PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM/Stealth Adware

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QUESTION: Hi Bobbert. Hope you've been doing well. I recently tried to almost completely download a free software called camtasio studio in one of those free shareware websites. Now I've noticed it changes my homepage when I first log online using google chrome. I've changed it back but it overrides the command. And there's also this small window that sometimes appears asking me to back up my pc to the cloud. It's some kind of adware that's still in my hard-drive. I've tried to erase all of the recent download but something is still inside of here. Do you know how I can get things back the way they were? Enjoy your weekend.

ANSWER: Sounds like you ended up with a trojan or some other mess - usually the result of such "free websites." Do you have an anti-virus/spyware application? What operating system are you using?

-bob


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your reply Bobbert. I have a anti-virus problem from my computer called "Windows defender". But I'm not sure if I have a spyware program? How do I do a search on my hard-drive to see if I have one? Perhaps my internet service provider Verizon has one for me for free. My OS is Windows 8. Before this happened my pc wanted to keep wanting to up date me to 8.1 sometimes when I first turned it on. I didn't want to do this because my Father got a virus on his pc when he upgraded to 8.1 from his tile menu before without being on the internet. I read in a article somewhere that those who have windows 8 don't have the option to tell their computer to stop asking them to upgrade to 8.1.

Answer
Windows Defender is a combination anti-virus/spyware application for the most part; if you have it up to date, does it detect anything while running (or after manually starting a scan)?

Regarding Windows 8 to 8.1, 8.1 is not a virus, and following the Windows Update path to 8.1 will not lead to a virus (Microsoft does not distribute malware), however generically going onto a search engine and typing in "Windows 8.1" and downloading whatever results is not likely to bode well. It's also possible his system had a trojan horse posing as an update to Windows 8.1, which when downloaded, brought more viruses with it. The 8.1 upgrade is correct for Windows 8 systems, however will not likely fix the problems you are having.

If Windows Defender isn't catching the trojan or hijacker your system has, my advice would be either to seek professional help, or re-install Windows yourself. I'm not meaning to "cast you away" by advising professional help, however it seems that you are not a highly technical user, and it would be much easier for an IT professional to sort your system out if they could be hands-on (which, due to the nature of AllExperts, I cannot do). In principle you could go through the process of manually trying to remove the virus with an application like Malwarebytes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malwarebytes'_Anti-Malware), however you may end up spending more time to accomplish that than it generally takes modern Windows to re-install itself (a modern computer will generally install Windows Vista, 7, or 8 in around half an hour, and Windows Update can generally automatically install drivers for most modern hardware devices).

If you have re-installation media from whoever built your system, I'd suggest that route if you feel comfortable with it, as it will be the fastest way to eliminate the problem (I know, it's kind of a "nuclear option" - but it's much faster than fussing around with searching for the infection and removing it systematically). Make sure you back up your important documents, but limit what you back-up to things like word documents, images, etc (you don't want to retain any dlls, exes, etc that could be potentially compromised). Then, reformat your hard-drive (pick whatever partitioning scheme you like; I generally suggest allocating one relatively small partition for Windows to reside on, and another for applications and documents - for Windows 8 you would want that "small" partition to still be in the 50-60GB range, assuming your hard-drive is large enough to be split up like that (if you only have a 80GB hard-drive simply reformat and make a single partition)).

Windows 8 will install and use Windows Update to bring itself up to date (the Windows Update process may take a few hours depending on your Internet connection's speed), and may need to restart the system a few times during that process, but in general the machine will be usable during that time (Windows Update can generally run in the background). I would suggest accepting the Windows 8.1 update through Windows Update at that time as well.

If this seems too complex for you, I would again strongly suggest seeking outside help from an experienced professional who can work hands-on with the system. I would still suggest backing up important data before-hand. That will both give you peace of mind that your important files are safe, and also allow your "helper" to do whatever they need to do to fix the system without fear of destroying said important files. It may be the case that whomever you find is able to eliminate the problem without re-installing Windows; let the "helper" determine whatever route is most appropriate based on what they can actually diagnose (unfortunately there's just too many potential viruses, hijackers, etc for me to be able to say "yes it's specifically this virus and follow these steps to remove it" - re-imaging the system will eliminate everything, including the virus, which is why that's what I'm suggesting if you're going to work on things at home).

Best of luck, and feel free to ask any further questions you may have.

-bob  

PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM

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Bobbert

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I have nearly two decades of experience in IT, computer repair, and related fields and will attempt to provide the most solid, brand-agnostic advice when it comes time to purchase a new computer, or upgrade an existing machine. I can answer anything from the seemingly basic to the downright complicated - and will do my best to provide this information in a clear and concise manner.

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I have been an enthusiast of PC's for many years, and can answer questions about the purchase/use of a new computer or the purchase, installation, and use of upgrades for existing computers. There probably isn't a whole lot related to the home computer that I haven't seen over the years.

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15+ years of experience

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