Cleaning out computer

Lately, I’ve been called to clean out a few systems, from spyware, viruses (virii), internal dust, etc. Luckily, the majority of them has access to a broadband connection. What about the times where there isn’t a broadband connection?

I use a guide that goes through the steps on how to remove spyware. One requirement is that you need to be able to run an online virus scan. Even though I have a router at home, another friend had borrowed my network cable – so I couldn’t do that.

I have a rewritable CD of the programs I’m supposed to download from the guide above. But I need an alternative to a full blown antivirus scanner, perhaps that could be bootable to CD. At least, in the rare case where I don’t have Internet access like this.

It’s kind of frustrating right now. I’m doing the best I can with it, using what I have. However, the system is already about 5 years old, so they’re going to end up getting a new system through me.

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Bryan Villarin

Bryan is a Trust & Safety Wrangler at Automattic. He's also a photographer, card magician, and cat whisperer. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Steve Blythe for the sweet photo!)

5 thoughts on “Cleaning out computer”

  1. In the past I’ve used a Knoppix (bootable linux distro with virus scanner and a hundred other usefull tools) cd to scan Windows systems for viri with ClamAV , in cases where I’ve considered it too “dangerous” to boot the windows system back up -or in cases where a virus tries to detect the insatllation/use of a virus scanner and kill it.

    Thankfully I now use Linux or Macs exclusivley for home/work, but every now and then I have to help friends and family out with virus/spyware removal on their creaky Windows XP systems. I try to teach them to regulary use their anit-virus and spyware scanners and to never disable the firewall I have put on for them. Of course that doesn’t always work/they don’t always heed my advice 😉

    The biggest favourable impact I’ve found, is to teach them -whenever possible- not to use Internet Explorer as it is still vunerable. That, and not to download and install random “freeware” off the internet, without first checking it’s credentials.

    It’s a real shame they don’t teach this in schools really, and especially in IT evening classes for adults -and least I don’t think they do, or are they finally catching up now?


  2. Dude, thanks for taking the time to type all that out. I really appreciate it.

    Do you have any links to explain how to use Knoppix and ClamAV to scan a Windows system?

    I hope the high school people in their computer classes learn some of this. I know the high school I go to didn’t when I was there (graduated in 2000). Perhaps I should visit sometime and explain about all this stuff. 😆 I’m sure it’ll be somewhat of a nice break from learning how to make Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations, and so on. 🙂


  3. Ok, i’m having a quck delve round my bookmarks. Try these few out for size:-

    This link is good for a step-by-step guide to general rescue issues with knoppix:

    For virus-scanning (note, this actually relates to using f-prot, which is really a better solution for scanning windows machines):

    A more complicated scan:

    The book “Knoppix Hacks” includes a chapter on scanning Windows machines for viri. Though I haven’t read this book, a sample hack (just the one you want) is available in PDF format here:

    Click to access hack78.pdf

    Plus more sample hacks from the book here:

    Good luck!


  4. Did that last comment get through? I fear The Spaminator may have swallowed it due to the links. If that’s the case, email me and I’ll send you them that way!


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