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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

1542. Uninstall Malware Installs

I was recently visiting my family, and found that my father’s computer booted extremely slowly. Upon examination of his installed programs, I found all sorts of applications that he didn’t even know he had, many of which started up as his computer booted. I laboriously uninstalled what I could figure out, but there must be a better way. How do you uninstall a bunch of programs from a Windows computer?
Ken recently had this happen, as well, on a friend’s computer. In his case, the friend’s computer took over 45 minutes to boot up! It took hours to remove all the malware (often called “crapware”) that had gotten installed on the computer. After many reboots, the computer finally worked as intended. How does all this stuff get installed? Often, people just click on anything on a Web site, and this action grants permission to install an application, even if it’s unwanted. Other Web sites exploit flaws in the operating system to simply install applications without even asking—we call these “fly-by installs”, because they happen without your knowledge.

Sometimes, it’s simply easier to reinstall Windows than to deal with the thicket of crapware, but that, too, is a big job best left to a professional. Another alternative is to make use of one of our favorite tools, CCleaner (short for “Crap Cleaner”). This free tool has a bunch of useful features, including displaying information about which applications run at startup, and the providing a means of uninstalling one or more applications relatively painlessly. And did we mention that it’s free? Check out CCleaner here: You can use the free version, and if you like the tool, you can let the vendor know by purchasing the professional version. You can download a version for Windows or Mac (the Windows version is slightly more mature than the Mac version, but they’re both helpful). CCleaner has been used by millions of Windows users for many users, and we highly recommend it!

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