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Windows 7 « ZolexPC Blog About Us - Remote Computer Support & Help | Zolex PC
23Aug/10Off

Viruses That Attack and Disable Antivirus Software

It is quite common to see infected PC's that have their antivirus software disabled by a virus.     The creators of viruses/malware are aware of many of the tools and software used to protect your PC against infections.  The creators of viruses/malware  can specifically write their virus to disable your Antivirus software and others.  Viruses can also disable programs or tools that you may use to remove the infections.     New variants and versions are released everyday on the internet thereby causing a delay as to when Antivirus software and other tools can be updated to combat the latest infections.    In some cases you may even have to do a manual removal of the infection in order to use some of your tools.

I had two customers this weekend, one was Windows 7 with Norton (updated subscription) and the other had AVG Free 9.0.    The Windows 7 machine only had a small infection but it did disable internet connectivity and kept Norton from updating.    The 2nd machine was Windows XP and had a very nasty rootkit on it.  AVG listed itself as running but no components were active or recognized.  The infection had completely disabled AVG.     Even after the infection was removed, AVG still needed to be reinstalled.   When your Antivirus software is disabled it is no longer doing it's job.   In this case once the shield is down, your computer is open and exposed to many other infections on the internet.

It is very easy for creators of viruses and malware to disable your Security Software.   The key is to try to protect yourself before the virus gets you.   What you can do is be wary of email attachments and keep your software updated (Windows, Java, Adobe Flash or other Adobe products, Antivirus & Antispyware, and other software).   These updates are released to fix bugs and exploits in the software and you need them up to date.    Be careful what sites you navigate to.  Watch out for suspicious videos or postings on Facebook and use complex passwords.  Remember if you are not sure don't Click it.

Once a virus is allowed in your system it can easily disable your protection and many other things.   This is why you should try to remove the infection as quickly as possible.  If you cannot do it on your own, then consult a professional.     The longer the infection(s) reside on your PC, the more damage they can do and the more doors they can open to other infections.    Some of these infections can be very nasty and result in data loss or data theft.

As the viruses get more and more advanced, the tools and security software will try to keep up with them but there will always be gaps.  You as the user must do your part in order to reduce your chances of becoming infected.     Viruses that can disable your Security Software can just as easily steal your passwords or other personal information.   It all depends on what the viruses goal is.    Watch for signs of infection and take care of it as quickly as possible.  If you do get an infection that you cannot remove, you can always count on ZolexPC to remove them for you.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

15Jul/10Off

Install Those Windows Updates

I had customer last night who was experiencing issues with a few websites not working correctly.  Some of the pages would not display correctly or just give a white screen.      Sometimes this can be the sign that you may have an infection.  With a quick examination, it was determined the PC was infection free.    Norton Security was installed,updated and current on it's subscription status.  As a test to determine if it was Internet Explorer that was the problem or something else, I installed Firefox.  The websites worked fine in Firefox so I had narrowed it down to something with Internet Explorer.  I also noticed the Windows Update Icon was showing with updates ready to be installed.   I clicked on the Windows update icon and discovered that this Vista machine had not been updated in quite some time.    The update was Service Pack 1 for Vista which came out over 1 year ago.   I then checked the version of Internet Explorer that she was using and discovered it was Internet Explorer 8 BETA.  These two factors would explain why the viewing of the websites was not working.

Beta versions are test versions-this means that they are not official releases and may contain bugs or things that do not work.  In this case some of the functions of the websites the customer was looking at were not supported by this Beta of IE 8.   Do not install Beta versions of Software unless you plan on testing it out and do not care about software with bugs in it.  When Beta testing is complete a finished product is released.

Simple solution to this problem was to download all Windows Updates and Voila, the websites were now working.  Install those Windows Updates when Prompted. If you are using XP and see the Yellow Shield Icon click on it and Install those Updates.  For Vista and Windows 7, the icon will be Blue Rectangle with an orange line around it.  Be sure to click on these and install those updates.  The updates are vital to Windows not only for Security Fixes but also for Windows to run properly.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

19Apr/10Off

The Dreaded Looping of Windows

The Looping of Windows or Boot-Looping as it is sometimes called is a problem that can be related to a variety of issues.    It could be new hardware, a virus or other infection, a corrupted boot file, a bad sector on the hard drive itself.    Fixing the problem is sometimes very easy or could require a Repair or Full Install of the Operating System  (XP, Vista, Windows 7).

The first thing you should do is try to figure out what is causing the problem.   Were you infected with a virus before it happened?   Did you recently add a new piece of hardware such as a camera or other device to the PC?     Has your Hard Drive been making strange sounds?   Have you been getting any other strange or weird messages recently.   Your answers to these questions should help you diagnose the problem.

The first easy fixes to try are booting the machine into Safe Mode or Last Known Good Configuration.    To get to these options, Press the F8 key repeatedly when you first turn on the PC.  You have to be quick as you only get about 7-10 seconds at the most to do it.   When it works it will take you to a different menu called Windows Advanced Start Up Options.  (terminology will be different depending on your OS).  From this menu use the Arrow Keys on your keyboard to highlight Safe mode or Last known Good Config.     If the machine boots into Safe Mode but not normal mode, it could be the sign of an infection present.  It could also mean something that is causing the loop doesn't run in Safe Mode.  Safe mode runs a bare bones version of Windows, with minimal drivers.    If Last known Good Config works and you can get into Windows, you should immediately scan your machines for infections or errors.  Run  your Security Software and run a Chkdsk on Windows itself.    If your system continues to loop, you can check the easy fixes off of your list and move on to the more involved fixes.

The following fixes listed are probably for more technical savvy users as the average home user may find this a bit difficult to follow.   If you are not sure what you are doing after the easy fixes, Do Not Attempt these other fixes unless you are sure you know what you are doing.   This is something you don't want to try to do unless you are very confident in your skills.   Vista and Windows 7 have additional Repair features that are accessible on this screen as well.   Once you choose them, read very carefully or you could restore your system to the Factory Defaults wiping out everything.   Within the Repair features, there should a line for Start up Repair.   This is what you would want to try for Vista or Windows 7.      There are additional Options to run commands in Vista and Windows 7 via a Command Prompt.    Going into Command Prompt on Vista and Windows 7 , you want to run a ChkDsk on Windows, this can scan your system for errors that could be preventing Windows from starting normally.    Chkdsk /?  will give you additional options to use.    You will most likely use Chkdsk /f or Chkdsk /r (includes f).

For Windows XP users, you need to access Recovery Console via a Windows CD or have previously installed or downloaded it.    If you have the CD, insert the CD into your looping system and reboot it via the CD.  Some machines may need to be told to boot from a CD, so you may have to go into your Boot menu to change it.     When prompted choose to use Recovery Console to Repair your Computer.  Be very careful when making decisions in these screens.   Recovery Console will boot into a Command prompt style environment from which you can run commands such as Chkdsk /P.     If these additional fixes still fail to boot the machine properly, then you can try a few additional steps.

You can try to Restore the System to an earlier date by using System Restore.   You may lose some data from your last Restore point but it may fix the problem for you.   You may have to do a Repair install on Windows.   This will save your data but replace all of your Windows system files.    Some infections will target the Boot file or WinLogon file for Windows and modify it.  If you can access or replace these files via  a Command prompt, that may also get the system to boot normally.     Again these later fixes are not recommended for the average user.  If you are unsure of yourself then do not try to fix it as you could potentially wipe out everything on your PC.  There are some issues that are best left to the professionals.

Try the easy fixes first, Safe Mode, Last Known Good Configuration, or System Restore.    If those don't work for you it is probably best to contact a professional unless you are tech savvy enough.    Looping of Windows is a scary issue as there are multiple causes and multiple cures but they don't always work and it depends on what is causing the problem.   If it is mechanical or hardware failure there isn't much you can do except to try and get as much data as possible on the Drive before it goes Kaput.    Have a good Backup of your PC is essential and can prevent even disasters like the Looping of Windows from becoming a Worst Case Scenario.

If your PC is looping and the easy fixes won't work you can always call on the Pros at ZolexPC to get your PC up and running again.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

29Mar/10Off

Interesting Article on US Cities With Highest Risks for PC Infections and Scams

Today more than every, many businesses, shops, cafes, libraries and others all have Free Wi-Fi available for their patrons to use.    While a great convenience to many, this makes these cities likely targets for malicious software or scams.   As this study suggests, the targets are cities with relatively moderate incomes.   Nobody wants to scam somebody who doesn't have any money to begin with so why bother.    Cities that are more affluent are more likely to have a higher chance of success for a Paying Fake Anti-virus Software scam.   They have a wider pool of targets to hope for a bite.    Spamming email is one trick that seems to work.   People in these cities are more likely to do Online Shopping, or Online Banking.   They are up to date on the latest technological trends and tools.     The Cyber Criminals know this and use it to their advantage.

Read the entire article here.

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/03/22/cybercrime-small-town-problem

Cities and Businesses are going to continue this trend so what we must do as users or consumers is protect ourselves the best we can.   This means keeping your Security Software up to date and being very careful where you are surfing while on the Internet.   Watch out for oddities that don't usually happen.   These can be signs something may be amiss.    If you are suspicious, run your Security Software scans to ensure that you can take advantage of the technology and all it has to offer instead being a victim of it.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

24Mar/10Off

File Sharing Sites

This week, I have decided to take a little different approach to the usual blog.      I found an article on File Sharing sites and think it is a great article to share with our readers and everyone else.     I have covered this topic before but I feel this article by Ned Smith explains the risks associated with File Sharing in an easy and concise manner.   This articles explains the pitfalls of using File Sharing and tips for how to best manage it in your household.    I hope you enjoy it.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35893007/ns/technology_and_science-security

Be careful when using File Sharing Software as it is certainly an area well known to virus makers who take full advantage of unsuspecting users.

If you do get infected and can not remove it yourself or with your Security Software you can always call on ZolexPC to fix it for you.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com


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