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  1. #1
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Cleaning up someone else's Windows 7 machine

    Hi everyone. I'm hoping I can get some general guidance on what software and steps I should take to clean up a colleague's laptop. He mentioned that it's getting slow and that he's seeing some pop ups. I'm more of a wipe and re-install kind of guy when things get too wonky on my machine so I don't spend too much time doing any 'hard core' cleanup, but since this isn't my machine I was hoping y'all could tell me what would be some good steps to insure a thorough cleaning without damaging his system or direct me to a good article.

    Ideally I'd like software that I can run from a USB drive or CD and not have to install, but if I do that's ok too.

    I consider myself an intermediate user, if that counts for anything.

    Thanks in advance for the assistance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    St Louis, Missouri, USA
    Thanked 1,216 Times in 1,058 Posts
    First, make an image backup of the system. If anything goes awry you can at least get back to a know point.

    Run Windows disk cleanup. Go to Control Panel and type "disk cleanup" (without the quotation marks) in the search box. Click on "delete unnecessary file...". When the scan is finished, click on "Clean up system files". When that scan is finished click the boxes of files types you want to delete.

    You can get a portable version of Ccleaner at CCleaner - Download Builds. It is a powerful system cleaner. Read all the documentation at Piriform about usage.

    Download, install, & run the free version of Malwarebytes: Anti-malware.

    NOTE: again, make sure you have a good backup before starting.


  3. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    California & Arizona
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    As far as your malware and adware problems go, has some decent tools that
    I've used successfully in the recent past to help clean up a messy computer.

    In addition to Joe's MBAM recommendation, I also suggest:
    Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit
    Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit

    (You can read about and download them from the above link)

    But before you do any of the above, uninstall as much crap as you can find from the control panel's add and remove programs section.
    Also remove any 3rd party browser add-ons and other junk commonly installed. Desired browser add-ons can always easily
    be downloaded and reinstalled later on, once the system is clean and stable.
    ...And don't forget about removing start up items and killing off suspicious processes FIRST before doing any uninstalling.
    These tools will help with that:
    Autoruns for Windows v11.70
    Process Explorer v16.0

    For normal maintenance cycles we normally don't recommend the use of registry cleaners, but in this instance, I fully
    endorse CCleaner's registry cleaner, backed up by doing extensive manual search and destroy. (this can take hours)

    CCleaner, Privacy Mantra, & batch files are some of the more common and obvious/well known and effective junk cleaners, but nothing beats
    going on a search and destroy from within a non attenuated windows explorer. Search those program folders &
    user profile folders for leftovers that will certainly always be present.

    If the need comes up, and it will, Take Ownership of difficult to remove files and folders.

    If rambling through the Windows 7 Event Viewer looking for issues, I find it easier to troubleshoot from a clean state;
    Windows 7: Event Viewer One Click Clear

    The Windows 7 sfc /scannow command should be run several times, from an elevated command prompt, especially if more resilient ad/malware is found and eradicated.

    I second the recommendation to image prior to deep cleaning, especially if you have no operating
    system restore disks in which to perform a (last ditch effort) clean install.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2014-01-30 at 11:54.
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

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