Laptop Finally De-Wormed

So the laptop I was working on the last couple of days is done. I never got it done “in place” and without blowing away the system… a fter messing with the stupid thing for another hour last night I gave up. Running spyware doctor, then AdAware, then AVG, followed by all the same again and things were still showing up. Even when I was told by one tool or another that the box was clean, being redirected to a search site when I click on the AVG download link from google is a pretty good indication that something is wrong.

Interestingly enough the tool that I was pointed to (Spyware Doctor) is tagged as a moderate threat by ADAware due to practices of exaggerating malware reported to get the user to buy the full version. There’s an interesting article on spyware-doctor here. Not really sure who to believe, that’s why you need more than one spyware tool 🙂

Anyway, after that I pretty much gave up, and spent an hour or so getting a ghost image of it and then ensuring that the image was available (used the Ghost 8.3 and GhostExplorer in MiniPE for this) and then was up till 1:30 doing a full re-install. Luckily I got an XPSP2 CD from work so I didn’t have to do the XP2 install at least, still, it takes time to install, configure, install patches, reboot, install your anti-virus, anti-malware, new browser, new mail client, media player, etc.

The uncle-in-law is happy it’s done (well, I haven’t heard from him one way or the other yet to be honest), I’m happy it’s done. I think other than the time I spent on this, the thing that seems the most disturbing is that such a common OS (WinXPSP1) could get so completely messed up. Thankfully SP2 went a long way in helping this (firewall on by default, etc), and from what I’ve seen, Vista will go even farther. Unfortunately Vista is still a ways away from being readily available, and as the owner of this laptop is what I really consider the “average user”, no wonder the spambots are slowly drowning us all in spam.

All in all I now know the best way to deal with a virus ridden computer, and my uncle-in-law has his laptop back and will be a safer computer user in the future.

2 Comments on “Laptop Finally De-Wormed”

  1. I helped my brother with his computer. He had SP2 and all the latest security updates, but yet when going to, IE6 was redirecting him to somewhere else. Tried to cleanup but couldn’t. He somehow had Spyware Doctor installed too, which was useless. Ended up use Adaware & Spybot S&D to do cleanup, as well as upgrading to IE7. Going to IE7 disables all the browser addins…

  2. I tried SpyDoctor as well on someones computer yesterday. It found stuff Adwaware and Spybot didn’t, but it did include the paths to the files and registry entries these programs created. I nuked those and now the scans came up clean. Hopefully the registry entry changes and file deletions have fixed things….