Below is a copy of an email I sent a friend yesterday in an attempt to help her deal with malware that she recently picked up on her computer. I’m including this because malware is the most common computer problem I see and really,
every computer owner needs to be familiar with this process and be running Spybot at least once a month,
and certainly anytime there’s reason to believe the computer has picked up some sort of malware. This could come in the form of unwanted popup windows, extreme slowdowns, or any other strange computer behavior, particularly when online.
So the first part of this process is the install itself, which is only done once. But the rest of it – from the update process to the immunization process – should all be done regularly.
Then, after I describe the Spybot process, I get into some other things to check – you don’t have to take things this far unless you have reason to believe you need to. I’ve included them as a reference for you in case you do ever want to get in and do a deeper check for malware which frequently comes in the the form of browser add-ons and extensions, or even regular programs that show up in the Installed Programs list.
If you have any questions about any part of this process just let me know and I’ll be happy to help or clarify anything.
So without further ado, here’s the email transcript, slightly modified for accuracy and readability:
The next thing I’d try is a Spybot scan. If you don’t already have Spybot installed, here’s the direct download link: https://www.fosshub.com/Spybot-Search-and-Destroy.html/spybot-2.4.exe
During the install process it might ask you if you want Spybot to take care of things automatically. Answer yes to that question. And if it asks you if you want to view dialog boxes, answer no (I think this happens later in the process). I can’t remember exactly how these are worded but you’ll see what I’m talking about. Everything else you can just blow past – the install is pretty straight forward.
Once installed, make sure you run the update until you have all green lights. Sometimes it will try to update but several files will fail and you’ll get a red light and it might say something like “some updates could not be downloaded”. Just hit update again. The very first time you do this it may take a while, just give it time. If it hasn’t completed within an hour or two, just exit the program and go back in and try again. For some reason, this first update has been taking a super long time the last few times I’ve done it. Next time though, the update should only take a few minutes – it’s just this first time that’s a killer. Once you have only green lights and no red lights, the update is complete.