Desktop – Virus Removal

It’s nice to work on a desktop machine for a change, it’s even nicer to work on one in York. Any excuse to come back and visit is a good excuse. I tied the repair in with a trip to Richer Sounds to swap out my LG 3D glasses which weren’t working right, fantastic service as per usual from them, if you need a tv, go there. I’ll be posting up some bits and bobs on TVs, lighting and Bluray players soon.

Back to the computer. It was booting up and then immediately loading a “virus scanner” which would detect 37 viruses. It would then ask for payment to register it and clean the viruses. I’d seen this one before, the virus scanner itself is the virus. When launched it then prevents any executable file from loading, so you can’t launch task manager to quit, you can’t launch an anti-virus program to remove it. It’s pretty sly.

Booting in to safe mode allows access to the computer though, and running msconfig allows me to disable all suspicious looking programs and services from booting on start-up… yet still this didn’t work (it normally does). Running Malwarebytes removes a few other nasty bits and pieces from the computer but also doesn’t fix the main issue. This one’s an awkward one.

Time to get a little more aggressive in the removal, let’s give combofix a go. Combofix is fantastic, I’d only recommend it if you have a good idea of what you’re doing (unlike Malwarebytes which is really friendly) but it’s a very powerful virus/malware remover. It can take a while to run, in this instance about 20 minutes, but it nearly always does the job. And true to form, after running combofix the virus is no longer booting. However the computer is completely unprotected. Microsoft Security Essentials was on previously (I wouldn’t recommend it) but it seems it wasn’t installed properly. Initially I tried installing Avast (I flip between preferring this and AVG as free anti-virus software) but it had issues integrating with the Windows Security Centre, presumably due to the incorrectly installed Microsoft Security Essentials.

So I wiped Avast, then made sure there was no trace of MS security essentials and finally downloaded AVG. This installed correctly and the computer was back to normal and fully protected. All in all it took about an hour and a half (including fiddling with the printer, but that just needed cleaning).

My Fee: £15
Parts: £0

Total: £15

(though they paid me £20, which was very kind)

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