Solved Cleaning and protecting laptop running Vista

December 20, 2012 at 18:25:25
Specs: Vista, Home Premium, SP2/ 64-bit, Intel Core2 Duo, T5800 @ 2GHz/ 4G RAM

My son has a couple of laptops, one of which is located in the living room, in front of the bigscreen TV, so that any of us can use it to go online, or whatever.

He's a young, idealistic guy, who doesn't like anything on his computer that slows it down. As a result of this care-free attitude, he eschews anti-virus programs, and even rarely, if ever, does Windows updates. He, however, has given me permission to spend time securing his computer, as long as I don't install something that has "realtime protection", which he feels will slow things down.

He has also told me that he's fine with updates and such, as long as the above rule is not broken.

So, I just downloaded and installed 17 Windows Updates, to bring that up to date.

Now, I'm looking at his "Security Center" (He's using Vista), and seeing that the only thing that is active is "Windows Defender". I'm not sure yet what that does. I'll have to look it up.

We are using a wireless router, and sharing the network between two or three computers here.

What about MSE? Will that conflict with Defender? Are they both antivirus programs?

My plan of attack? Since I've done the Windows Updates, I think next I'll begin using some of the tools I was introduced to in another thread here.

I'll firstly install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, and use it.

Then, perhaps, MSE, and another scan.

Then, AdwCleaner, and another scan.

Then, perhaps, ESET, and do a scan.

Not experiencing any particular problems, except perhaps a bit of slowness at times, I'm hesitant to go further than these, unless I know something is amiss.

Opinions?

I'm just trying, here, to strengthen what I consider to be the weakest link in our LAN security, and preserve the health of his laptop, for the good of all, my wife included. She spends most of the time on this laptop, immersed for hours at a time in Facebook and Pinterest, "liking" and "pinning" things 'til the cows come home.

P.S.,,

I just downloaded and double clicked on the setup file for SIW (recommended by OTHill), in order to get a look at his system, but can't find where it installed to. I'm thinking maybe it didn't install, since I can't find it in 'add-remove programs' or doing a search. He might have this set up for admin only.?

Requesting help. TIA.

Also, I noticed that when I tried to update the system info on this post, for HIS system, it didn't "take". It's still showing MY system, upstairs.


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✔ Best Answer
December 24, 2012 at 14:08:57

"immersed for hours at a time in Facebook and Pinterest"

I've never heard of Pinterest but I've cleaned several computers that have become infected due to the use (or abuse) of Facebook. Regardless of what your son says, you should have realtime protection, but you're not helping yourself by adding several AV programs. Are you at least running the scans from safe mode?

If you haven't already done so, install CCleaner-Slim & use it regularly, both the Cleaner & the Registry scanner. Remove everything they find. Also use Tools > Startup (or MSCONFIG) to manage your startup apps. You should have very few programs loading at startup. Out of curiousity, how many processes do you have running? Press Ctrl-Alt-Del, start Task Manager, click the Processes tab, then look at the lower left. For comparison, I have 45.

NOTE: apparently there is no CCleaner-Slim v3.26, so just install the main version & pay attention during the setup process. Do NOT allow any additional software to install, especially not Google Chrome or any toolbars. If you're already running Chrome, you should seriously reconsider.

http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/bu...

http://www.netsquirrel.com/msconfig...

Another thing you can do to boost performance is turn off indexing. Doing this alone will make a significant performance difference. Black Viper has several other tweaks for Vista you might want to consider:

http://www.blackviper.com/2007/04/1...



#1
December 20, 2012 at 19:03:54

Okay,,I found something called "system information", which seems to be a part of Vista. Here's his system, at a glance:


http://i.imgur.com/rYORw.gif

(however, I now see that his system is indeed reflected in the information here, at the top of this thread, under "W2000user". must have been a delay)


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#2
December 20, 2012 at 21:57:48

Windows defender is a malware scanner built into vista. MSE is an anti virus product by microsoft, installing it would violate the "real time installation" agreement, unless you plan on uninstalling after scanning. If I were going to install one I prefer Avast free. If you click the start menu and then the User name (top right usually), it will bring up the users folders click on "downloads" and you should find your missing download. The malwarebytes and Eset scans would get most things.

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#3
December 20, 2012 at 22:16:31

In MSE, you can disable the realtime protection, though it is discouraged, for obvious reasons. I had Avast on my computer. I liked it, but due to some suggestions in another thread, I uninstalled it, installing MSE instead. Both allow for the disabling of realtime protection.

He just wants me to make sure nothing is eating up resources while he navigates around, feeding his "download habit" and watching "film noir".

"Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."

Can't have buffering issues when Bogie and Bergman are up, doin' their thing.

but it's foolish, in my opinion, for my son to leave his computer in the hands of his mother while he avoids "realtime protection". She's a compulsive, curious, and not too discriminating clicker.


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Related Solutions

#4
December 21, 2012 at 05:52:30

Windows Defender is an old product which MSE effectively replaces.

As an aside, did you know that if you type MRT.exe in Search, or make a shortcut to C:\WINDOWS\system32\MRT.exe there is an MS Malicious Software Remover that is kept up-to-date through Windows Updates?

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#5
December 21, 2012 at 06:36:05

"As an aside, did you know that if you type MRT.exe in Search, or make a shortcut to C:\WINDOWS\system32\MRT.exe there is an MS Malicious Software Remover that is kept up-to-date through Windows Updates?"

Thanks for that. I'll have to look at it now.

I just ran a scan with ESET and it showed 9 "threats", including some that were deemed "multiple threats". ESET quarantined and deleted, at my request, all but one, which is called "Vista Codec Package.msi . It said "unable to clean", for that one.

Also, I noticed that a couple of the "threats" were exe files I downloaded today, that were allegedly installation files for AdwCleaner, the anti-adware proggie.

I hope I didn't act too suddenly by simply choosing to delete the offenders before I took a look at them in quarantine. I might have noticed things about them that would have indicated that perhaps they were false positives. Also, I have no idea what may not work now, if those files are gone.

I'm learning, mostly learning not to rush into things.

I ran a scan earlier, a quick scan with MBAM and it showed up one offender. I think it was "funmoods" peeking in at me again, from some unknown location.

This is getting more fun. However, I had a scare when the first reboot after choosing to delete and restart from the ESET scan, the computer wouldn't boot. I had to push the on-off button to shut down, and restart. But this time, it finally booted up.

This is the logfile from ESET:

http://i.imgur.com/45Vdu.gif


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#6
December 24, 2012 at 14:08:57
✔ Best Answer

"immersed for hours at a time in Facebook and Pinterest"

I've never heard of Pinterest but I've cleaned several computers that have become infected due to the use (or abuse) of Facebook. Regardless of what your son says, you should have realtime protection, but you're not helping yourself by adding several AV programs. Are you at least running the scans from safe mode?

If you haven't already done so, install CCleaner-Slim & use it regularly, both the Cleaner & the Registry scanner. Remove everything they find. Also use Tools > Startup (or MSCONFIG) to manage your startup apps. You should have very few programs loading at startup. Out of curiousity, how many processes do you have running? Press Ctrl-Alt-Del, start Task Manager, click the Processes tab, then look at the lower left. For comparison, I have 45.

NOTE: apparently there is no CCleaner-Slim v3.26, so just install the main version & pay attention during the setup process. Do NOT allow any additional software to install, especially not Google Chrome or any toolbars. If you're already running Chrome, you should seriously reconsider.

http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/bu...

http://www.netsquirrel.com/msconfig...

Another thing you can do to boost performance is turn off indexing. Doing this alone will make a significant performance difference. Black Viper has several other tweaks for Vista you might want to consider:

http://www.blackviper.com/2007/04/1...


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#7
December 24, 2012 at 17:42:33

Good advice. Thanks.

I'll respond later. Right now I'm on my own computer, and my son's (the laptop in question) is downstairs, so I'll go downstairs later tonight and pursue these items of interest.

Not familiar with "indexing", but I'll find out.

Regrettably, my wife is dumb as a stick when it comes to computers and the internet, so she's the weak link as far as security is concerned, but over time, we've at least got her avoiding email scams, .exe files, etc. I think she even senses when she's done something wrong (careless curiosity clicks,,).

But what bothers me more is our son's casual attitude toward that laptop. He says he "doesn't care" about it (since his mom has practically taken over ownership of it, being that she spends most of her time on it). But he did thank me for running the ESET scan, and getting the Windows Updates. He's just so busy with college, jobs, and teaching guitar, that he really doesn't have time to do the "housework".

I think he'll come around, as long as I keep finding infections. I don't think he realizes the seriousness of having someone else snooping on his computer, potentially. Mostly, I just hope no one takes advantage of his carelessness to steal an identity or gain access to private info.


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#8
January 3, 2013 at 17:08:50

"Regrettably, my wife is dumb as a stick...so she's the weak link as far as security is concerned"

Then it's high-time she becomes educated in the dangers of the internet:

http://www.atg.wa.gov/InternetSafet...

"But what bothers me more is our son's casual attitude toward that laptop. He says he "doesn't care" about it..."

Then make him pay for whatever harm comes to it (including replacement if necessary). Few things get peoples' attention like hitting the pocketbook hard...

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."


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