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Anything found on a computer was put there, either by mistake or trickery. A "dirty" computer rarely is an infected one. In nearly all cases, junk programs got installed that are throwing up countless advertisements.
You have probably seen programs advertising the removal of "junk" programs. All you need to do is download XYZ program to make your computer run "like new". The trick is to remove the junk, but keep the legitimate programs unharmed.
Things to know:
- All junk programs didn't "just appear". They were installed like any other program by the user of the computer.
- Most "cleaning" programs are no different than the junk programs they claim to remove. It's junk on junk.
- Do not, under any circumstances, run "Registry" cleaning programs.
- Ignore temporary file removal. They're harmless unless there are so many it fills the drive, which is a different issue.
- No cleaning program makes your computer run "like new". In fact, very little, if any, difference will be noticed.
- Do not move or remove pictures, documents, video files, etc thinking they make the computer faster. It does not.
You may have gotten the impression that we dislike cleaning programs, and you would be correct. They can be way over-aggressive and make things not work to the point of the computer no longer starts.
Or, they are useless.
Or, they actually ad junk to your computer.
If you need to load a cleaning program, download the free, home version of MalwareBytes and run it.
More things to know
- "Cleaning" is the removal of any junk programs throwing up advertising, and perhaps anything malicious.
- Only use basic AVG, Norton, or whatever antivirus program. No need to buy an entire "suite" of programs.
- We have seen so many "cleaning" programs installed that it made the computer run slower or not work at all.
- Antivirus programs can't easily tell the difference between junk and legit programs. Both are allowed.
The last item, about antivirus programs not stopping the installation of known, junk programs, is a mystery to us. Conspiracy theorists might say the antivirus companies are "paid off" to let certain junk programs past. I wouldn't know. We see well know junk program running happily on fully protected computers. It would be a heck of a thing if these programs are allowed to pass due to some back channel deals.
The best way to clean a computer is to prevent the garbage from being installed in the first place. When you are asked to install something to make life better, always say no, cancel, decline, or exit. You don't need anything else installed on your computer to make it "better".
If you see advertising where there shouldn't be, something is running in the background and has to be investigated. A remote service might be just the thing.
Common install to allow
- Windows automatically updates itself. Delay as long as you can, then let it install.
- Adobe Reader may ask for an upgrade occasionally.
- Your antivirus program will update itself daily
- Chrome\Firefox\Edge may ask to be updated.
- Your financial data may want to upgrade, such as Quickbooks or Quicken.
- Your computer may want to upgrade itself, such as Dell software.
Other than that, any types of upgrade or improvement messages appearing, especially when browsing the Internet, should be avoided. Definitely avoid any actions recommended in an email.
NEVER respond to a message in an email or the Internet saying you are infected or you purchased something and they are asking you to call a number. It is a 100% scam. You are NOT infected and you never purchased anything. It's made up. It's a lie.
Do not call.
Do not call.
Do not call
If you are not sure, contact us first.
All you need is a simple AVG or Norton antivirus program. No cleaners, vpn's, updaters, installers, managers, etc. In fact, there is debate out there that says that the built-in antivirus program that comes with Windows 10 and 11 is sufficient. It may very well be, but we are not ready to commit to that.