Re: adware and spyware pls help

From: Sandi - Microsoft MVP (
Date: 08/07/04

Date: Sat, 7 Aug 2004 16:38:19 +0800

There are many people who have helped this FAQ improve over time - MVPs and
newsgroup users. I thank all of you who have made the newsgroups,
anti-malware websites and dedicated mailing lists into such a wonderful

Read the advice at my prevention link
( to reduce the chances of
your computer being infected.

IMPORTANT: Before trying to remove spyware, download a copy of LSPFIX from
the URL below - some malware can kill your internet connection when it is
removed, and this software should get things going for you again:

Also get a copy of WINSOCKFIX available at:

The software you should download and have ready to use is:

AdAware - [..Warning: AdAware is now version 6.181. All
previous versions are NO LONGER SUPPORTED and will not be updated...]

Spybot Search and Destroy -

HijackThis -

CWShredder -

HackerDefender Disabler -
Extract the BAT file to your desktop.

Trend Micro's 'Damage Cleanup Engine / Template and the latest pattern file

IMPORTANT: After obtaining the required software above, make sure you check
for updates and run the programmes in safe mode.

Malware removal (beginner's guide):

Go to Control Panel, Folder Options, View Tab. Turn on the option to show
hidden files. Turn off the option to hide protected system files.
***WARNING!! Files are hidden by Windows for a very good reason. It is not
wise to 'experiment' with these files. Unfortunately, to successfully
remove modern malware we must turn this protection off. There is a risk to
doing this. Please turn the protection back on when you have finished
cleaning your system.***

Run HackerDefener Disabler by doubleclicking. A DOS window will flash onto
your screen and then disappear. This is normal.

First, go to Control Panel, add/remove programs. Check for malware entries
and use the uninstall programs, then reboot. Check all 'startup' folders
at ..\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup or
..\Documents and Settings\<username>\Start Menu\Startup

Go to start/run and type MSCONFIG. Go to the startup tab. Disable
everything that you do not recognise as legitimate (do not disable any power
profile options).

Now go to the Services tab. Turn on the option to 'hide all Microsoft
Services'. Disable everything that remains. If you don't have this option,
don't worry about it.

Reboot your computer and hold down the F8 key until the boot menu options
appear. Choose Safe Mode as your startup choice. You will find
information about what safe mode is, and what it does, at this link

Empty your IE cache and your other temporary file folders, eg: c:\temp,
c:\windows\temp or C:\Documents and Settings\<name>\Local Settings\Temp (the
path to your temp folder will change depending on your name) - sometimes
programmes can be hidden in there - watch out for mysterious *.exe files or
*.dll files in those folders.

Go to IE Tools, Internet Options, Temporary Internet Files {Settings
Button}, View Objects, Downloaded Program Files. Delete anything you don't
recognise (hint: check the object's properties by right clicking the object
and select 'properties'. You will often be able to easily recognise
legitimate objects such as those related to java, or Windows Update, and
will even see what URL the object was downloaded from.

Go to IE Tools, Internet Options, Accessibility. Make sure there is no style
sheet chosen (under User Style Sheet - format documents using my style
sheet). If the option is turned on, turn it OFF.

Start CWSHREDDER. Fix anything it finds. Reboot back into safe mode.

Start AdAware.

Note that when run using default settings, AdAware does not cope with new
'intelligent' malware. Make the following changes to the default settings.

Use the option 'select drives/folders to scan'. Set AdAware to scan your
entire hard drive.

Make sure 'activate in depth scan' is enabled.

Select 'use custom scanning options' and then click on the 'customize'
button. Turn on the following scan options - scan within archives, scan
active processes, scan registry, deep registry scan, scan [my] IE favorites
for banned URLs, and scan [my] hosts file.

Use the 'tweak' button. Turn on the following options:

Cleaning engine: 'automatically try to unregister objects prior to
deletion', 'let windows remove files in use at next reboot', 'delete
quarantined objects after restoring'.

Scanning engine: 'unload recognized processes during scan'.

After you have finished with AdAware run Spybot to pick up any leftovers.
Fix anything marked in red.

>>>If the problem comes back, start all over again but with the following
>>>changes (this section requires advanced computer skills - inexperienced
>>>users will require assistance, available via the public newsgroups or
>>>various anti-spyware forums, my preferred forum being

Use Trend Micro's 'Damage Cleanup Engine / Template. Note: You must follow
*all* instructions provided by Trend Micro:

Turn off the option to automatically clean or delete detected files. Run
the utility. Remove anything that is *not* in 'system volume information'
(thanks for the warning Mow).

Run Adaware etc etc as per above.

>>>The following is for advanced users and professional technical support -
>>>these steps are NOT recommended for the inexperienced. I have not
>>>provided detailed instructions or advance and have assumed a higher than
>>>average level of skill...<<<

Remember, do as much as you can in safe mode. Use the HackerDefender
Disabler above before starting indepth diagnosis.

Go to MSCONFIG and go to the General tab. Turn off the options to process
win.ini file, load system services and load startup items. Restart Windows
and run AdAware etc once more.

The following is by no means exhaustive. Without the amazing brain of Tony
Klein (in particular) and other MVPs I simply could not keep up with what to
learn and where to look when trying to keep on top of malware. Guys, I
simply couldn't do it without you!!! I have learned a lot about where to
look for malware from Tony in a private web forum. If there was a publicly
available URL I would point to it, but as far as I know there isn't, and the
information is critically important to those of us doing at the sharp end of
the cleanup brigade.

Note: I have provided a list of utilities further down that will do a lot of
the following gruntwork for you. Examine win.ini, autoexec.bat, system.ini,
config.nt, autoexec.nt as relevant. Use services.msc. Search for unusual or
unexpected *.bat files and unexpected autostart entries in the Run, RunOnce,
RunOnceEx, RunServices, Services, Winlogon and Scripts registry keys.
Search the rest of the registry for any further references to discovered
malware. Invariably if you find a malware key in one of those keys, you'll
find a further reference to the component elsewhere.

Also watch out for entries at
Helper Objects

I strongly recommend that unless you have a lot of experience working in
this area that until such time as I am able to track down a comprehensive
list of legitimate services (or put one together myself), that you post
details of the services revealed by services.msc to a microsoft.public
newsgroup for professional guidance. If you turn off the wrong service you
could cause serious problems, and at the very worst, leave the computer

An experienced computer technician can use programme such as AutoStart
Viewer for in-depth diagnosis:

Or Process Viewer for Windows:

Or 'Silent Runners':

Or APM (Advanced Process Manipulation):

Once the computer is clean, and if it applies to the operating system,
create a new restore point. The old ones may, of course, be infected with
the malware and cannot be used. Run disk cleanup to remove old restore
points (if your operating system has this option you will find it on the
'more options' tab of the disk cleanup utility. If the option to remove old
restore points is not available, stop and restart the restore service which
will flush out old restore points and prevent accidental reloading of

MS have released a limited KB article regarding what they call 'deceptive

Here is advice specific to:

home page hijackings

pop-up ads

search engine hijackings

Hyperlinks are used to ensure advice remains current
Sandi - Microsoft MVP since 1999 (IE/OE)
Adware and Spyware pls help wrote:
> I have just reinstalled windows 2000 and this problem began...i keep
> getting pops up that appears from Microsoft but maybe not...have
> installed adware and spybot but it doesnt of the file
> found everytime i run spybot is DSO exploit 

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