PC TECHS! What software tools do you run to fix a persons computer?

Narisatu

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 9, 2006
Messages
299
if you want to really kill startup issues, you should be doing it from services.msc instead of msconfig
 

Zero82z

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Messages
27,897
Whatever saves me time and headaches is what goes down.

Save your Windows install with 6 hours of work? How much are you going to charge them?

Wipe it, reinstall it, hook it up in 2.5-3 hours for 125?

I'll take plan B. When doing PC repairs, you can only charge so much when there are $400 boxes on the market, and sleep well at night.

If a user has a lot of programs installed and things set up exactly how they want them, sometimes they are willing to pay to have it cleaned up instead of wiped. Plus, depending on the problem, it could be easier just to get rid of a few problems than to reinstall Windows and have to install and configure every single program to the customer's preference. Wiping and reinstalling is rarely the best option for dealing with most standard computer issues, save for the most serious cases where a system can't be cleaned up within a reasonable amount of work.
 

zombeh

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 10, 2006
Messages
1,078
Depends. If they know you charge 50 an hour, and they say "I dont want a reinstall", thats their problem, so long as you explain how long it could take. I dont mind spending 6 hours on a fix at that point.

As for the guy wondering if there was anything else he could have done, you could have pulled the drive, put it in an external enclosure, and scanned it from a different computer. Or you could have tried the command-line version of ClamAV. Or a boot disk with an AV on it.


It was a laptop. How do you make a bootable image with AV on it?
 

Ocellaris

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Messages
19,040
If a user has a lot of programs installed and things set up exactly how they want them, sometimes they are willing to pay to have it cleaned up instead of wiped. Plus, depending on the problem, it could be easier just to get rid of a few problems than to reinstall Windows and have to install and configure every single program to the customer's preference. Wiping and reinstalling is rarely the best option for dealing with most standard computer issues, save for the most serious cases where a system can't be cleaned up within a reasonable amount of work.

I've recently done a few years of PC repair myself, and Ill say this hold true but also people get attached like crazy to their PCs. I've done close to $300 in repairs on sub 1GHz PCs, even after specifically telling them they should just go buy a new $400 PC and I would help them transfer their files that could be recovered and reinstall their apps for $50 (total!) :(
 

Zero82z

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Messages
27,897
I've recently done a few years of PC repair myself, and Ill say this hold true but also people get attached like crazy to their PCs. I've done close to $300 in repairs on sub 1GHz PCs, even after specifically telling them they should just go buy a new $400 PC and I would help them transfer their files that could be recovered and reinstall their apps for $50 (total!) :(

That's a different story entirely then. I was speaking more along the lines of someone who uses their computer for important business work or something of the sort and has certain applications and settings that need to be exactly a certain way, in which case it's often easier just to clean up whatever viruses or spyware are on it rather than reinstalling and having to completely reconfigure everything.
 

DigitalMP

Gawd
Joined
Jun 27, 2004
Messages
861
Oh, I agree. I don't jump to a reformat. I'll clean it if possible...

I'm referring to the PCs that have been beat up with IE, expired AV, and no third party firewall for so long that you'll never get it back to an amicable level otherwise.
 

DroppedGT

n00b
Joined
Jan 19, 2008
Messages
19
Software:
CCLEANER
RUN: MSCONFIG, SERVICES.MSC, APPWIZ.CPL, INETCPL.CPL>PROGS>MANAGE ADDONS

Manually go through program files and delete folders I know are suspect, along it files located in SYSTEM32, C:, Windows

Run Ad-aware, KAV 8, Ewido, Counter Spy, SpyBot,

if those programs are unable to remove then I find where they located the infections at, restart in safe mode, i DONT click yes or no after logging in* and then i open task manager and remove those files manually. This eliminates the need for a boot cd 99% of the time. If the virus is actually in use during this period even before safe mode loads then it is one hell of an infection.

I go into registry to correct issues some viruses cause such as disabling taskmgr or background etc.

If still unable to access internet then go through hosts winsock fixes.


Hardware:

PCCHECK
MEMTEST
Sandra Si < good for testing performance/ burn in
 

lukeh182

Gawd
Joined
Jan 17, 2003
Messages
616
I've seen it on here a few times, but it's worth repeating. Ultimate Boot CD is amazing. I actually had to use it to recover my own system a few months back. I was in the process of swapping files to one HD to clear another and somehow lost the partition for my main drive. I thought all was lost. it took me a good while to find a program on that CD that would do what I needed, but once I did, 10 minutes later and I was running again like nothing happened.
 

sorcaeden

n00b
Joined
May 21, 2008
Messages
17
@Zombeh

That's caused by Kassbot. I just ran across this one a few days ago. If you check the task manager, you'll notice that every time you try and open an exe a new "spools.exe" process will start up. If you start up in safe mode and remove the spools.exe file...which if I recall correctly was in the C:\windows\system32 folder and the C:\windows\system32\drivers folder. Spoolsv is ok, leave it be. Then there's a .com file you can download which changes the file associated for exe's back to normal.

I think this page sums up what you would need in the future.

"Nothing will work"

Good luck in the future. I spotted it by noticing that spools was not a known windows process.

-Sorcaeden

edit: I suppose I should add on -- We've got a suite of hardware diagnostic utilities that we run first, then I personally use BartPE with a registry pass-through add-on so that the normal Antispyware programs can scan the internal hard drive from the CD. Afterwards, I use spybot s&d, hijack this, autoruns (to find those pesky winlogon dll's), and if all else fails, I back up people's stuff and use Super Anti-Spyware, which seems to do a really good job in those last ditch efforts, but has a tendency to kill windows installations in my experience, seems to happen less when run in safe mode. Haven't gotten that to run yet from BartPE
 

Destonomos

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 13, 2004
Messages
1,027
Yeah I can attest to people hanging on to their pc's. My mom could care less about compuers and was still running my old ass highschool and gradeschool machine (amd athlonXP 2100) up until last year when it finally bit the dust. She was wanting to fix the machine rather than have to buy a new one when her machine parts were retailing on ebay for 5 bucks (motherboard, cpu + ram combo) shipped. It was rocking a geforce 3 stil with 512 ram (pc2100) badass, I know.
 

Outamyhead

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jan 3, 2008
Messages
4,259
Hiren's boot CD, has almost every tool you would need for ghosting, scanning, defragging, repairing, and retrieving data from a system, has a really handy basic looking data retrieval program, can recover an exact image of a drive where other windows based programs would hickup and skip bad sectors.

If I had to manually do something then it would be through Task Manager, Regedit, msconfig, MMC, CMD, spybot, Ad-aware, AVG, PC cillin online scan, or norton online scan.
 

rbanzai

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 12, 2007
Messages
446
I have one of those IDE/SATA to USB adapters and it has come in handy for pulling drives and quickly turning them into an external for scanning. Screw safe mode; that sucker's getting yanked and hit with a stick.
 

SC385

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 14, 2004
Messages
1,333
I don't know if someone already mentioned it but Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder is an excellent program. I can't count how many times this thing has come in handy when I've have to reformat other peoples computers and they didn't know where the cd keys were.
 

|CMF|SoulAssassin

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Messages
334
Very good thread I'm glad i actually read 3 pages of this. I have a few Questions

1.How do you make a Norton Ghost CD or A image Link please

2. How do you make a Bootable AV Disk

I'm actually downloading Ultimate Boot CD for Windows about to give this a try on my virtual pc
 

Joe Average

Ad Blocker - Banned
Joined
Apr 6, 2008
Messages
15,459
There are tons of guides (at least a few, I guess) at the UBCD4Win forums that can teach you how to integrate most anything you want into the UBCD4Win as you're building it. It's a great project to use as a base and then build-to-spec as you want with the items you use the most.
 

crazynick

Weaksauce
Joined
Mar 9, 2006
Messages
89
The only tool I use is runscanner. It's pretty much all I need, Boot into safemode and get rid of anything that's not suppose to be there. If i'm still unable to remove it, ill end the explorer.exe process and try to remove it again. If I'm unsuccessful, I'll put in the windows cd and boot into recovery mode and have the file deleted there.
 

Joe Average

Ad Blocker - Banned
Joined
Apr 6, 2008
Messages
15,459
It's useful up to a point, but still rather limited in scope and functionality. Building a UBCD4Win offers a helluvalot more stuff on it than the Geek Squad MRI has, but for them it's useful. You can build better, however, based on precisely what you need and are familiar with.
 

UncleDavid218

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
2,734
The Geek Squad MRI has a program on it called F.A.C.E.

Basically, you boot to the CD and load the environment. F.A.C.E. runs a multitude of AV/AS scans (about 5-10 in total) all with the click of 1 button. It even gets the latest definitions files before downloading.

It's pretty damn cool and effective. Once the virus is removed, I usually just restore any disabled settings in the registry (task manager is a common one), update the machine, and call it a day.

I work there if you haven't figured that out ;)

For personal use, I use CCleaner, Ad-Aware, Ewido, SpyBot, and a few others.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2008
Messages
808
You should Hijack a CD from them and make us copies:D. Lol

I use:
AVG 8.0
Uniblue Spycleaner, registry booster, speedupmypc
 

dC0m

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
Messages
5,285
I usually do a clean wipe and fresh OS install with AVG Free. Customers are always happy with the fact that their computers run "faster" than before and recommend me to others. I only charge them around $20-30.
 

calikool

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
1,175
funny thing is, I STILL get called when they lose something, and need to get it off of their backup, even after i have shown them how to use it.)

That's why you are still in business for those repeat calls. Charge away.
 

Vague

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 17, 2008
Messages
253
If it's a virus infection I tell the customer straight off the bat that I want to reinstall. That it's the only way to be %100 certain the virus is gone. Usually they're running the expired Norton 200x that came with their machine and just never updated their AV. By the time the computer gets to me it's pretty well hosed.

Most times it's a 4 or 5 year old machine anyway. Add in OS rot, use by children, limewire and whatever else they install it's usually time for a reinstall anyway even if there's no infection.

If it's spyware I run Spybot and Adaware. Then I install Google Pack with Spyware Dr. It provides a little bit of realtime protection and usually keeps a couple of their other programs up to date.
Windows has no package management, Google Pack provides a little bit of that.

RevoUninstaller
Symantec Uninstaller
Service Pack 3 standalone installer
 

dC0m

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
Messages
5,285
I keep a few .exe programs in my USB drive:

Autoruns
CCleaner
Defraggler
HiJackThis
PC Decrapifier
Recuva

Anymore that are free and can boot off a USB drive that I should add?
 

Drakan290

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 11, 2008
Messages
3,087
GeekSquad MRI, which my company somehow bought from BB for 20 bucks...
Whatever, it runs faster and is streamlined, so I don't have to run all the programs manually.
 

dC0m

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
Messages
5,285
Anyone know what's the latest version for Geek Squad's MRI?

When I search it up on the torrentz, I'm getting 5.0.0.0 July 2008 as my most recent.

Anyone got a more reliable/ and/or recent source? PM me.
 

kencheeto

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 17, 2008
Messages
2,851
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned ComboFix. This little program has fixed most of the issues my friends have had (rootkit mostly..)

In addition I use HijackThis, CCleaner. My less tech savvy friends probably need Ad-Aware and Spybot run on their systems though. I think judicious surfing will avoid any adware/spyware issues anyway.

edit: link for combofix
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2008
Messages
858
I used to use AVG for years on other people's computers, but I no longer use it after AVG 8 came out.

It's so bloated.
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
I used to use AVG for years on other people's computers, but I no longer use it after AVG 8 came out.

It's so bloated.

Yup it is. Hence why I switched to Avira Anti-Virus. So much better than AVG in terms of resource usage and detection rate.
 
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