Feature
News
1/6/2006
02:57 PM
Dave Methvin
Dave Methvin
Features
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Anti-Spyware Strategies, Part 1:
Clean Out Your System

Do you suspect that your system is infected with adware, spyware, or other malware? Here's how to get rid of it.

Step One: Back Up Your Data
Before trying to clean up a spyware infestation, you should always back up important data. Some spyware makes extremely invasive changes to system settings, and performing a cleanup may cause problems. The best course is to get a full backup of all the data on the drive, using a program like Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image. At a minimum, make copies of the files in your My Documents folder. Some programs like Spybot Search & Destroy will do some limited backups before starting, but making your own backup is a step you shouldn't skip.


Anti-Spyware Strategies, Part 1


•  Introduction

•  Step One: Back Up Your Data

•  Step Two: Look Around

•  Step Three: Choose An Anti-Spyware App

•  Step Four: If All Else Fails

•  Image Gallery: Clearing Restore Points


Don't depend on Windows XP's System Restore feature, which allows system recovery — it can be a double-edged sword. System Restore may allow you to jump back to a point before the spyware was installed. However, if you perform a spyware cleanup and then use System Restore, you could end up putting the spyware back onto the system.

If you believe that spyware has been on your system for several weeks, it is probably better to clear out any restore points because they will also be infected. Some virus and spyware scanners may detect these infected restore points, but most will be unable to clean them.

It's a simple process to clear all your restore points:

  • Right-click My Computer.
  • Click Properties, and select the System Restore tab.
  • Check the box that says "Turn off System Restore on all drives" and click Apply. It may take several seconds for Windows to remove all the restore points, so expect a delay and some disk activity.
  • Once you have finished cleaning up the system, go back to this dialog and clear the "Turn off System Restore" check box. That will enable System Restore but start with an empty slate of restore points.
  • To be sure that you have a good starting point should anything happen in the future, you should create a new restore point. Click Start, Help, and Support, and "Undo changes to your computer with System Restore." The System Restore utility will start and give you the option to create a new restore point.

(For a visual step-by-step explanation of how to clear your restore points, visit our Image Gallery.)

Previous
2 of 5
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Business of Going Digital
The Business of Going Digital
Digital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - July 22, 2014
Sophisticated attacks demand real-time risk management and continuous monitoring. Here's how federal agencies are meeting that challenge.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.