You’re Going to Die

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A Black-masked Hacker Breaking into a Computer

Hacker typing "You're going to die, Jim."

A client was online. She was typing away on an email. Then her computer blue-screened. A message appeared across the screen, “You’re going to die, Jim.”

So immediately her husband called our shop (Ducktoes Computer Repair Shop) and told the tech Jody what had happened. “Awesome,” Jody said.

“There are two Jims in this house,” the husband continued.

“Even more awesome,”  Jody said.

“Not to her, since the Jims are her ten-year-old son and 86-year-old father.”

“I can see that,” Jody said.

The next day, the man brought the computer in and told me the same story. “Cool,” I said.

He told me how Jody had said, “Awesome.” Then he laughed and said, “What is it about Jody and you that you like this?”

I laughed. “Because we’re weird?”

He laughed again. He mentioned the two Jims in the household. “Not so cool,” I said.

We did virus and spyware removal on the computer. It did have some malware and spyware, a password tracker among others. We decided the computer had been hacked.

But then at home later in the week, my husband said this error message appeared on his screen: “He’s dead, Jim.” My husband worried he had a virus. Noting the similarity to what had happened to the woman, I googled the phrase.

And in my next post I’ll tell you what I found out.

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How to Remove Spyware and Viruses Manually with Process Explorer

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Here’s a wonderful training video on how to use Process Explorer to remove viruses manually. It’s more for computer technicians than regular computer users, but I’ve found it helpful in removing the more difficult viruses.

You’ll find out how to use the Process Explorer and other Sysinternals tools to identify malware infections, from standard spyware to kernel-mode rootkits, and clean them off your computer.

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How to Uninstall Mcafee When it won't Uninstall

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I’ve had to uninstall Mcafee Anti-virus products several times in the last week or so. People have let their licenses expire but that doesn’t keep the the anti-virus from running in the background and using up tons of resources. And when I try to remove it the usual way, by going to Start>Control Panel>Add and Remove Programs, it won’t uninstall. One older laptop computer I fixed in the last week had both expired Mcafee and Norton running, neither of which would uninstall. The poor computer was quite beleagured. And running very sloooo-ow.

So what I did was to go to the Mcafee site and search for their uninstall program. It works quite nicely, thank you very much.

Here it is

Follow Step 2, if you’ve tried Step 1 already.

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Hints for Techies – Take the Computer to the Lab

There’s no way a tech can remove and clean up all the spyware on a badly infected machine in just a couple of hours. So, if you remove the spyware on-site, you end up having to charge a lot to remove a little. It’s better to take the machine “to the lab,” and run and apply all your removal and clean up strategies. Since then you can also do other things, like write your blog, or change out someone’s video card, while you are running everything, you can afford to charge for just a couple of hours of labor, while you work on the computer for 12 or 15 or more. Also the client doesn’t end up paying a huge amount to have spyware removed. Once you have the computer “at the lab”, do your magic. If you want suggestions on what to do follow my anti-spyware guide and then speed up your client’s computer while you’re at it, by following the suggestions here on the Ducktoes Tutorial.

The only difficulty is with clients who don’t want you to remove their infected computer. Then you have to do the best job you can within a short amount of time. I recommend installing Spyware Doctor and run it. Click the below ad.

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Task Manager is not a To Do List

Polly is one of my favorite clients. Whenever I go to her house or office she serves the tastiest gourmet coffee and chocolates. And she is appreciative, worrying aloud that I’ll be snapped up by an offer I can’t refuse, as her last computer tech was, and no longer be available to fix her computers. No computer dummy herself, she’s a whiz at databases and spreadsheets. She made a spreadsheet that tells how many days until her nieces’, nephews’ and friends’ birthdays. Her gardening database lists all her favorite seeds, where to buy them, and when and where in her yard to plant them.

This week I showed her the Task Manager and she became excited. Pleased at her interest, I showed her how to hold down the ctrl-alt-del keys simultaneously and after Task Manager came up what was available on each tab. “On the applications tab,” I told her, “all the software programs that are running, such as Word or Internet Explorer are listed. On the Processes tab, the processes running in the background are displayed.”

Polly sniffed. “I was hoping for a program that makes a to do list,” she said.

“This is better than a to do list,” I said. “If your Word program freezes you can force Word to quit, so you don’t have to turn off the whole computer. You just press ctrl-alt- del and select the program and voila, Word quits.”

Polly raised an eyebrow. She went into the kitchen and came back with the coffee pot. She poured more into my cup. “That’s why I hire you,” she said. “You really like the stupid, boring stuff that makes computers work.”

The next week when I went to her office to install a new computer, she showed me her new To Do List spreadsheet she’d made. But when her old computer froze she pressed ctrl-alt-del and forced quit Internet Explorer. “I do learn from you,” she said. “But all that stuff still bores me silly.”

As far as spyware is concerned, sometimes you have to go into Task Manager processes and stop a few of the bad processes to allow the anti-spyware and anti-virus software to work effectively. To learn what processes are legitimate and what are caused by spyware, go to this website. Or else restart the computer and go into Safe Mode and run the anti-spyware from there.

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