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Answered plenty of threads about this. Might as well make a how to I guess.


Basically there's LOTS of different anti-virus programs out there and there are some differences.

1st you have programs that actively scan for any virus. This means they are always running in the backround and Norton anti-virus amung these is a resource hog. Basically these will slow your computer down because they steal system resources actively checking for nasty stuff on your computer. This is not to say they are bad or don't do their job but there are other ways of protection that will not steal as much resources. If you truely are computer illeterate use an active scanner.


2nd you have programs that manually scan for any virus. This means you have to run the program whenever you wish to do a scan. It does not always run in the backround, therefor your computer should run faster without it always scanning. The downside is this is not a proactive approach to preventing your computer from being infected. This is where my little solution comes in. Keep reading!

Now you have two basic types of firewalls.

Hardware firewalls are actually like a mini-server or dedicated computer that requests information to and from for your computer. Kind of like the bouncer or middleman to your computers front door. Something shows up that wasn't requested it doesn't get in.

Software firewalls act in a similar fashion but the main benefit is not to physically have a firewall. No running cables, or configuring IPs yada yada.
They both do basically the same job of preventing stuff from getting in/out that shouldn't be. A benefit from software firewalls is it can notify when something new trys accessing the internet (and vice verse). Basically giving you a red flag when you've caught something new. (no more wondering where you got it from!)

Stuff Happens.

Now there are loopholes. People's computers get infected all the time. People LET stuff get in. It piggybacks with something else. Clicking a pop-up. It gets in through a flaw in your webbrowser or OS, ect ect. There's many ways, and almost everyone gets something on their computer sooner or later. Even the cautious. It happens.

What I recommend:
Running Zonealarm will let you know when you have something by telling you it's trying to access the internet. Here you can stop it. Deny it permission and then go on to removing it! The plus is zonealarm uses very little resources compared to anti-virus programs as it only checks permissions. It's still a proactive aproach from preventing more from getting on your computer and also stopping possibly sensitive info from ever leaving your PC!


So your PC is infected? Now what??


The easiest way for me personally is:

Start and download Ad-aware SE. It's COMPLETELY FREE. $0.
http://www.download.com/3001-8022_4-10639408.html

Ad-aware SE is a manual virus scanner. It will notify when virus definitions are ready to be updated, and has a lot of scan options. It's very popular. It picks up a lot of common stuff and removes it easy but doesn't get everything always.

[update]
I've lost a little faith in Ad-aware. They still have a free version that works but I don't like it as much as since SE isn't supported anymore. A great alternative is SUPERantispyware. http://www.superantispyware.com/

If you have something really nasty that ad-aware se can't handle you may want to try hijackthis.

***FOR ADVANCED USERS. WARNING!!!***
You can remove beneficial and necessary items using Hijackthis. If you are unsure what a registry or process is I would highly advise you to search for it on google or the following sites:

http://www.processlibrary.com/
http://www.neuber.com/taskmanager/process/
http://www.liutilities.com/products/...rocesslibrary/
http://www.file.net/process/

Download Hijack this here: $0
http://www.majorgeeks.com/download3155.html

You can run Hijack this and do a 'scan and save log' this will simply (and quickly) scan your processes and registry and list everything and make a .txt log of the results.

Close the text file it's already saved. (you can post it for advice if you want someone else more knowledgible to give advice)

Then look at your results in Hijackthis.

This is where you will need to search the results if you're unsure about what something is and be positive you don't remove anything you don't want to.

When you find what's bad simply check all the things you want removed and then hit 'fix checked'

It will prompt you once to make sure you really want to remove them permenantly. Click Yes.

Presto. That should fix just about all malware/spyware/virus problems.

*SIDE NOTE!*
Some virus and other nasty stuff will interfere with anti-virus programs. Such as shutting down, crashing, freezing, ect.
Holding F8 when you start your computer will give you the option to start in SAFE MODE
. From here you can run your anti-virus programs hopefully with no problems.

Ad-aware SE should actually continue scanning immediatly if your computer turns off while scanning as well. It actually loads before windows finishes stoping a lot of infections from even running to interfere.

Hope this helps some people. I made the important steps bold for the lazy people who don't like to read (my wall of text
).

SURF SAFE!
 

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Good guide! Going to use some to help others. I'll bookmark and maybe guide them here
 
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