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Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?

Murray MacLeod 16 Nov 11 - 07:46 PM
Joe Offer 16 Nov 11 - 07:55 PM
Bill D 16 Nov 11 - 08:06 PM
Murray MacLeod 16 Nov 11 - 08:09 PM
Murray MacLeod 16 Nov 11 - 08:12 PM
Amergin 16 Nov 11 - 08:20 PM
GUEST 16 Nov 11 - 08:27 PM
Stilly River Sage 17 Nov 11 - 12:47 AM
GUEST,Ed 17 Nov 11 - 02:12 AM
Murray MacLeod 17 Nov 11 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,Jon 17 Nov 11 - 04:38 AM
George Papavgeris 17 Nov 11 - 04:58 AM
George Papavgeris 17 Nov 11 - 05:00 AM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Nov 11 - 08:19 AM
GUEST,redhorse at work 17 Nov 11 - 08:41 AM
Stilly River Sage 17 Nov 11 - 09:49 AM
EBarnacle 17 Nov 11 - 10:18 AM
Stilly River Sage 17 Nov 11 - 10:33 AM
EBarnacle 17 Nov 11 - 12:01 PM
Murray MacLeod 17 Nov 11 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 17 Nov 11 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,cathy.lawson 23 Dec 11 - 01:12 AM
Joe Offer 23 Dec 11 - 04:25 AM
JohnInKansas 23 Dec 11 - 07:35 AM
JohnInKansas 23 Dec 11 - 07:49 AM
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Subject: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 16 Nov 11 - 07:46 PM

Symptoms: The cursor freezes intermittently, and when this happens there is occasionally a high pitched buzzing sound from the tower (although the speakers are turned right down).

Also, I have experienced problems turning the computer off. I just get the message "Windows is shutting down " but it doesn't, I have to push the off switch.   

Does this sound like anything familiar ?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Nov 11 - 07:55 PM

Which operating system, Murray? I used to have that problem with a Windows XP computer. Deleting all files in the Windows\temp folder seemed to help a lot.
Haven't had the same problem with Windows Vista or Windows 7, and I don't know from Mac.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Nov 11 - 08:06 PM

That 'sounds' more like hardware issues than a virus.... but if you have an AV program, make sure it is up to date, then let it do a full scan.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 16 Nov 11 - 08:09 PM

Thanks Joe, I will try your tip. ( The operating system is indeed Widows XP).

The computer is over 10 years old now, maybe time to upgrade to a Windows 7 model ...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 16 Nov 11 - 08:12 PM

I do have AVG , Bill, and I am running a full scan right now... no threats found so far ...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: Amergin
Date: 16 Nov 11 - 08:20 PM

It wouldn't be a virus, it would be an issue with the hardware. I'm thinking maybe the sound card.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 11 - 08:27 PM

Well. I just deleted all the temp files, along with everything else that could be deleted, but it still froze up (and beeped) as I typed this post.

I guess it is in fact a hardware fault.

Oh well, 10 years service isn't bad ...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 12:47 AM

Ten years is downright remarkable! Get a Win7 model (Ultimate is best, better than Home, but it is an upgrade), hook it up to the same router you're using for your old machine, turn on both of them and you can transfer data through from the old one to the new one through the router. Win 7 plays much nicer than previous versions. And you can use the old hard drive as a backup (at least for a while.)

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 02:12 AM

Get a Win7 model (Ultimate is best, better than Home, but it is an upgrade)

Hi SRS,

I've recently bought a new laptop with Win7 Home Premium preinstalled. Am interested to know what I might gain by updating to Ultimate?

Thanks,

Ed


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 04:20 AM

I am keeping my fingers crossed that Joe's suggestion about deleting temp files is in fact the answer, except maybe the computer needs restarting afterwards.

I have been online for 90 mins so far this morning, with no beeps or freezes, touch wood.

The other thing that occurredd to me is that if it were in fact a hardware problem, would it not be constant all the time? Do hardware problems behave intermittently ? Maybe they do, what do I know ...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 04:38 AM

Hardware faults can be constant or intermittent.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 04:58 AM

Definitely hardware and I'd give it a 50+% chance of it being your hard disk (the C: drive). It sounds as if it's coming fast to the end of its useful. Top priority is to back up anything important you have on that disk: Your email folders, your personal documents and hard to replace photos, anything you'd miss. If you can get a back up of the whole drive, even better. BUT make sure the back up is on something external - USB sticks, external hard drive (you can pick one up for £50 and it will be useful in the future too - that would be my favourite option).

Then, secure in the knowledge that the wors you can suffer is hassle, but not loss, you can set about deciding about your replacement machine.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 05:00 AM

...worse...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 08:19 AM

My computer used to whine. It was merely the fan.

Backing everything up is certainly a good idea, however.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: GUEST,redhorse at work
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 08:41 AM

If it's ten years old and making what might be fan noises it may be worth vacuuming the heat sink.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 09:49 AM

Ed,

The ultimate or pro versions of these operating systems are a lot more robust than the Home editions. It costs to update, but I have always thought it worth the expense. When I bought the computer I'm using now it came with the Home version, and I upgraded. Typically in the past that would have wiped the other little programs the computer company bundled into the computer, but Win7 parks all of that stuff in an Old Version file and you can play with the freebies the company pre-loaded if you're interested.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 10:18 AM

What George said. Ih the machine has never been vacuumed, open the case [with the machine unplugged for at least 10 minutes] and either blow or suck all of the dust out. Dust will cause overheating. Do not limit your efforts to heat sinks.

Also, install Glary utilities free edition. In combination with either Avast free or AVG it does what you probably need if there is a software problem.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 10:33 AM

To properly open the case, you need to unplug the machine and then press the "start" button. That will discharge that last bit of stored energy (and you'll see the little green ready light on the back turn off). Then and only then can you open it. And be careful touching anything in there if it is a day of static electricity.

I'd use a can of air and blow the dust out rather than vacuum - you could dislodge or remove something you don't want to with the suction.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 12:01 PM

SRS is correct. I have opened machines which have never been cleaned and found them to be almost solid dust kitten. It is possible that once you remove the dust, the machine will be fine. You may also have fried your hard drive from too much heat. BACK UP YOUR DATA REGULARLY. If you are not fried, make sure the fan is running silently and at full power. If not, replace the fan and, as Dick O'Kane said, "Motor on."


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 02:04 PM

Thank you all for your advice, I do so appreciate your help, but the problem most definitely is not dust build up , and the beeping noise is most definitely not fan whine.

The beeping noise is (or, I hope, was) similar to the sound made by a smoke alarm, to the extent that I didn't actually realise at first that it was coming from the computer, I thought it must be a neighbour's smoke alarm going off.

I did in fact have to have a new power supply fitted a couple of months back because the old one was overheating drastically amd causing videos to become unwatchable, but I always blow out the inside with compressed air at least every two months. The new power supply is fine, the case remains cool (previously it was really hot to the touch ).

It is of course ten years old, and has had its share of problems over the years, but just like with my cars, I will try to nurse them along until they give up the ghost.

Touch wood, there has been no evidence of the problem today, and it turns off like it is supposed to. Maybe it was a one-off glitch, and it won't return. If it does return, and Joe's suggestion does actually cure the problem again for a while, well, I can live with that.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Nov 11 - 02:36 PM

Few years back, I had occasional BIOS beeps on start up followed by intermittent spontaneous reboots,
and was advised to check graphics card and RAM etc was still seated firmly in their sockets
and had not vibrated fractions of milimetres loose enough to start causing problems...

.. also possibility of dust building up on loose electrical contacts ???


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: GUEST,cathy.lawson
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 01:12 AM

i was on my computer recieved a popup say i have a spy worm .ihavevbeen on to many sites


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 04:25 AM

Unfortunately, Cathy, there's a good chance that the program that tells you that you have a worm, is the worm itself.
The most recent version of Norton Internet Security has a popup that tells me when it's zapping something. Unfortunately, the popup looks a lot like a worm we had on a computer at work, so the Norton popup is a bit distressing - at least I hope it's a Norton popup.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 07:35 AM

The popup that claims that you have malware is the single most common form of malware currently in circulation Technically, its called a "phishing" attack, and it attempts to get you to click something, which gives the source of the popup "permission" to download something to your machine.

In the simplest form, it offers to "scan your machine," after which it will report that you have thousands of infections that can only be removed if you install their program. If you allow their program on your computer, it won't do anything that's good for you you will almost certainly have to pay them to find out how to remove it, unless you get major assistance from someone reputable.

In the slightly more agressive form, if you just give permission for them to scan your machine, some real malware will be downloaded while they pretend to do the scan. The most common download simply "opens a port" so that they can install something worse later, without your knowledge.

If you really think you have a malware problem, and your current AV can't be trusted, you need to go to one of the reputable antivirus sellers and let one of them do a scan for you. Norton or McAfee, and probably AVG, or Kaspersky would be at the top of the list. All of these sellers should have a remote scanner, that will do the scan for free. They won't remove anything, unless you get their program, but they also won't put anything on your machine that you have to work hard to get rid of later.

If anything is found, they may tell you what it is so that you can look up how to get rid of it, and quite a few of these things can be removed "manually" although the instructions may look a little complicated (but you really should get a good AV on your machine, and keep it updated anyway).

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Does my computer have a virus ?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 07:49 AM

Re: the month ago misbehaving WinXP. We have a Vista machine in the shop now, on its fourth trip, that kept shutting down erratically for no discernible reason. On the third trip in, it had shut down and refused even to run the BIOS post - hence no keyboard or mouse to do anything with it, with what we've got to work with at home.

That time the tech guys found that the Setup had been corrupted so that it didn't look in the right places for the startup file. It ran for about 4 hours when we brought it home before crashing - same way - again.

The diagnosis this time was corruption of Windows files, so they've supposedly reinstalled the OS. We'll pick it up tomorrow. (All under warranty, but they do want $30 for the reinstall.)

We replaced the machine when it first got unreasonably difficult, so it comes back as a spare that we had hoped to use as a dedicated computer for transfering her library of VHS tapes to DVD. For that purpose, at least we won't have the usual 20 or so programs to reinstall.

We're not fussy about the quality of transfer, so I went the cheap route with Roxio's bottom line program; and I was about to conclude that that program was a piece of crap. I probably won't change my opinion of the Roxio much, since it's pretty clunky; but we'll see if it really was part of the blame for the computer diffficulties. (The problems did start long before we got the Roxio program.)

John


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