You see commercials for finallyfast.com all over the tv. Is this service worth it? I downloaded and ran the free scan. They search for the following: Registry Errors, Missing Windows Shortcuts, Missing Shared Files, Missing Application Paths, Missing Fonts, Missing Help Files, Invalid File Extensions, and Device Driver Errors. After the scan, you can select to have them fixed. Of course, it costs $29.95. NO mention of virus removal, so it looks like they can't help you if you're infected with a virus.
More often than not, these issues can be taken care of with some nice, free tools that are available online.
WATCH OUT - DON'T CLICK!
If you have something pop up on your computer saying you're infected with a virus & something like "click here to remove threats".... DON'T! Unless it's an anti-virus program YOU installed, it's most likely a virus itself. There's a Russian company that's been doing this for a while now. You click on "remove threats", and BOOM - you are infected big-time. AND you have to pay for it. It's a very, very bad thing, especially if you don't have all your files backed up.
That said, here are a few programs we've used and can recommend:
NOTE: We are not responsible for any problems, issues, lost files, etc, that occur after downloadking and using any of the following tools. Use at your own risk! (Don't you just love legal disclaimers?)
This a great first step to take. If you don't already have this installed, go to their site, download, and run this application. Note that if you can't download and run from the infected pc, you might want to refer to an article I found - www.myantispyware.com/2009/06/08/malwarebytes-wont-install-run-or-update-how-to-fix-it. Hopefully that article will help in getting this installed so you can run it. There are, of course, 2 versions available of malwarebytes - a free version & a full version. Personally, I've only used the free version, which does wonders. The full version's probably even better.
After running Malwarebyte's (above), this is probably the next step I'd take. As above, I've only tried the free version, which worked well.
EUsing Registry Cleaner
Registry cleaners are used for removing ore repairing registry files on your computer. If you've been infected with some sort of malware, chances are there are some registry files that should be removed. Cleaning these up can help your pc boot time. Wikipedia discusses the pros and cons of registry cleaners at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Registry_cleaner. A good read.
Windows Defender protects against pop-up ads and security threats (caused by spyware - see below) by finding and removing known spyware from your computer.
Spybot Search & Destroy
Spybot - Search & Destroy can detect and remove spyware from your computer. Spyware is becoming a common annoyance - silently tracking your internet surfing in order to create a marketing profile of you that will be sold for advertising purposes. (free, but they accept donations)
I've had as much success with this FREE anti-virus software as I've had with Norton of McAffee (I take that back... I've actually had a little more success). They provide a free version for home pc users. All you need to do is register & renew your registration key once a year. Great tool.
If you download & run all of these (making sure to have all updates installed PRIOR to running the software), your problems will most likely be fixed. If not, call a professional pc repairman, or ask us about it (we know of several good ones).
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