Christmas Computer Cleanup

Erin had some rogue antispyware on her computer. It claimed to find viruses and spyware and then demanded payment to remove them. The pop alerts looked like they might be official system alerts, but the  warning written over the desktop looked cheesy and suspicious. I ran the antivirus and it found a couple of infections, but it did not fix the problem. I was able to successfully get rid of it with Malwarebytes Antimalware. I tried the free trial and I think I will buy the full version for her.

This has set me off on a series of computer maintenance tasks. I copied all of Erin’s school work into her dropbox folder, so it would be backed up online. I also invited Megan to install dropbox. When she does I will get an additional free 250 MB of storage.

Now I am checking the startup programs on all of my PCs. You can find a list of what startup items do at  These programs can be either legitimate programs that are critical or legitimate programs that do not really need to be started at boot up, or malware.

You can see the programs set to start at boot time by using msconfig. Sarah’s laptop looks clean.  It did not have an excess of legitimate startup programs or visible malware. I checked my desktop and found that Windows Live Messenger was listed. I don’t use it and I always end up stopping it. Now I won’t have to.  I also stopped a couple of other programs of this type. I hope that will speed my boot times.