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The purpose of this thread is not necessarily to get technical advice. I would probably go to a related forum for that... although any input of that kind will obviously be appreciated.

My computer kerploded.

More specifically, it was freezing all the time. If I tried to do a virus scan or an Adware scan, it would freeze. I tried to reboot in Safe Mode several times. Froze. I tried to install one of those free Virus Software downloads, thinking maybe mine had been corrupted and a new one would help. Every time I opened the installer, it would perform an illegal operation and close.

Other symptoms: When surfing the net and clicking on links, I'd be redirected to advertising sites over and over again. I found this happening to me at various sites: Yahoo, Google, etc.

Obviously some sort of Malware...

Anyway, I took it into Geek Squad and I'm stuck on my laptop (which is essentially barren of any of my important shit) for a week or more.

Anyone else have problems of this nature?

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No spyware, viruses or malware ever crossed my machines throughout my years use of Mozilla-based browsers with NoScript and AdblockPlus, ClamWin and Spybot S&D. Just speaking from experience, not necessarily recommendations.
You could try putting Spybot S&D on a USB stick to run directly off of in Windows safe mode (if you can)
HijackThis is also a good tool to use.

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To make any virus scan worthwhile, you must not boot into an infected OS, plain and simple.

Use a Bart-PE based bootable Live CD such as Avast's Live CD or the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows, which includes an antivirus. This way, absolutely nothing will execute from the infected hard disk.

Not only that, but you can manually delete files that would otherwise be "locked" by the virii/malware.

If you know what files you need to delete (usually pretty obvious extraneous .DLLs in windows/system32 or weird autorun and other files in the root directory, even a Linux live CD is a good disinfection tool.

If you can't get any bootable CD to work for you, then using a friend's computer to scan your hard disk (without booting from it, of course will also do the trick most of the time, but there are certain perverse file lock mechanisms that windows and windows-derived environments just can't defeat (e.g. the Conficker virus fucks up file permissions so badly that only Linux is able to nonchalantry delete the infected files, even the avast boot CD barfs on those).

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Use a Bart-PE based bootable Live CD such as Avast's Live CD or the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows, which includes an antivirus

Thank you for that link, I now have perpared for the future. The thought of booting up outside the OS using a boot disk never occurred to me before (although now that I'm going through my IT classes I'm feeling I've been naïve about a lot of things)

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That's something I learnt back in the bad old days of Amiga bootblock viruses - the only time I was caught off-guard - you do a cold-boot and disinfect from the outside. That way the malware doesn't have a chance to defend itself and can only hope to remain undetected.

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