How to Remove Virus w32/ w32 Removal Tool

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I’ve removed viruses with W32 in their names, on hundreds of computers, and they’ve all been difficult to remove. W32 Fasec and W32-Patched kg are two of the most common and stubborn. Usually w32 are video codec or flash drive viruses. That means you got it from downloading a video codec or from an infected flash drive or stick. W32 means they are rootkits, embedded in the root in the system32 section of Windows, as the name w32 implies. They aggressively disarm anti-viruses and anti-spyware by not allowing the anti-malware to run even in Safe Mode.

I’ve been able to run Avast in Safe Mode to make the first inroad to removal. Then I zap them with Combofix and Malwarebytes. That usually does it.

I imagine most techs reformat the hard drives of the computers infected with this virus, since a repair install doesn’t remove it. Reformatting isn’t necessary and hard on the client (that means you). However if your tech insists, ask him or her to back up your data before reformatting. Then immediately install Malwarebytes and either AVG or AVAST on your clean install. If he won’t save your data, get a different tech and show him or her this post. You don’t have to lose everything, really, you don’t.

This is what I do with anything spyware or virus w32. The w32 action plan! The W32 Removal tool! Ta da. I boot into Safe Mode by tapping the F8 key as the computer boots up. You have to tap at the right point or else you’ll just boot back into the normal mode, so try again if that happens. You should get a black and white screen with several boot options. Pick Safe Mode with Networking. “With Networking” means your internet will work. (In regular plain old Safe Mode it doesn’t.) Then you’ll get a question about whether you really want to go into Safe Mode or if you want to use System Restore. Yes, you do want Safe Mode. While in Safe Mode go on the Internet. Type “” into the address bar.

This photo shows the address bar of the Firefox browser.
 Whatever browser you have, type "" into the address bar. Or click here. After downloading Avast, run it. It may ask you to do a boot scan. Say yes. Otherwise let it startup and you’ll get the funny silver-looking interface, which looks like a radio to me. Click the update button. The update button looks like Harry Potter’s scar or a lightening strike. After updating run Avast again. You may have to keep going back into Safe Mode.

After Avast runs and gets rid of some of the w32, then download and run ComboFix and Malwarebytes.

With ComboFix, just follow the prompts and ignore all the dire warnings about using it without a helper, I’ve used it hundreds of times without one bad incident. If you can’t disable your antivirus as ComboFix suggests or don’t know how to disable it (has anyone tried to disable Norton or Mcafee single-handedly? Good luck, they’re impossible to disable especially if you’re infected with a virus) just go ahead anyway. I do, all the time. Your computer is terminal anyway if you don’t use ComboFix at this point and it can only help. While Combofix runs it will install Recovery console, scan for viruses, reboot your computer and create a log file.

After ComboFix, use Malwarebytes. I find it easy to run. Install it, then go to the Update button, then to the Scan. Do a quick scan first. Then a full scan.

Now you’re safely on your way home from the dangerous wilds of the w32 wilderness. You’ve fought off the w32 beast!! You’re a Ducktoes hero. Your on your way home, your way home.

Let me know how it goes.

Ms. Da toes
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How to Remove Starware

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I removed Starware from a photographer’s computer this week. The computer was oppressively slow and Outlook was crashing a lot. My client couldn’t work efficiently, since the interruptions slowed down the work he could do in a day. He was sooo frustrated.

Starware took a tenacious hold of the operating system. It’d installed hundreds of registry keys, files, and applications. The apps were running in the background, making the compute insufferably slow. All for one harmless-looking toolbar.

If you must have a toolbar cluttering up your browser, use Google’s or Yahoo’s. And indeed, it seems you must have both of them, since they are omni-present, appearing out of nowhere onto your browser with one mindless click of the mouse. It’s hard not to have them, whether you want them or not. But I digress..

After removing Starware, the computer acted normally and Outlook worked again. The photographer could get on with his business.

Starware is a good name, since it was designed by someone much like a character out of Star Wars, not a hero like Hans Solo, but a Darth Vader who callously likes to muck up people’s lives and businesses by damaging their computers. Someone who’s sold out to the dark side.

To remove Starware, I used Malwarebytes. To download Malwarebytes, click here. Or go there by typing in your browser’s address bar. Be sure to update before you scan.

And take care out there.

Oh, baby, baby it’s a wild web.

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Spying on Spouses or Lovers with Keyloggers

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Sometimes computer repair jobs turn into something else. Sometimes Ms. Ducktoes is sitting quietly, concentrating on a computer and the client starts to talk, and before Ms. Ducktoes can say, “I think your hard drive is going bad,” she finds herself in the middle of a sensitive personal disclosure.

Other times people request services that Ms. Ducktoes doesn’t do. Like installing spyware.

Yesterday, Friday, a man called Ms. Ducktoes. I’ll call him Henry. Henry said he was worried about spyware on his computer. But when I arrived at his door, it turned out what Henry really wanted was a program that would secretly track everything done on his computer, all e-mail, all websites visited, all Instant Messenger chats. So he’d have a backup, he said.

I stared. “You want a keylogger for a backup?”

Henry, probably hearing the incredulity in my voice, turned pale. “What’s a keylogger?” he said.

“A keylogger is a type of spyware that records every keystroke typed on the keyboard and sometimes take screenshots of websites visited and e-mails viewed.”

He said, “Yes, that’s it, a keylogger.”

When I sat down in front of his computer, the screen displayed only one user: Naomi. “Who’s Naomi?” I asked.

“My wife. It’s her computer.”

“Does Naomi know you’re making a backup of everything she does on-line?”

His voice came out shaky. “Yes,” he said.

“Okay,” I said, “but. it can’t be secret. It has to give Naomi a warning the keylogger is recording her every keystroke.” I sat up straigher. “Otherwise it’s spyware.”

Henry raised his voice. “But I need to see what -.” He screwed up his face like he might cry.

“You need to see what she’s doing?”

He nodded and started to cry into his hands. “I think she’s seeing someone. Having an affair. She instant messages until late at night. She takes long lunches and is really distant. But she denies it so I need proof.”

I patted his shoulder. “Oh, I’m so sorry, Henry, but surely that’s not the best way.”

“I’m in so much pain,” he said.

“Yes, I’m sure you are. That’s a terrible thing to go through.”

He looked up, surprised.

“I’ve been down a road or two,” I said. “Or three. But can I tell you something I’ve learned from lots of counseling?”

Henry nodded.

“Spying isn’t going to relieve your pain or solve your problems. Spying just makes you a victim, too needy, too wrapped-up in Naomi’s activities, and too desperate. You need to do something positive, something for you. Something to raise yourself out of the emotional muck. Something to give you your dignity back.”

Henry nodded solemnly. “Like what?” he said.

“Well, you could exercise, and get buff, or take a class in something you like, or take a trip. Maybe get counseling.”

“I don’t feel like doing anything,” Henry said.

“No, probably not. But doing something fun or positive would relieve your obsession about your wife a bit. Would make you more attractive.”

“To Naomi?”

“To yourself. To heck with Naomi.”

He looked farway. “Maybe I’ll go skiing for the weekend. By myself.”

“Good idea,” I said. “Now give me some computer work to do.”


“Because I have to charge you my minimum charge anyway.”

So I took Henry’s own computer back to the shop and removed 259 spyware and viruses from it and really sped up its boot time. Then I called his cell. He didn’t answer but he did eventually call back from a hot tub in the mountains. His voice sounded quite serene. He said that his wife kept calling but he wasn’t returning her calls yet.

I know how tempting it can be to spy on your spouse’s or partner’s computer if they seem to be straying from you and the marriage. But its not an action that will help. If a marriage isn’t working for you don’t need spyware to act. Act from your own needs and desires. Do something to enhance your interest and joy in life and the world. Something positive and life-affirming. Your new outlook will be attractive to others.

You don’t need to buy spyware to save your marriage. An alternative might be the wonderful newsletter from the “Keep your Marriage” website. I’ve found it quite helpful and interesting. Their book was good too. It really helped me in making it through a bad time in my marriage and life.

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Missing Screensaver Tab


If, after you’ve removed viruses or spyware, (especially after a bout of Windows XP Anti-Virus 2008 or 2009) you’re missing the Screensaver tab from the Display Properties of your computer’s Control Panel, then here is the fix. Download it here:…

Run it and when it asks if you want to add information to the registry click Yes.

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Six people have come to this site in the last two days looking for help with Win32 Another reader told me that Spybot cured the same malware on his computer after Spybot’s March 26 update which included the “browser helper object” in its definitions. I’d love to hear what the specific symptoms of this trojan are like on your computer. It would be great if you’d tell me about your experience. Thanks so much. And try downloading Spy bot and see if it gets rid of your Win32 We need to find something that works for people. I got rid of it on an infected computer but used several anti-spyware and am not sure of which one finally did it.


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