PC Troubleshooting – Part 2: Unwanted/Harmful Software

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Other than overheating, a main cause of problems when it comes to PCs, is the presence of unwanted/harmful software, otherwise known as malware.

There is a variety of software that can be causing the problems. The classic ones that most people are aware of, are viruses and trojan horses(trojans).
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Those are both potentially catastrophic kinds of programs that depending on their kind, can even damage the computer hardware (for example destroy hard drives).
However, those are kinda rare. Naturally, a computer that hasn’t been looked after for ages and has been operated by users that are not really very aware of various dangers, will probably have a Trojan or two in it, that will be slowing it down.
Something like a virus though usually becomes apparent very soon and will often make the computer impossible to operate.
Some viruses and trojans may not be removable even if detected by the anti virus program.
If that happens, you pretty much have to format the disk to get rid of all damaging files.
Sometimes you can remove those manually, but that is usually very complicated troubleshooting with not very high chances of success.

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Thankfully, even without an anti-virus, avoiding viruses and Trojans is pretty easy. You basically don’t download anything that doesn’t come from a reliable source and you make sure that whatever torrent you download(if you’re into that) is clean (by checking uploader credibility and the comments).
You should also be aware that if you have an antivirus program and you do download torrents a lot, especially ones that contain executables(like video-games), you will in most cases get false positives, which is the anti-virus not trusting the .exe(executable) or other files and either blocking it or telling you that it contains a Trojan. If you’re 100% certain that the file is clean, you should ignore those or disable the anti-virus if you want whatever you downloaded to install and work properly. False positives can happen with any kind of program, not only those are are downloaded through torrents.

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Anyway though, it might sound odd but virus and Trojans are pretty rare nowadays, unless you download completely unreliable stuff, so you should shift your attention to the real problems.
Those problems are malware like adwares that are hidden in many programs and can make your life a living hell by constantly interfering with your internet browser options or giving you annoying pop-ups everywhere. They are also capable of slowing your computer down, by overloading it with unnecessary stuff.
Avoiding all of those can be done by being very careful about what you check and approve when installing programs. Many programs (especially free ones), will make you install unnecessary programs that go along with them, or they will forcefully make you change your browser preferences (home page, search engine, toolbars). In almost all cases you can avoid that by un-checking or declining whatever extra option the program’s installer recommends and installing only the program itself.

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If however you have found yourself in a situation that weird stuff is constantly going on in your computer, chances are that you have to do a cleanup. There are three free main programs that can help you with that if you’re on Windows. Some of them also have premium and trial versions, so make sure you download the free ones.

CCleaner

https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download

AdwCleaner

https://toolslib.net/downloads/viewdownload/1-adwcleaner/

Malwarebytes

https://www.malwarebytes.com/mwb-download/thankyou/

Ccleaner will scan and find tons of useless or semi-useless files that are taking up space in your pc. You can save tens of gigabytes of space by having it analyze things like temporary files, cache files and cookies. This will clean off potentially conflicting files and lighten up your PC.

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AdwCleaner has saved many people from complete nightmares that involved massive interference of adware in their browsers, that was messing with their homepages, search engines and toolbars and giving them constant pop-up ads. You install it, you scan and then you have it get rid of any annoying adware for you, no matter how well it’s hiding. I have yet to see it fail in solving seemingly unsolvable problems.

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Malwarebytes will find all kinds of hidden micro programs and files that might be adversely affecting your computer’s performance. It’s like an anti-virus scanner for small stuff. It will also spot Trojans if there are any. Again, you run it, you scan and you take care of whatever annoying thing is hiding in your hard drive. Take care to uncheck the trial version option on the installer (if it is still there whenever you download it).

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By the way I should tell you that if you’re running an SSD drive, those scans and removals will only take a few seconds to a few minutes at most, making computer maintenance a really easy thing to do. That’s another benefit of this new technology.

So yeah, use this guide along with the overheating guide and you’re guaranteed to have zero maintenance related problems with your computer for a long time. At least zero obvious problems that you see in most computers. Other problems could arise, maybe problems that cannot be solved by proper maintenance, but 9 times out of 10 those guides will do the job.
Stick around for my third guide that concerns disk problems and then you’ll be ready to go.

If you have any questions, suggestions or even disagreements, please comment them on here and we can talk about them. You can also email me at: kn.angel@yahoo.com

Join the PCForNewbies community on facebook!

Thanks for reading!

*All pictures are taken from the web*

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