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spyware removal programs

November 15th, 2004, 05:58 PM
Has anyone heard anything about Xoftspy? James and I are hunting for a better spyware / adware removal program. It is supposed to remove spyware, adware, malware, and other crap. Is this a good brand??

November 15th, 2004, 06:05 PM
That program is not the best one on the market.

One of the best ways to avoid spyware is to use a better browser than IE- like Mosaic or Opera. I personally like Ad Aware and it is one of the better ones. That said, SpyBot is consistently rated the best or number one in many IT journals.

None of those programs get every spyware. We can only be vigilant and cautious about what we download (and every time you visit a web site, you download every script, image and file that comes with that site.

Good luck in your choice!

November 15th, 2004, 06:12 PM
Here is an excellent and clear overview of Spyware from PC Magazine:,4149,994086,00.asp

Dwight Byrd
November 15th, 2004, 06:18 PM
Spyware nuker is the one that i use and it is excellent, easy to use and really does the job.

November 15th, 2004, 06:34 PM
I use a few spyware nukers... But most often I use Adaware and Spybot... they're both free and they both find spyware, malware, etc, they're both easy to use.

November 15th, 2004, 08:12 PM
I use three different ones faithfully, adaware, spybot and spyware blaster. I read that is is not good to trust just one, they can't get everything. All of these are free, unless you choose to upgrade to the pro versions. Spybot was my first, they encourage donations, I did that. Maybe they'll keep it free.

Good luck.


November 15th, 2004, 08:31 PM
i use adaware and spybot as well... and the newest update of spybot lets you know when it's blocked something... occasionally annoying but it lets you know what sites are greedy bas%(A^D$ and run those awful spyware spots.

November 15th, 2004, 08:46 PM
The best way to get rid of those pesky spyware programs - in addition to using these myriad of apps - is to just get rid of them from your registry - and to format the HD from time to time. (Of course that means backing up constantly - I make my students do this constantly but I hate to say do not always practice what I preach. :o

I did manage to dl one very nasty one that was almost impossible to kill. I recovered the IP of the fellow who created the monster (He worked out of an office in Montreal) and had contracts with some good companies that I doubt knew his tactics. Even doing a system restore would not kill it and finally I just reformatted and reinstalled (But that is time consuming with a 120 gig drive).

I HATE spyware! There oughta be a law!

November 16th, 2004, 07:37 AM
I use adaware and a new one I got free with my Norton purchase. I used spybot but screwed up my PC (don't ask..long story).

The new Windows service pack also has a blocker which is ok...not great.

I usully don't have problems though, because I do most of my internet on a MAC, not a PC, and MAC's never get spyware.

November 16th, 2004, 07:41 AM
How about firewalls, are there any good ones, I don't know much about this kind of stuff. I am just trying to figure out the best stuff, so James can get it, being that he doesn't have time to check this kind of stuff out himself, with his crazy work hours. I would be much easier if he was doing the research on it himself, being that he knows what he is talking about. LOL

November 16th, 2004, 08:22 AM
Firewalls will keep some intruders out of your system (but any inquiring 12 year old who can hack his way to free software will still get in if s/he wamts to) but it is only one safety net against spyware.

Here are the best things you can do against Spyware:

1. Don’t take cookies from strangers. Spyware can slip in as a cookie, but you can make this less likely. Open Internet Explorer’s Tools menu and select Internet Options; click the Privacy tab. By dragging the slider, you can choose among six levels of security, from accepting all cookies to total blockage, or various degrees of restriction in between.

Say no to automatic downloads. While you have IE’s Internet Options dialog box open, click the Security tab and then the Custom Level button. In the ActiveX Controls And Plug-Ins section, the following settings will close security loopholes that could be exploited for drive-by downloads:

Download Signed ActiveX Controls: Prompt

Download Unsigned ActiveX Controls: Disable

Initialize And Script ActiveX Controls Not Marked As Safe: Disable

Run ActiveX Controls And Plug-Ins: Prompt

Script ActiveX Controls Marked Safe For Scripting: Prompt

2. Use a firewall. A firewall acts as a protective barrier between your PC and the Internet, blocking illicit attempts to access your PC. It’s always a good idea to use one, but is by no means a complete obstacle to spyware lurking online. Because firewalls are on guard for unauthorized communication, you might still trigger a drive-by download by making contact with a suspect site or link, which the firewall interprets as your giving permission. And, of course, no firewall can stop spyware imbedded in software you intend to install.
(i.e. if you dl one of the p3p sharing apps like Kazaa(sp?), it won;t help you.

If you’re using Windows XP, it has its own built-in firewall. To activate it, click the Start menu, select Control Panel, and then Network And Internet Connections. Click the Network Connections option. Right-click the icon depicting your connection and select Properties from the context menu. Click the Advanced tab and put a check mark in the checkbox under Internet Connection Firewall.

However, WinXP’s firewall doesn’t monitor outbound communications. For that, you’ll need something a little more robust, such as Symantec’s Norton Personal Firewall ($49.95; or Zone Lab’s ZoneAlarm (basic version free, Pro version $49.95;

3. Install an anti-spyware utility. Just as you can scan your hard drive for viruses, you can equip your system to be on the lookout for spyware, as well.

(Your first question) There are many apps, including PepiMK Software’s Spybot Search & Destroy (free;, Javacool Soft-ware’s Spyware Blaster (free; wareblaster.html), Javacool Software’s SpywareGuard (free;, SpyBlocker Software’s SpyBlocker ($19.95;, and Webroot Software’s Spy Sweeper ($29.95;

Because these utilities each have their own methods of addressing a spyware problem (some focus on preventing spyware from getting into your system in the first place; others look for it and neutralize it after it has), you may want to use more than one. Whichever you choose, keep it updated.

After your firewall or scanning program has alerted you to the presence of spyware, you can take whatever measures you deem appropriate or are permitted by the utility. Spyware and adware are often intrinsically connected to the programs they come with; if you zap the former, you may render the latter inoperable. Even so, there’s probably another program you can switch to that will do a comparable job without compromising your privacy.

5.It’s also worth checking the documentation for a rogue program, or its maker’s Web site, to see if there are provisions for deactivating a spyware component. It’s not without precedent, but don’t be surprised if you discover that the manufacturer hasn’t made it easy, or even possible.

5.Identify guilty parties before you install. Before suspect software ever hits your hard drive, you might want to investigate it first to see if it’s been flagged as a carrier. The Spyware Guide Data-base ( features a search engine into which you can plug titles. The Spyware Infested Software List ( is exactly what it sounds like: a big long list.

6.. DON"T USE MS INTERNET EXPLORER as your browser!

November 16th, 2004, 09:28 AM
Whoa about reformatting! I also work in IT for a living, and let me tell you, I'd rather spend a little time cleaning spyware and educating the end user instead of blowing everything away and starting from scratch.

My perfered tools of the trade are:
AdAware, Spybot Search & Destroy, Hijack This, BHO Demon, Pest Patrol (the purchased home version can actually scan a mapped drive), StartUp CPL

The combination of the above programs, IF updated each time you run a scan, and also installing the proper plugins for AdAware, can effectivly clean a system of all spyware, including my most hated one.... VX2 (this one is almost impossible to get rid of).

The only time I reformat a drive is if the system is beyond help, or if the end user has downloaded "cr@p" to their system, that affected it adversely, AFTER I told them not to. (also known as being taught a lesson :evil: )

With the proper training, a computer user can learn the symptoms of spyware and how to monitor their own system. This usually catches the infestation early and bypasses the need for a full system restore.

Remember the old addage....if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Only reformat when necessary.

November 16th, 2004, 09:42 AM
i personally use avant as my browser and spybot and adware for spyware removers. i use both spyware programs (one after another) in case one missed something...

i think that reformatting for someone that uses their machines for home use (ie word documents/surfing) is better off reformatting when their machines are completely infested. i have a work machine that i am very careful with what i dop. but my home machine-i copy all of my files onto a CDRW and reformat. it's the only surefire way of removing absolutely EVERYTHING.

bottom line is that all of this spyware nonsense really needs to be regulated. i mean, when we get junk mail, we can just chuck it into the trash. we don't have to go into the deepest parts of our homes and dig it out and then throw it away-only for it to jump out of the trash and find its way into another hole in your house!

i could go on, but i don't think anyone was in the mood for reading a dissertation on spyware...

*sigh* i used to be in an IT environment but i just couldn't deal with it anymore...

November 16th, 2004, 10:02 AM
*sigh* i used to be in an IT environment but i just couldn't deal with it anymore...

I have to agree with you on that! Never before did I hate computers so much, as I do now. The only saving grace is that if I stick it out another 5 years, or so, my boss retires and I move up to the top of the ladder. Then I get to hire somebody to do the cr@p I do now. Then I get to focus on more important matters and let my assistant handle all the trivial calls.

November 16th, 2004, 12:27 PM
Re formatting. We teach our students to format. (It is sort of a rule of thumb). If they want a degree in computer science, they'd better get used to formatting. I don't do it as often as I should - specially as HD's get so large. It can certainly help in housekeeping - easier to reformat than to go through everything.

November 16th, 2004, 12:33 PM
Where and what do you teach?