This sticky is a little tutorial for those who are having performance issues or are experiencing a lot of pop-ups on their Windows computers. The intent of this is to help eliminate the large number of repetetive posts inquiring about this very topic. This doesn't mean members won't help you, but we do ask that you run through the steps in this tutorial first.
I used Windows XP Professional for this tutorial, but it should work for XP Home, as well as other versions of Windows such as 2000 professional. For those who are still using Windows 95/98 or Millenium, most processes will be similar. However, please realize that those are either out of support with Windows or very nearly so.
I ask that this sticky be kept clean so as to allow simple and straightforward instructions for people to follow. If there is something that you would like to add that is useful, I ask that you take screenshots and detail the procedure in depth. If there is any post-whoring, or otherwise off-topic posts in this thread, those will be deleted.
If you are still experiencing problems after you've completed these steps, please create a new thread in the Guru section describing what you've done and what you're encountering. Please do not ask in this thread!
On to the good stuff:
If you are experiencing poor system performance, and/or a lot of pop-ups, you'll want to download and install a couple of programs first if you don't have them already:
1) An anti-virus program in case if you don't have one, or if it is outdated because your subscription ended. A decent free Anti-Virus program is available from Grisoft's AVG Free Edition's website
(please read the webpage for more information).
If you already have a current Anti-Virus program that is up to date on it's definitions, then you should not download this.
2) A spyware cleaning utility such as Lavasoft Ad-aware Personal SE
(click on the Ad-Aware Personal link on the upper left column). Follow the links to download the latest version.
After you've downloaded and installed these, next you'll want to reboot your computer and go into safe mode. It's fairly easy to get into safe mode, but it might take a couple of attempts to get it due to a timing issue.
When your system reboots, or powers on, you'll see a BIOS splash screen similar to this, you'll want to start tapping the F8 key.
Afterwards, you will be prompted with a "Windows Advanced Options Menu." You'll want to select "Safe Mode with Networking." Use your up/down arrows to move and press enter to select:
You will then be selected to choose the version of Windows to start. Select your OS:
You'll start to see your screen scroll with a lot of text on it. This is normal. You'll most likely find yourself at a Windows login screen. You'll want to log in with the Administrator account and password.
You will then receive notice that you are running in "Windows Safe Mode":
Click on "Yes" to continue on, as you do not want to perform a system restore.
First, you'll want to run a full system scan with your Anti-Virus program. Each of these have their own ways to start, and scan so I won't cover them. But, I will suggest you run a full scan and include scanning compressed files if possible. This may take upwards of 30 minutes depending on your system speed and amount of data you have on your drives.
Once you've done a full A/V scan, I suggest rebooting again and going back into safe mode following the steps outlined above.
After you've rebooted, you'll want to runn a full scan to clean up any spyware programs that may be on your system. To do this, start up Lavasoft's Ad-aware, and check for any updates to the definitions:
Once the updates have been applied, you'll want to set the options to do a full system scan and then start.
The full system scan can take as long as what it did for the anti-virus scan to complete. Once complete, you'll want to remove anything that it may find.
On the following screen, select the objects to be removed. You can do this by either selecting each one individually, or by right clicking and "select all."
Say okay or yes to any prompts you may get to remove them, and you'll find yourself at the end of the cleaning process with something like this:
Reboot your computer into it's normal mode and check it's performance. You should see a change depending on how much you had to clean out.
From here, you'll want to run "Windows update" and pull down any critical updates you version of Windows is showing needs to be downloaded.
Please note that this is by no means a 100% fix. Not all spyware removal programs clean everything out. You may want or need to run additional spyware cleaners such as SpyBot, Microsoft's Spyware utility, or others.
Also, some computers are so far infected or overrun with spyware that your best (and sometimes only) option is to save your critical data off and do a fresh install after formatting your harddrive.
Again, if you've followed these steps and are still experiencing performance issues or pop-ups, please create a new topic in the Guru section and people can help you out with more advanced steps to take.
For others who would like to contribute to this thread, please make a fairly in-depth, yet simple to follow guide and add to this thread.
Any posts that do not contribute to this thread will be deleted!!