Friday, March 14, 2014

XP Users: Clean House

25 or so days to go! Ain't this fun? I can't wait.

Getting rid of the clutter on your Windows XP machine is always a good idea.The detritus left behind by your browser and other programs that you run can really slow down your machine and those folders where this junk is kept can be a good hiding place for a virus or piece of malware.

Quite a few years ago I somehow learned about a free software product called Crap Cleaner. I was quite impressed by it and began to use it regularly, like once a week or so. In time it became very popular and the owner renamed it CCleaner.

Although there are other such cleaners available, even for free, my feeling is that this is the best and it is the only one I use. It is a very simple to use program and it is very fast, and of course it is free.I like free!

If you don't have CCleaner installed on your machine, you can get it at, my favorite place for downloading software. The best part about Filehippo is that they give you the product you want without all of the extra junk that is sometimes included when you download from other sites. So always check with first, and if they have what you want, download it there. As with other programs, you can search for CCleaner, but I notice today that it is number 1 on their list of popular software, so no search is necessary.

Download it, install it, and run it weekly to keep your system clean of the "crap" left behind by almost all programs. In use take a look at the list of things it deletes. You may be surprised by the total size of the deleted files and also from whence they come. My favorite browser, Firefox, is one of the biggest culprits, allowing its cache to get quite out of hand if you ask me. The good news is that everytime you run CCleaner it will wipe clean the Firefox cache.

Although CCleaner can be run in one step, I prefer to run it in 2 steps, Analyze and then Run Cleaner.

There is one piece of bad news. You may be erasing some saved pieces of data like your userid or password for some applications, so don't be surprised if you are asked to enter them the next time you visit their web site. It goes without saying that a user is expected to know his or her userids and passwords anyway! Right?.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

XP Users: Checking for and removing malware

As stated earlier, work on your anti-virus program over these last days before 4/8. Update it and be sure to run several full scans.

Additionally, I strongly urge you all to download, install, update with the latest definitions available, and run FULL scans with several malware detection and removal programs. There are many programs in this category. Many are free and many charge a fee. I have always preferred the former, being a cheapskate! :-)

Those of you who have followed this blog for some time know that I like Malwarebytes, Superantispyware, and Spybot. If you do not have these 3 free programs, and want to get them, the best place to get them IMHO is Filehippo,

Once at the web site, simply go to the top of the page to their search window and search for, one at a time, Malwarebytes, and when the results appear click on the DOWNLOAD button. Then Superantispyware, and click on the download button. In these 2 cases you will be getting the latest version, and that is good. For Spybot, it's a little different, mostly because I have never liked their version 2.x products and prefer and recommend their Version 1.6.2. (Go ahead and get the latest version if that makes you happier.)  Again, at the Filehippo web site, search for Spybot. When you get the results page from the search, do not click on the Download button. Over to the right, under the Old Versions list click on View More. Then keep scrolling down (next page too) until you find Spybot Version 1.6.2. Click on that and then on the next page click on Download. Download and install it and update it and any of the others you have downloaded from above.

I like these 3 because, at least this was true when I first decided on them, they come from different personnel teams, working for differest companies, and they are/were located in 3 different countries. This is/was important to me because I figured each team had different outlooks, different levels of knowledge of what was going on outside of their walls, and they had different sources of information. I figured 3 was a good number to provide these advantages, as I saw them, but feel free to use more than 3 if you wish.

I have been proven right on my beliefs listed above when I run all three on a heavily-infected customer machine and each one finds some malware and the items found are different, one product from another. Know what I mean? If not, please write me. There is a contact form on my web site.

If you are new to these products you may find some difficulty in installing, updating, and running full scans with all 3, but that is just what you must do. On subsequent scans you must do an update to get their latest lists of the bad guys from them, before you run your full scan.

As April 8 approaches, be sure to update and run full scans with each of the 3. A full sacn with any one product may take more than an hour, so please allow yourself a few days to do this, like maybe April 4, 5, & 6. Then on the 7th be sure to run a Windows Update and do a full scan with your anti-virus on the 7th and on the 8th and on the 9th.

Why go through all of this? It is all good insurance at a very low price - your time. The actual running of the scans can be unattended, so your time is minimal.

Let me hear from you if you have concerns.