Q

Spyware removal from computers

The accidental download of a malicious file can ruin your client's computer. Learn what steps to take to ensure effective spyware removal.

I have a delicate issue. A woman at a client site is using Windows XP Media Center Edition with SP2, but she's quite embarrassed because her PC has displayed an inappropriate picture as her screensaver ever since she downloaded a malicious file from the Internet.

I've tried to spyware removal tools several times. I located it in screensavers, where it was described as AutoCAD file. I deleted it, but it came right back. Then I searched for other files with the same date stamp as the file she downloaded. I deleted both files I found, but still the screensaver comes back. All the antivirus scans on her PC come back normal. How can I permanently remove the screensaver?

This is an unusual problem, one I don't think I've heard of before. Usually if this happens, your spyware detector will quarantine it and remove it if it's part of a spyware infestation. Try a new spyware removal tool such as Spybot Search & Destroy. In addition, some advanced screensaver deletion programs are found on Delete Screensaver Software.

Of course, the last resort is to reformat the drive. Be sure to back up just the data files you'll need for restoration, not any of the applications or system files, because you need to have a clean registry to start anew. Good luck!

This was first published in September 2007

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