To Clean Up some Things….

Before we get ahead of ourselves, I again digress.  Reviewing my last few blogs it became obvious that I had forgotten to answer the main question often asked by my friends and colleagues when they call saying “my computer is acting funny, running slow, etc…”

Often, after asking a few questions, I find that the majority of issues involve their laptop/PC being infected by malware or a virus.  This post is dedicated to describing, in layman’s terms, just what that means…I promise, no technical descriptions in this post….

Malware, what is it?  Try to think of malware as the wild, impetuous friend of the family that calls saying he/she wants to visit for a few days…but what they really want to do is get into your home and stay for months!  And to make matters worse, you say to them after they arrive “mi casa es su casa”.  (Spanish for” my house is your house”).  Now the fun begins…not only do they show up, they start using your phone (of course they don’t have a phone) and begin inviting everyone they know to your home for a never ending party!!!  For those in my age group, think John Belushi and “Animal House”…

A virus is just what the word means…an infection.  Again, using the wild, impetuous friend analogy  let’s change the scene a bit.  Your friend calls saying he/she wants to visit for a few days.  When they arrive you notice that they are coughing, feverish and not in good overall health.  Aha!  They failed to mention that they have the flu and are highly contagious.  So now, they are in your home and infecting everything they come into contact…

Now, think of your computer, tablet or mobile device.  For the “party animal’ visualize all those unwanted pop-ups that now seem to be coming from everywhere.  Also, did you notice that your “Home Page” has change?  That’s a malware attack my friend!  As for the virus…it can be deceptive.  What you typically get from a computer virus is this: your ability to access the internet is gone (this is so you cannot download or update antivirus protection), your computer will no longer turn on/turns on extremely slow, you cannot access your computer Control Panel, your antivirus software is no longer operating correctly, your firewall is gone and finally (if you let this go on for a long period of time) you begin losing data (pictures, videos, documents, etc).  It’s as if the device has a will of it’s own…and that will is to shut your device down…

So, how do I handle such friends? Simple, I kick them out and I do not try to be polite about the process!!!  Here are the steps I take to get rid of such  intruders.

First, I lock and bolt the doors!  That means disconnecting from the internet.  This is especially important for the friend that wants to party.  If you are connected to the internet using an Ethernet cord, unplug.  If you are connected using wireless connection, drop the connection.

Second, I begin escorting them out of the house; and if that means calling in professionals, so be it!!!  In a previous post I explained how to use System Restore to roll back your computer to a date/time when the computer was performing correctly.  That’s what usually applies for the “party friend” (malware).  For the friend with a virus, I skip all the superficial cleaning tools and go for the “deep clean”.  I bite the bullet and run “System Recovery”.  With System Recovery, I take my computer back to its “factory installation” set up.  Yeah, it means I have to back my data up (but I have been doing that on a weekly basis anyway, so I am not losing much).  It also means I have to force Windows Updates for a few days…but it is a small price to pay to get rid of such bad guests…

Now, that wasn’t so bad…was it?

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