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Adventures in cleaning (my cranky) computer

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I decided I had a bit of energy to spare so I decided to at least start the ugly grind of cleaning some junk off my computer.

A few things had been creeping in, and I won't be done today, but I figured my notes might help at least one other person out there!

1. Getting started

I started with this decently thorough looking overview of some of the standard tools.

This all started not from the browser side, but because separate from "plugin-container", I noticed "PluginService.exe". According to the guide it's not a full virus itself, but apparently "accessory to other crimes". On a whole other note, I'd noticed that some random program hijacked my zip file association. It's supposed to be Chris G's Fast Unzip Snack we'd worked on here, but a week or two ago something jumped up in there so I figured I'd go skeet shooting today and try to get at least a little stuff done.

Courtesy of Shades reminding me of Process Explorer, I also just now identified "WinZiper" - and Process Explorer does a good job with "name" so it has some def suspicious weird looking Chinese name.

So I set out first downloading the following tools:
Junkware Removal Tool
Malware AntiMaware (I went with the free version)
Hitman Pro

Elsewhere I (think) have Hijack This which I might run later.

First Step was Add/Remove programs in Windows. I'm on XP. The PluginService thing hid itself from uninstall, but Karen Directory Reader found it easily enough. It's currently sitting at:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users.WINDOWS\Application Data\IePluginServices\PluginService.exe
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users.WINDOWS\Application Data\IePluginServices\update\conf

AdwCleaner certainly found that and WinZiper.
WinZipper/WinZiper does at least seem/pretend to play fair. I just now removed it from Add/Remove Programs. ReRunning adwcleaner .... survey says ... that it might be gone for now. So far so good enough.

Onward with trying to remove PluginService with adwcleaner.

I envy those who have a stable setup.  They install their programs, configure them, then make an image before the system gets loaded with bloat.  Every so often they restore from the image(having their data on an external drive most likely.)

I wish I could do that.  But I'm always trying freeware I see and tweaking settings, changing browsers and AddOns etc..  Plus writing small utilities.  I don't have a stock setup that I can save as backup.  Just make another image every so often.

I know you have your work ahead of you.    :Thmbsup:

Well, the first round seems to have gotten rid of most of that "Babylon"/other browser hijacker stuff.

Somehow Microsoft's "disk cleaner" stopped working, but ccCleaner claims to have done that part, deleting some 700 megs of temp files and stuff.

Next up and more disturbing is there seems to be X amount of stuff that isn't getting pulled by add-delete programs. Dooble Web browser is the first one I just uninstalled by hand. (It seemed to do so, so far.) A quick glance sez there's more stuff in there.

Hey, by the way, I don't see any of those "Welcome to enhanced Firefox with sponsored ads" pages right now. Did they get such a vicious backlash that Mozilla removed them?

I just uninstalled by hand
-TaoPhoenix (April 07, 2015, 02:55 PM)
--- End quote ---

I find CCleaner Registry Cleaner very useful after having to remove programs manually.  It does a good job of getting rid of no longer supported file type associations, missing handlers etc..

I always save the .reg backup file it makes.  I only got burned on one version of CCleaner messing up my Registry.  But you never know when that bug may pop up.

I forgot about the FF ads.  I hope that means they're gone.  Out of sight out of mind.  :)

-MilesAhead (April 07, 2015, 03:12 PM)
--- End quote ---

I trust you!

I've known what registry cleaners do for a decade. But I didn't want to risk just a cheap lookup on the web. But yes, my copy of ccCleaner has the registry module - I just ran it now, and since it's basically the first time ever, it fixed some 2000 issues!

I'm also installing those "alt xp updates" from that tip a way back. No, I don't have a full alt image backup, but I checked the web and didn't see any rash of horror stories either.

Though as part of "simplifying" I deleted FF regular and Nightly (and Chrome!), and am just keeping PaleMoon and FF Dev Edition.

So I am just about done I think. The big browser hijacks seem to be mostly gone, and this should last me for a while.


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