used it for at least 10 years.
It depends on what operating system you have. I have windows7 and I love MSE. It's made by Microsoft and it's free. Even a dud like myself can easily set it up. Once that is done, it works quietly in the background and you can just forget about it.
I really like Panda Cloud. It doesn't take up space on your computer but is always there working and running in the background. I also use Malwarebytes for anti-malware. Easy to download and cleans up any malware that may be latching onto your computer. You should run this at least 3 or 4 times a month.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
I am fairly apt at computers having been a Quality Assurance Software Engineer for several years. I invite people to post any and all computer questions they might have here on ThriftyFun, and I will do my best to provide basic non technical advise, suggestions and instruction. And as long as no one complains I think I will start posting computer advise once a week here on Thrifty Fun for people who might need the info.
Let me start with something everyone can benefit from.
Virus Software: There are many virus programs available for your computer and I highly recommend you have a virus program. The one I use and highly recommend is called Avast! and unlike many of the other programs available this one is free. At least it is for personal home use. If you want it for a business you have to dish out some cash. It is still worth it.
You can get it here: http://www.avast.com
Once you register on the Avast! website you get emailed a registration key good for one year. Then you are required to re-register and again it is free for another year, and so on.
Avast! runs on start up of windows and quickly updates itself once you connect to the internet. And it isn't a resource hog. I have dial-up internet and I hardly notice it.
You can also activate the user interface and do virus stuff manually if you so desire.
It is a fully functional and very easy to use virus protection program. They also have a beefier version you have to pay for. If you feel you need the extra bells and whistles I trust Avast!, so I would go for the bigger package.
Recommendations, if you feel you have to buy something that is a "name brand" for it to be good: McAfee software has a proven track record. Symantec is okay, better than nothing. There are others but I am not as familiar with them and I don't recommend software I am not familiar with. Like Microsoft's virus protection, I don't know it, never used it, don't know anyone who has.
I will say that if your virus software came with your PC and it works, like I said before, something is better than nothing.
Let me just add I run other programs to protect my PC as well. You can never do too much to protect your PC and your information.
By suntydt from Tazewell, TN
I just wanted to say thank you for this information and for all future info. I feel I can never learn enough about the computer and how it all works.
Thank you for the information. Can you run Avast if you have another anti-virus program or would that have to be eliminated? (01/28/2010)
By Nancy R
I've been using AVG on the advice of CNET. It works well but I think it does slow down my computer. However, I really do not know how to tell how much resources it is using or what 'too much' is. How can you tell if a freeware program is a resource hog? It would be great if you would post a reply as a tip for everyone. Thanks for the tip and those to come. (01/28/2010)
I'm all for a weekly post about computers, especially from someone as knowledgeable as yourself and also if it's in layman's terms. Now, my question to you is so often I go to a website and want to click on something within that site and I get knocked off line. I've done all the things I should on a weekly basis to clean up the cookies, etc. but yet it still happens. Very frustrating. For my virus protection, I use trend micro. Thanks for you help. Looking forward to future posts from you. (01/28/2010)
First; weekly computer advice would be welcome, second; I have the same question as Nancy R, can you run Avast if you have another anti-virus program or would that have to be eliminated?
I currently run Microsoft Security Essentials, anybody out there with any feedback on that one?
I need a program that will scan downloads before they are downloaded etc. Something that will keep the viruses from getting in. I really need a good free program because like most people these days the last thing I need is another bill to pay. (01/28/2010)
AVG works okay, but does take forever to scan. We're using Microsoft Essentials, it's free and seems to do well. Another good free virus protection program is Panda Cloud, it's been recommended by several IT people, it doesn't need updating since it runs everything through its website. Great malware programs are Malware Bytes and Spybot Search and Destroy. (01/28/2010)
Is anyone familiar with Kim Komando? She has a website and a radio show and knows computers inside and out. Kim recommends AVG. She has other good downloads on her website that are free. I have learned so much from her but am not a member of her club. You can learn additional things if you join.
Dear Suntdt - I have a virus problem I hope you can help me with: OS = XP svcpack2, Browser = IE8, Firefox. I have the 'cornflxr' virus, i.e. it will not let me log into any antivirus web site. All of the antivirus programs, including Avast, try and log into their home site to get the latest updates, thus precluding them from doing a scan. I am at the point where I feel the only alternative I have is to reformat the disk and reinstall XP and all my apps. Do you have any suggestions? Peteg8 (01/28/2010)
I am looking forward to receiving a weekly "lesson" and meanstwhile I am with those others who are curious as to if you are able to run avast at the same time as another? (01/29/2010)
Will there be a certain day that the Q and A will be posted, or do we need to be set to receive Feedback?
Thanks, Squirrelena (01/30/2010)
If you've been attacked by a malware, they really mess up your system. Here is a FREE (100% safe) malware program that you can download and run when your computer begins to act 'strange'.
As previously mentioned by others, my experience with Norton was horrific. After a year of dealing with blue-screens, I took my computer to a repair shop [for another issue] and mentioned my 'blue-screen's' and he asked me if I had Norton installed. I replied and he said to get rid of all Norton software and recommended some freebies. I'll never have Norton on my machine [or McAfee; they don't [didn't] provide Customer support, so 'Adios' McAfee.(04/07/2010)
What anti virus does everyone use? Has anyone found that Norton slows your computer down?
By pico from St. Paul, AB
I use a free anti-virus software called AVG. It is available at http://free.avg.com. So far it has been unobtrusive and performed well. (07/08/2009)
I really like Commodo. I use stumble upon to look for websites so I need a very good protection suite. Comodo has worked great for over a year with no problems. (07/08/2009)
I used to use AVG free, but it let to many virus' get by it. So I switched to Avast with is also FREE and WAY BETTER! When I get a new computer I always take off the Norton that they put on it. Norton causes more problems than it helps.
Also, download Ccleaner from www.filehippo. If you DO get a virus, and your current anti virus can't clean or delete it, the Ccleaner will.
Go to www.download.com and get Avast! (07/08/2009)
I use Trend Micro Internet Security. I cycled through Norton, McAfee, Panda and tried AVG free. I have had the most success with Trend. The other either slowed my system down or had bad customer service when contacted. I also like that Trend has parental controls which allow me to pick what is blocked, including web advertisements. And it is for 3 computers at a reasonable price. (07/08/2009)
Avast is one of the best I have found and it's frugal! (totally for free!) Good luck. (07/08/2009)
I don't know if this one is available, but it comes free from my internet provider. It is CA Security Center. It catches everything, has adware/spyware wtih it. I was on Microsoft official site doing downloads and installations of priority updates and it caught three viruses trying to invade my PC. Never thought of a virus appearing at their own site. It gives me even more confidence in it. I have had it almost three years now and recommend if your provider has a free security service use it for they want to protect your system and theirs. (07/10/2009)
My "free" AVG now has some cost to it. I too am looking for something better and without cost. I did look through what Windows itself had to offer. I am not all that literate in this stuff, but appreciate all the info suggested. (07/10/2009)
I switched from Norton (because it was slowing my computer down and let a couple virus' in) to McAfee about four years ago and have never had a single slow down or problem since. It's only about $30.00 a year and some years they offer $10.00 off if you renew your subscription a few months early. (07/10/2009)
Why don't you switch from Windows to the free (including the software) Linux Mint (http://www.linuxmint.com) and stop dealing with virus and spyware? (07/10/2009)
I use comodo it is free it has the anti virus and firewall together there is a malware (spyware) catcher in the anti virus too I have no problems with it is totally free the only catch is you have to re register every year that is it I have had it for years with no problems Love this one here is the link: http://personalfirewall.comodo.com/
Blessings, Shirley (07/10/2009)
Panda Cloud - It's great, is what most of the IT people are recommending. You install it once and forget it, never have to update. What it does is installs on your computer and when you go anywhere on the 'net, it goes through the Panda Cloud site before you go anywhere. http://www.cloudantivirus.com/ (07/10/2009)
I get McAfee free with my cable internet, I have had it for 4 years and never a virus. (07/10/2009)
I use the free AVG and Spybot.com. They are working quite well for me. Good luck! (07/12/2009)
Nod 32 (08/06/2009)
Try avast! The home version-works for me. (08/06/2009)
I use AVG (free) I have had it for four years and no problems. Laura (01/02/2010)