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Guide: Cleaning a crapped up Windows Install

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Guide to cleaning up your Windows install.
I decided It would be good idea to make a guide for cleaning up your computer or a friends computer. Almost everyone here on this forum is the tech support for family and friends and have to deal with some seriously slow and funky windows installs.

Heres my guide to get rid of all the crapware, viruses, malware, and other nasty or unneeded things.

Step 0: Download Firefox or Opera
Firefox and Opera are safer and more secure than Internet Explorer. Both browsers also have a lot more features and thousands of addons.

Step 1: End unneeded processes
Use the good old faithful Ctrl+alt+del combo and end any unneeded processes so you can make the system actually tolerable. End process that are not vital to your system like itunes, apple programs, office programs, java, program monitors, or program updaters. Check the Process Library if you are not sure.

Step 2: Run CCleaner and ATF-Cleaner

They both do basically the same thing, but I run both for good measure. They clean out program files, recycle bin, and other temp files.

Step 3: Remove Crapware
Remove any unneeded programs by going to the Add/Remove programs under the control panel. A lot of programs install extra programs called Crapware. These programs basically have no point and a lot of major PC vendors like to include a lot of Crapware. Get rid of it.

Step 4: Download Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
Run a quick scan, and remove all files that are infected. This will get rid of nasty malware, spyware, and adware.

Step 5: Get a 2nd Opinion

Run another malware scanner. My favorite is Ad-Aware 2008. Some other good free ones include A-Squared, Spybot S&D. It is a good idea to run multiple malware/adware/spyware scans because different scanners pickup different things. I would however not suggest running 2 scanners at the same exact time.

Step 6: Run a Virus Scanner

Download and update your favorite virus scanner. Currently my favorite is AVG, some other goods are Avast, and if you are willing to pay Nod32. Runa virus scan and heal any infected files. Unlike malware scanners it is NOT a good idea to run multiple anti-virus because this will create conflict problems.

Step 7: Hijackthis!

If your computer is still feeling a little slow run Hijackthis and submit a log to one of the forums.
How to use Hijackthis!
Forums
http://www.help2go.com/component/detective/
http://www.hijackthis.de/en

Step 8: Msconfig
Pick and choose what programs you want to load up when start windows. Be sure to checkout the ProcessLibrary if you are not sure about stopping a process.

Also if you have a multi core CPU you can make windows boot off more than one core. Under msconfig go to boot, then to advanced options and then put in the number of CPU cores you have. It will improve your boot times.

Step 9: Update Drivers

Update your video, chip set, and other drivers.

Step 10: Windows Update
Stop by windows update and get the latest patches.

Step 11: Run CCleaner and ATF-Cleaner again

Just cleaning up the temp files again

Step 12: Create a new system restore point.

Click Start Menu > Run > copy and paste
%SystemRoot%\\System32\
estore\
strui.exe

Step 13: Defrag your HDD
Either use the windows defragger or whatever you usually use.

Other Useful Information:

It is easier if you have all the files already download to a USB drive.

If your windows install still is not up to par trying using system restore.

Boot Troubles
If your windows install fails to boot try using the windows CD and repairing your install. If that fails you may want to try these commands under the recovery console.

fixboot
- writes a new partition boot sector to the system partition that you specify
fixmbr - writes a new master boot record to the hard disk drive that you specify
chkdsk - displays the file system integrity status of hard disks and floppy disk and can fix logical file system errors

If you are still having major problems it might be better to reinstall windows. Sometimes it is just better to nuke your windows and start over.

If you think their should be any changes or additions just tell me.
Edited by purdueman - 7/7/08 at 6:14pm
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Mr. Ivy
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post #2 of 19
Not bad. You could probably go into a little more depth in some of the steps to help newer users out, but all in all pretty good. Thanks for the guide .
post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by purdueman View Post
Step 0: Download Firefox or Opera
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Added some more Info.

Anyone else have a suggestion?
Mr. Ivy
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post #5 of 19
is smitfraudfix still usable? or have u found malwarebytes better?

and as for msconfig, if u know u definitely do not want the programs to ever load u could use regedit to delete them from startup

in regedit check the following folders for startup programs
HKCU\\Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion \\Run
or
HKLM\\Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion \\Run
Edited by Lightning_Scythe - 7/7/08 at 5:07pm
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post #6 of 19
Use services.msc not msconfig.

And as far as a guide, I would go a little more in depth, especially explaining what exactly each step is doing.
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post #7 of 19
Quote:
Heres my guide to get rid of all the crapware, viruses, malware, and other nasty or unneeded things.

Step 0: Download Firefox or Opera
Firefox and Opera are safer and more secure than Internet Explorer. They also have a lot more features and thousands of add ons. If you are still using Internet Explorer you shouldn't be.
You're kidding, right?
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post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElMikeTheMike View Post
You're kidding, right?
I think he put it in for a joke
post #9 of 19
Step 14: Reinstall windows

Thats was kind of a joke but seriously I have come by a lot of machines that just needed to be backed up and reloaded.
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post #10 of 19
lol it would take less time to reformat than to do all those steps
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