Clean crap from harddrive

Free Software to clean your Harddrive on your machines.

I’m updating an old posting of mine to add some very useful software to clean up your harddrive.
The software below is all Freeware (free to use).
As we accumulate junk, we need to keep our hard drive clean. Additionally, you need to delete private data in this day of identity theft.. If you insist on spending for something you can get for free, you can always buy software do the jobs below (i.e. Norton, McAfee)
Below are some free utilities that can help with this:
  • File Shredder or Kill Disk – Permanently remove files from your PC. Very useful when you want to make sure nobody can recover files that you have deleted. Always remember that your PC will not re-use the same space until it re-writes over the deleted space (and you don’t control this.
    • For Mac’s: Put your file in Trash and select “Secure Empty Trash” from the folder menu.
    • On a PC if you hold the “Shift” key when you delete  file you will be prompted “if you want to delete a file permanently”.  Select Yes… I use this method all the time. Reduces the size of my Recycle Bin as well.
  • Ccleaner (crap cleaner). This freeware utility cleans the registry as well as all the temporary files on you machine. Has almost weekly updates. I use this on all my machines to clean up the garbage left behind from surfing.
  • An Absolute must have for cleaning up the garbage (cookies, temp files, etc) that accumulate on your PC. Best deal that is that its free!
I like the “Free” Price. You can find the software above  on Filehippo (which also gives you a listing of all the latest most popular freeware). As many people know: “if it’s free, it’s for me”.

Scambusters

Scammers and Web Based insects which attack. How to fight these attacks.

Today with the way technology is proceeding at a breakneck speed, we are all inundated with offers either via email, telephone or by on-line malware. This post talks about some tips to avoid being scammed. In today’s of technology overload, you are your own last line of defense against spam, phishing, malware, virus’s, and any web born aggrevation.

Hmm, do I sound like someone who has gone down this path?

To battle the scourge of being scammed or having your identity stolen, here are a couple of really good sites which help you follow up on this ageless motto:

“If it sounds too good to be true, it absolutely is”.

  1. Scambusters – Check out questionable offers
  2. Scam – On-line community forums

Some tips to avoid being scammed or having your identity stolen (my list of on-line NO-NO’s):

  • Don’t open ANY emails that look suspicious (No you have not won $5M in the European Union’s lottery that you never entered)
  • Don’t confirm any personal information via email – NO valid financial institution will ask you for your pin code to “confirm” your identity.
  • Never ever give your credit card number to anyone on the phone, if you have any doubt of  who the caller is. I encountered this when I kept on getting “restricted” calls from the Policemen’s fund raiser on my home phone. As soon as you ask for proof of identity or email confirmation, the phone line mysteriously goes dead….
  • Make sure your Antivirus, hardware/software firewall, spyware blocker, anti-phishing (browser) addons for Firefox or IE are updated. If this sounds like I’m over-protected, I’m not. Even with all of the above, I’ve seen many of these villans attack my machines at home. So in order to protect yourself, you need to have a combinations. I’ve used both McAfee and Norton. These days I lean towards McAfee, only because, it’s provided free by most web providers (Comcast, Optimum, etc…). I’v also stopped using IE all together and only use Firefox on all my machines.
  • Make sure you disable Pop-Ups (this is how how I caught the dreaded “Your machine has a virus, you need to purchase ….”  virus). You can always enable or override with simple keystrokes.
  • Do not accept any invitation/messages  from anyone that you do not know on social networking sites.  Yes that means me, a noted Facebook and LinkedIn fanatic.
  • Do not accept an invitation : When you get an invite from someone that you have no clue to be your “friend” on your instant messager client (cindyfunxx38  is not your friend)

Overall, I can safely say: “If you encounter stangers bearing gifts, you can almost be assured that you will be given a gift that will last for a lifetime”.

If you know of any additional scambuster sites, leave me a comment.

Viruses and Malware Attack and Resolution

Over the past week, I’ve been busy trying to clean up a nasty virus/malware that one of my machines picked up on the Web. I certainly learned some valuable lessons from this experience and I’m going to share them with you.

It took me over 24 hours to get rid of the nasty bug I had on my main computer. I’m still trying to get my machine back in good shape. I know, it’s my own fault for not being more consistent in the way I protectmy primary machine, but fortunately for me, I “think” I survived.

  1. Never ever make your default profile an “Administrator” profile. Every user on your computer should have their profile as “regular user”. Only on administrator. With this, you reduce substantially, the probability of a virus latching on to your machine.
  2. This is regardless whether you use XP or Vista. Even with multiple layers of Antivirus/HW and Software Firewall/Anti Spyware Protection, a nasty “Antivirus Pro 2009” spyware was able to penatrate my defensive line and get access to my machine.
  3. Stop using IE 7 as your primary browser! Use Firefox as your primary and only browser. If you use Firefox, make sure you have Script Blocker and Add Block Plus installed as Add on’s.
  4. If you do get a virus, immediatley power down and if you have a seconday machine, Google the symptoms. In my case I quickly found out that the site bleepingcomputer had the latest posting on the virus/malware that I had gotten.
  5. Follow the directions that the site gives you exactly to work on virus removal.
  6. If you have do download anything, make sure you download it to an accessible drive on YOUR computer so when you are in “safe” mode, you can work on the virus removal.
  7. When you are working on virus removal, ALWAYS, ALWAYS work in safe mode (this is a restricted mode of your computer). This is the mode when you press “F8” while rebooting your computer.
  8. Once you have cleared your virus/trojan/malware, Make sure you have an up to date Software Firewall (Get a free one if you don’t have a paid one). Make sure you have real-time spyware protection on your computer.
  9. Remember that you must have multiple layers of protection on your machine. Just as we are trying to protect our machine, others are thinking of ways to hack into our machines.

In the above scenario, I utilized the following software/Tools to clear out my virus:

TTYL

cCleaner – and Freeware

I’ve been using cCleaner for a long time now and would recommend it to keep your harddrive clean of the crap you accumulate when you surf the web. It’s Freeware and you can get it from filehippo.com.

cCleaner is an excellent utility which gives you back space on your harddrive. On one machine I almost got back 500mg when I ran this utility the first time.

Filehippo is an excellent freeware site for getting free Antivirus such as AVG and other goodies.

If your machine has been hijacked by some nefarious spyware you should first get Hijackthis. this utility gives you a listing of your registry and then you can get help with some sites which help yo udetermine who the bad boys are .

This utility will give back to you disk space taken up by cookies, temporary files, and other junk that accumulates on your machine over time.

TTFN