How To Clean Malware From Your PC Using Free Tools

Scan & Clean Your PC With Free Tools

how to clean malware from pc with free tools
Cure Your Malware Problem

I have written a bit about how to clean your PC with Free Tools but I don’t think I have ever done a video SHOWING how to do it, so I figured it’s about time.

Below you will find a new video embedded that will cover the exact process I use on my own PC’s whenever I have any reason to suspect a virus, trojan or malware infection of any kind.

I am not disparaging any paid tools here, there are advantages to them and value received (usually) but not everyone can afford the cost or has often enough use (thankfully) to justify the expense. And since the economy still sucks for a good many people out there, the timing is right for the video.

Free Computer Security Tools

Here are the free tools we will be using in the video:

  • The first is TDSSKiller by Kaspersky Labs (and no, as you will hear in the video, I can never say that name right!) It is an anti-trojan software. Trojans are some of the NASTIEST infections you can get. Here is the link to TDSSKiller at BleepingComputer
  • The second is the FREE version of MalwareBytes excellent anti-malware software. It will scan AND clean your system. They do have a paid upgrade to the software but for the video we use only the free version. Yes, I do recommend the paid version as being worth the cost unless you consider your computing to be low risk. Here is the link to MalwareBytes.org
  • Finally, we take a look at the anti-virus/computer security software we are running. It’s Microsoft Security Essentials which is not only free but also one of the LEAST performance reducing security software packages out there. Get MS Security Essentials here

Watch The Video

Other, More Robust Computer Security (Paid)  Software

A lot of my clients feel more secure with a more robust, paid, security product protecting their PC. Sometimes it’s because they know they have a greater chance of malware due to the types of email they get from friends, the sites they visit (not nasty ones, but ones that get attacked because they are popular) or they download some combination of screensavers, wallpaper, “free” music and videos.

Here are some of the paid security programs we recommend and have worked with:

For Really Stubborn Malware

If you have an infection and can’t seem to get it cleaned, check out this post using yet another free malware cleaning tool or another rather long post I did over at PCRoger.com

Email SCAM – Our Donation To You

Euro Millions Jackpot Winner Wants To Share With Me

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Email Scams - Don't Believe Them

Today is my lucky day, if you believe the email scam I received explaining that a family who won the Euro Millions Jackpot of (Pounds Sterling) 148 Million (over US$238 Million) wants to share the wealth with 25 other people of whom I happen to be one of.

Really?

Who believes this stuff?

How did they select my email, if it were legit (which it’s not).

Breaking Down The Scam Email

When trying to determine if an email is a scam, here are some helpful tips.

I know YOU don’t need these tips, but somebody does, because if this stuff didn’t work, no one would do it. Since they keep doing it, we know it works.

  1. First, if it sounds like a “free lunch” remember that there is no such thing. Free money from a European lottery winner? Right. Nigerian Prince? Right.
  2. Look at the email address. I’m in the U.S. and this email came from a .se domain (@igp.uu.se), which is Sweden. Yes, Sweden is in the continent of Europe, and maybe they have the Euro lottery there, but there currency is the Swedish Krona – actually a pretty strong currency. The igp.uu doesn’t look too promising either.
  3. What do they want you to do? Well, this email simply gives another email address to contact, and it happens to be an address at @yeah.net. Not one I’ve heard of, but who knows on that. Typically they want more out of you but in this case I’m sure that will come in the next email – if I contact them, which I won’t.
  4. Look at the grammar. This one isn’t too bad, but it’s not perfect. And the use of “Surplus Greetings” and “Surplus Regards”??? Is this from Google translate or what?
  5. Does it make sense? Besides someone giving away money, why wouldn’t a Euro Millions lottery pay out in Euros and not British Pounds? Maybe, I didn’t check into whether such a lottery even exists, but it just doesn’t smell right.

Here is the text of the SCAM Email

Surplus Greetings,

If you have received this email then you are one of the lucky fellow to
benefit from us.On behalf of my self and family i am happy to inform you that i and my wife Gillian have chosen you to be
one of our beneficiaries on our Euro Millions Jackpot win of L148m(One hundred and Forty Eight Millions Pounds)that held
last August.Based on the win we decided that just 25 people be selected for this
benefit,leaving each beneficiary with 1.5 million Great Britain Pounds each to better their lives because we cant enjoy it all
alone,as the win is for sharing.

This might appear strange but its a reality,so do get back to Adrian and Gillian  quickly via email at
{removed}

Surplus Regards,

Anna Segerman

    FOR
 Adrian and Gillian Bayford

So there you have it.

What To Do If You Get This SCAM Email

If you get this Scam email, do this:

  • Smile, because you’ve been warned about it
  • Delete it
  • Never think of it again. No, you did not miss out on 1.5 Million British Pounds

Best Regards,

PCRoger 🙂

DIY Hard Drive Data Recovery

Save Money Recovering Data

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Save Hundreds or Thousands on Data Recovery

The topic I get the most requests for help on, by far, is DIY hard drive data recovery. Now, if the hard drive is physically damaged, there is less chance you will recover data successfully without employing a professional service.

But in most cases only the operating system has crashed; maybe because of a few sectors on the hard drive going bad.

The good news is that in those cases you can normally recover your data easily, made even simpler with a very inexpensive adapter that is very handy to have around.

Vantec USB Hard Drive Adapter

The Vantec USB Hard Drive Adapter is very inexpensive and will allow you to connect an older IDE drive, whether from a laptop or desktop, or any newer SATA hard drive (again, laptop or desktop).

User Saved $299

While I hesitate to call this a testimonial due to FTC rules, that’s basically what it is, I guess.

A Facebook user contacted me through my fanpage and had this to say about her DIY data recovery experience:

Got the kit and am successfully moving data from a drive that [professional service, name removed] said was bad and wanted $299 to retreive data from. Ha!

I love hearing stories like that and I thanked her for getting back to me to let me know how she came out.

I have a few YouTube videos and even a “playlist” for data recovery.

Here is one of my videos with the most views. I cannot explain the number of dislikes other than that this is the internet and some people are that way. The likes outnumber it by around 8 or 9 to 1:

If you feel this adapter is the answer to your DIY hard drive data recovery need, you can grab it from Amazon here:

Vantec USB Hard Drive Adapter

If you have problems or need more help, head to my free support forum, link at the top of the page.

Protect Your Identity With LifeLock – Rare Coupon Deal

The more you do online – banking, credit cards, paying  utilities online – the more you are at risk of having your identity stolen or some other problem with your reputation.

LifeLock is the logical solution to the problem (because living offline just isn’t much of a choice anymore).

LifeLock does more to keep your identity safe.  And now, our LifeLock $1 Million Total Service Guarantee is available to residents of New York and the “failure in our service” limitation no longer applies to the Service Guarantee!

Today through November 30th, you can get a 30-Day Free Trial of Any LifeLock Service and 15% Off your final purchase.  This exclusive coupon allows customers to experience the benefits of LifeLock before committing to a monthly or annual subscription.

LifeLock doesn’t offer this kind of a coupon deal very often, and you have to click through THIS LINK to get the special deal.

PCTools HUGE Sale – 30% Off Coupon Codes

Limited Time PCTools Coupon Codes – Save Big

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Grab These Great Products At 30% Off!

PCTools (now part of Symantec) has a long established reputation in computer security, PC speed up, registry repair and the like.

I have not seen PCTools coupon codes in a long time and these expire at the end of October so get them while they are hot, as they say – (or valid, as I say)

PCTools is claiming this is the largest discount offered so far this year, but it is only for this month.

These products are a good value, in part, because they allow you to legally use the software on up to 3 PC’s!

Take a look at the list below and see if one of these programs could solve a computer problem for you:

Save 30% Off PC Tools Spyware Doctor (up to 3 PC’s). Offer ends 10/31. (This is very popular)

Save 30% Off PC Tools Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus. Offer ends 10/31.

Save 30% Off PC Tools Internet Security. Offer ends 10/31.

Save 30% Off PC Tools Registry Mechanic. Offer ends 10/31. (Very popular registry repair software)

30% Off PC Tools Performance Toolkit – Coupon Code – SUBSCRIPTION30. Offer ends 10/31.

If you use one of these coupon code links and save some money, please “like” our page and even post a comment below. I’ll try to get it approved right away.

New Acronis Coupon Codes – Home And Business


Acronis Coupon Codes
Brag time here. We were using Acronis products long before they were “mainstream”. Acronis True Image saved our butts more than once and was one of the few true values in PC software.

It has always been my mission to save clients and friends money, so here are some Acronis Coupons for both home and business to save you some money. Just because Obama, Bernanke and “Little Timmy” Geithner have fantastic incomes, benefits including lifelong pensions, honorariums and God knows what else, money is tight for you and me.

So save money on Acronis products with these Coupon Codes and links.

Use these end of summer coupons clear through Fall. Save money on software that will save you!

Acronis True Image Home N/A Buy One Get One Click Here
Acronis Disk Director 11 Home ASODD15 Save 15% Click Here
Acronis Migrate Easy 7.0 ASOME15 Save 15% Click Here
Acronis Recovery for MS SQL Server ASORSQL5 Save 5% Click Here
Acronis Recovery for Microsoft Exchange Enterprise ASOREX5 Save 5% Click Here
Acronis Recovery for Microsoft Exchange SBS ASOREXSBS5 Save 5% Click Here

Microsoft MBA – or – Life Under Ballmer

I was offered the use of this graphic and I just couldn’t refuse.

Too bad I didn’t short Microsoft stock and buy Apple – oh, well.

It’s like when someone opens a restaurant and then hires someone else to run it while they do other things. You can tell the difference.

We’ll see how Apple does now that Steve is gone for good.

Microsoft MBA: Over 30 Years of Innovation
Created by: MBAOnline.com

ChkDsk Cannot Open Volume – Video Shows Solution

How To Exclude Drive in MS Security Essentials

chkdsk cannot open volume
Could Be Your Antivirus

Here is a video I did in conjunction with a data recovery, drive repair issue with my laptop.

A lot of people run into the error message “ChkDsk cannot open volume for direct access”.

The problem could be your antivirus software has the drive locked since it is trying to either actively scan at the time or even just monitor for changes.

Some antivirus software make it easy to suspend operations or shutdown the program entirely (that can be both good and bad!); Microsoft Security Essentials does not make it easy.

Therefore I thought a video showing how to exclude a drive from MS Security Essentials might be worthwhile.

Here is the video:

I appreciate you “like”ing the video at YouTube if it helps you.

Recover Data After Blue Screen Of Death

Data Recovery Options Better With Mozy Backup

windows-bsod-recover-dataMy 8 year old laptop hard drive decided it was old and worthy of failure generating a Windows Blue Screen Of Death. Panic, right?

Well, a BSOD is a guaranteed inconvenience at least. Time is valuable.

Knowing, though, that one has backups is always a comfort, one that can prevent panic, pain and suffering.

I needed to both get my laptop up and running AND recover some files that were on the desktop. Note that my REAL data resides on servers, but that doesn’t mean there are items on a laptop or desktop that I don’t want to lose.

So..we back up everything!

Getting The Laptop Running Again

Restoring the laptop to working condition was easy since I had made an image of the hard drive with Acronis True Image when the laptop was setup and working. With a hard drive image, restoring is as easy as installing the new hard drive, booting with the Acronis CD and restoring the image from the USB hard drive.

But.. unless the image was very recently done, there are things you will be missing like programs installed (hope you kept those installation disks or files and registration keys! And.. any data that was created or changed since the hard drive image was made.

And the thing I have found in a couple of decades of computer consulting is that backups that don’t happen automatically seem to just not happen.

Sure, I had some clients who made backup part of their daily schedule and did a great job, but when was the last time you knew someone who made backing up their computer at home part of their daily routine? That’s what I thought.

Enter Mozy Online Backup

That’s why for my laptop I went ahead and installed Mozy Home online backup service so that I wouldn’t have to make computer backup part of my daily schedule; it just happens – every day – for me without my thinking about it.

In the case of my laptop, since most of my data is on my servers, the FREE 2GB Mozy account was all that I needed.

This gave me two options for restoring my data files onto my laptop:

  1. Restore from Mozy’s Website
  2. Recover the files, if possible, using my Vantec USB hard drive adapter (see below)

Note that the minute my laptop BSOD’d I picked up my Android Smartphone (Droid X), opened the Mozy App and restored the most recent file I had worked on to make sure it was there – and it was. The file opened in Quick Office Pro right on my phone. Nice.

Here is the video I did for OnlineBackupSpot:

Data Recovered From Failing Drive With Vantec Adapter

I have several YouTube videos already showing how to recover data files from a hard drive that will not boot Windows or came out of a failed USB external hard drive. I often get questions, though, about getting data off of a DEAD hard drive.

If the drive is dead, you will only get data – maybe – from an expensive data recovery service (hundreds or even thousands of dollars). If the drive spins up and the computer recognizes it, then a Vantec USB hard drive adapter is the easiest, most convenient way to connect it to a PC, explore and retrieve files. You can even do some drive diagnostics and repair.

Here are a couple of photos of the hard drive, one after being removed from the laptop and the other connected to the Vantec adapter. This is an older 2.5″ IDE style drive, but the adapter works with 3.5″ IDE and newer SATA also.

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Failing Hard Drive Removed From Laptop
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Laptop IDE HD Connected to Vantec USB Adapter

 

Process For Trouble Shooting Hard Drive

The laptop was running when the Blue Screen Of Death appeared. That could be from a program running and accessing the hard drive (such as the Mozy backup) or the Windows swap file could have become corrupted, maybe a Windows system file.

The result will often be a few scramble files at best.

First, reboot. If you have the option to boot into the recover console (like with XP), do so and run a “ChkDsk /p” to fix any file system errors. Unfortunately when I did this, I received a BSOD, unbootable disk error.

So my next step was to remove the hard drive (see photo above) and connect to my Eee PC with the Vantec USB HDD adapter. Windows XP on the Eee PC recognized the drive, assigned a drive letter and let me explore the hard drive.

If I had not already recovered the files I needed via Mozy restore, the FIRST thing you want to do at this point is grab your most important files FIRST, followed by everything else you want. Do NOT shut it off until this is done! You never know what will happen next time you try to access the drive.

Now, just for a double-to-be-sure, I did copy the desktop files I wanted from the damaged hard drive to the desktop of the Eee PC.

Diagnostic and Repair of Damaged Hard Drive

Naturally the most convenient thing would be to see if I could fix the hard drive and install it back in the laptop. So at this point I was ready to try a chkdsk on the drive. At first ChkDsk reported that it could not perform the operation on the volume with the error message “Cannot open volume for direct access”.

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MS Security Essentials Has Drive Locked

The culprit turned out to be my MS Security Essentials anti-virus, and since that does not have a convenient “unload” option, I did this short video showing how to exclude a drive from scanning in Microsoft Security Essentials. That did the trick and I was able to run ChkDsk.

Unfortunately, the damage on the drive was such that ChkDsk encountered an unexpected error and terminated without fixing anything. Time to replace the drive and trash it.

Since I already had multiple ways of recovering my files, and the drive gave me 8 years of service, things could be worse.

Do you think it’s time you backup with Mozy?