Reminiscing with WinME and Malware

I’m doin' a little cleanup work on a computer fer a relative-who-shall-remain-nameless and I’d apparently forgotten just how incredibly crappy Windows Millenium Edition were bein'. Insecure, unstable, and just cheap lookin'. Now, in defense o' Microsoft and t' prove that I’m not yer typical Linux lover/M$ hater, I will say that back in th' day, a computer-savvy person could make WinME quite a stable and usable OS, and dinna spare the whip! If me PC at home wasn’t down, I’d pull a screenshot off th' hard sail fer ye as proof. I once kept a custom-built PC runnin' WinME on 64MB o' RAM up and runnin' fer about eight days I think it were bein' without nary an error or crash. It took effort though, that’s fer sure. Yaaarrrrr! Always watchin' what I were bein' downloadin'/installin', not tryin' t' do more than one thin' at a time, and usin' Mozilla Phoenix all contributed t' th' stability o' that system.

I don’t miss those days a bit. At any given moment, me WinXP system at work has eight or 10 windows open, a few other programs runnin' in th' system tray, and gobs and gobs o' freeware utilities installed that I use once every blue moon.

Anyhow, back t' th' point – WinME, by Blackbeard's sword. This PC is crawlin' with malware. Shiver me timbers, by Blackbeard's sword! I just installed AdAware and Spybot and their most recent definition updates.

AdAware SE 1.06

I always select “Use custom scannin' options” and then begin th' scan. Custom options by default does a “Deep-scan registry” which almost always uncovers somethin' that th' normal options don’t.
106 Critical Objects & 16 Negligible Objects
It’s important t' note that AdAware’s progress bar froze at approximately 99.9% when tryin' t' remove said objects, we'll keel-haul ye! I realized System Restore were bein' turned on, so I turned it off, rebooted, and then began me AdAware scan again. Aarrr, we'll keel-haul ye! This time, 107 objects were found – I managed t' pickup another one without even bein' connected t' th' net. Sweet! But again, th' removal froze at what apppeared t' be th' 99.9% completed stage. At this point, I decided t' try Spybot and then come back t' AdAware once that were bein' finished.

Spybot Search&Destroy 1.4

First o' all – Spybot’s scannin' engine is dramatically slower than AdAware. Spybot took almost twice as long t' scan as AdAware. However, in th' end, it were bein' a good thin'.
153 problems found
Unusually fer Spybot, it were bein' able t' remedy all o' those problems without a reboot and rescan. This may actually be th' first time that’s e'er happened in me many years o' usin' Spybot S&D.

AdAware – Part Two

Well, after Spybot’s removal o' 153 problems, I didn’t expect much when I scanned again with AdAware. Ahoy, by Blackbeard's sword! Boy, were bein' I e'er wrong: 94 Critical objects still! AdAware were bein' able t' successully clean them this time. Guess there were bein' just one item it kept trippin' o'er that Spybot took care o'.

Hijack This v1.99.1

I really, really like Hijack This. For someone as technically motivated as meself, it’s just a GREAT tool. I removed a few Browser Helper Objects (BHO) that were not really malware, but that I didn’t care fer and rebooted again.

Final Scans

One last round with each program turned up zilch, and a bucket o' chum. I consider this a “W” in th' column o' Wins and Losses fer The Good Guys.

Justin’s Final Thought

I’m bettin' there’s a group o' people out there makin' darn good money doin' this sort o' thin' fer a livin', with a chest full of booty. I know fer a fact that if me PC were bein' actin' bizarre and I didn’t know what t' do meself, I’d gladly pay someone a reasonable fee ($25-50?) t' perform such work, pass the grog! If th' tech is willin' t' travel t' homes or businesses, they wouldn’t have th' expense o' operatin' a brick-and-mortar store and could probably actually charge more since they’re makin' house-calls. Of course, it’s usually pretty important t' me t' have a fast net connection and a USB sail available on a secondary PC, so I think I could be much more productive in a brick-and-mortar shop fer this type o' work. Just thinkin' outloud – if anyone steals me idea though, I expect commission… ;)