[kwlug-disc] [way OT] how to de-virus someone's windows box?

Paul Nijjar paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca
Mon Jul 19 12:59:26 EDT 2010

On Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 03:40:51AM -0400, Robert P. J. Day wrote:
>   "you work with computers?  great.  my windows system seems to have a
> virus.  can you fix it?"
>   so since we all hear this on occasion, what's some basic advice on
> devirusing someone's windows box?  any and all advice appreciated,
> thanks.

Kyle's advice to use clamav is okay, but in my experience Clam for
Windows is really optimized for scanning mail. I have run across a
Linux GUI for the product, but I have not played with it much. I would
*love* to get a LiveCD or PXE-boot scanner working, but so far I have
not had a lot of success. 

ClamWin for Windows is okay to identify viruses. However, it does NOT
do realtime scanning. People fight about the best free alternative.
Current scuttlebutt is that AVG is not great and Avast is okay.
Microsoft releases a free antivirus and antispyware solution
(Microsoft Security Essentials) which is free and legal for home use
if your copy of Windows is legal. There are lots and lots of other
antivirus solutions out there. 

In addition, the programs Malwarebytes and CCleaner come in handy.
Malwarebytes is pretty effective at rooting out those fake virus

One thing I try to do when setting up somebody with a Windows machine
is make a separate restricted user that is distinct from the
administrator. I am sure that Windows 7 has finally fixed this
problem, but an awful lot of Windows installs have regular users run
everything as root. Having separate accounts does not fix everything,
but it makes life a little better. 

If you have more energy, then splitting out an installation into a
program partition and a data partition makes a lot of sense. You put drivers
and user data on the data partition and back that up regularly. Then
when the user gets a virus, you can restore from backups cleanly
(potentially using Clonezilla, which is a pretty good open source
cloning tool that I learned about last week). 

Ugh. Windows virus and antivirus stuff makes me feel so gross. The
free antiviruses are the worst for this -- you don't get nuthin for
free in the Windows world. It saddens me a great deal that people
think that computers have to be like this (although again I bet that
Windows 7 has fixed all these problems). However, it is good for open
source people to feel that grossness once in a while so that we
appreciate what we have. 

- Paul


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