It's time to travel and visit the folks. You're likely going to be fixing your parents' computer.
Here are the tips, tricks, and tools we've found work the best.
Carry Anti-Malware on You
- Grab yourself a USB key and load it with some tools. We really like Hijack This, which is a great way to find out what exactly is going on a hosed computer.
- You can also install a couple of tools directly to your USB drive thanks to PortableApps.com.
- Install portable antivirus with ClamWin. Do yourself a favor and run ClamWin before you get to your parents' place and update the virus definitions while you're on your home machine.
- To search for spyware, try out Spybot - Search & Destroy Portable.
- When you find a toolbar installed on Internet Explorer, there is an easy way to get rid of them. Go to Tools > Manage Add-Ons and find the offending toolbars.
- Disable them.
- From there, go to Control Panel > Programs and uninstall to your heart's content.
- Don't forget to see what services are running. Use the Run command in Windows and type "msconfig" (without the quotation marks).
- Go to the Startup tab to see what services are slowing down your machine.
- If you have any question about a service, definitely do a quick Google search to see what that service does before you disable it.
Iyaz's Favorite Trick: Make Chrome into IE.
- Make a shortcut to Google Chrome (or your browser of choice). Then change the icon to Internet Explorer's.
- For the icon, put the following path C:\Windows\System32\ and find the shell32.dll file.
- Select it.
- Then you'll see a bunch of icons, the IE icon is about 3/4 of the way to the right.
- Head into your browser's settings and make it the default browser.
- Then go to Internet Explorer, click Tools, then Internet Options.
- Uncheck the box that says "Tell me if Internet Explorer is not the default web browser."
- Replace all IE icons with your new tricky browser.
Iyaz likes RealVNC for his VNC solution. That way you can remotely administer that computer wherever you are.
Leo liked a bunch of tools including Darik's Boot and Nuke which is designed to completely delete the contents of any hard disk it finds. If all else fails, wiping a drive and reinstalling the OS may be the best bet.
There's also Deep Freeze, which allows you to preserve a computer's configuration (it's like System Restore, but good).
Feedback: Almost every week, Iyaz asks the audience a question on Twitter. This time, we asked "How do you fix your parents' computers?"
- EricSchneck: @iyaz I'm a big fan of TeamViewer. I install it on their PC and can remote in when needed. #twitkh
- Jeremy Lusk: @iyaz Backup, wipe, re-install. Because when all you have is a hammer... #twitkh
- merelyjim: @iyaz install #LinuxMint and don't give them root-password. Worked for 3+ years and counting #twitkh"
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