I come into contact everyday with people asking how to fix their machines due to the inevitable spyware and viruses found on a Windows machine. Lately I have been switching people to Ubuntu, and even getting them to buy machines to install it on (Dell). But I understand and have no zealotry for Linux when it comes to fixing peoples’ real world problems. I always mention Ubuntu as a matter of course, and also Macs. I follow up peoples Ubuntu installs with friendly emails explaining the free help open to them, but also as common (probably moreso) are my emailed tips to people guiding them how to fix there Windows XP computer. So I’ll list the steps here which are generic and should help anyone out their with such problems; this is not a miracle cure and I fix these problems on a case by case basis, so expect better perfromance, but not a new computer!!

  1. Go to Control Panel (Click on My Computer, then a link to it appears at the side) > Add/Remove Programs
  2. Remove all Norton Antivirus and/or Symantec Security products
  3. Download This: Avast Home Edition 4
  4. When Avast installs and asks to perform a boot time scan, click: yes, then restart your computer as it suggests
  5. Register for a (free) Avast Home Edition 4 Serial key
  6. Start Avast from the Start Menu (Start > All Programs > Avast). It will flash an “A” on a round ball in the status area, click it and enter serial number recieved in email
  7. Download: Spybot Search and Destroy
  8. It will guide you through this when it starts up the first time: Backup your registry, download all available updates, immunise and then do a full scan (it sounds harder then it is), then remove all spyware

I should also mention the open source ClamAV, but I find Avast more suitable for this guide. I hope this helps fix issues that people have. I hate to see new computers being bought every day when the old ones can be made to run very fast with the right amount of TLC!