Tuesday, September 21, 2004

When you get hijacked...

Your machine may be suffering the effects of a BHO or Browser Helper/Hijack Object which may conceal more troublesome malware as well.

The removal sequence is fairly lengthy but should work for most BHOs:

*** BHOs - Detection & Removal ***

FIRST: BACKUP YOUR REGISTRY & any important data - 'cause you just never know.

SECOND: In WinME and WINXP - TURN OFF SYSTEM RESTORE!

THIRD: Enable viewing all system and hidden files.

1) Obtain HijackThis & CWShredder.

Get the latest CWShredder and yet more info on parasites and hijackers, here or here.

2) Get a registry cleaner. I use EasyCleaner v2.0 or later by Toniarts.

3) If you have not already, download anti-spyware/malware software like AdAware & SpyBot.

4) Boot to Safe Mode.

5) Run Hijack This. If confident, perform the deletions on your own. If not comfortable, post your HJT log to an appropriate forum for help.

6) Run CWShredder. Check for updates before you do. Make sure you have v1.56.0.1 or later before you try to fix anything.

(If CWShredder and Hijack This won't run to completion, download and run CoolWWWSearch.SmartKiller and then go back to step 5.)

7) Repeat steps 5) and 6) until everything is removed.

8) Run anti-spyware if desired (Recommended): AdAware v6 or Adaware Pro SE v. 1.05 and Spybot Search & Destroy 1.3. Make sure you have the latest dat files updated for both programs before scanning anything. Some folks also use Bazooka Spyware Detector,

9) Now run the registry cleaner. I used EasyCleaner v2.0 (Windows Help bug fixed).

That should allow you to set your home page to whatever you want, speed up your machine and generally improve your life and disposition.

If that doesn't work (rare but possible) see discussion here or an entire forum devoted to this topic.

HTH

When I'm not doing important stuff like opining on thiser and thater, I'm generally charging people to do the stuff I've just told you how to do for free. As always, if by incompetently following these detailed and highly reliable instructions (or even if you follow them to the letter, in your dreams), your computer or the computer of your friend or loved one melts, blows up real good or transports you into another dimension, I disavow any and all responsibility. In other words, this works, but proceed at your own risk.

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