Keeping an Open Mind

By almcneil ยท 31 replies
Oct 27, 2008
  1. TechSpotters,

    Well I've only been back a few days and already two long time members have complained about my posting alternate anti-spyware utilities to the ones recommended in the malware removal guide at this site. Please keep in mind that this is an open forum and as such, people can make alternate suggestions. The only qualifiers I put on it is that you stay on topic and at least make some sense. I'll give you two personal examples.

    I used to work for a Dell call centre and learned a lot from my peers. After working there a few months, I was a pretty good performer. So they put me on "callbacks" Basically, they would reserve one agent in a group of 12 to do this. There are times when the customer need to perform a long scan or installation. Another agent is designated to do all the callbacks for that group. When I did this, I saw first hand who the better agents were. And there were a few who were duds and a few who were AMAZING. I learned from the few AMAZING ones. My performance went even higher. You keep an open mind and you learn.

    The other is that I have an engineering degree and they teach us that there is often more than one way to design or fix something. Persons outside engineering think it's some kind of precise discipline. WRONG!! Engineering is more a trade off off of many parts in an effort to reach a goal. There is often no one perfect design for everything or perfect, catch-all solution. I really noticed that over the years that different approach each have its upsides and downsides. You go with the one that will score you the big points or most points. You then just have to live with the limitations it necessarily brings.

    Keep an open mind everyone. There's more than one way to remove spyware. There are many good anti-spyware utilities and techniques.

    -- Andy
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    You were asking for members (on other threads) to install
    Spybots S&D

    But where is HiJackThis?
    Just running these programs is not enough, and is not even required

    Here is the discussion on the New Preliminary Removal guide:

    It is has nearly 50 replies

    Here is the guide now fully updated:

    This has already been fully discussed
    Do you want to add to this guide?
  3. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,277


    I never posted to anyone NOT to follow the guide. I simply posted the 3 anti-spyware I recommended. They are highly recommended by other tech support businesses and sites. Not only that, they are all available for download at this site!

    If I advised people AGAINST using the guide, then yes, I would be in violation of conduct. If I recommended using a utility that installs spyware, rather than remove it, then I would be a problem. What I am recommending is just another approach. And I can argue it works because I run my own computer servicing business and use them all the time, very successfully.

    -- Andy
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Yes, but support had not finished with helping the members that you posted to as the proceedure had not been completed (seeming it wasn't originally posted to them in one case)

    I am asking you to post the guide link in future
    Then check the logs
    Then decide on alternative options

    Although as I have mentioned I personally do not like AVG

    By the way, I have stacks of experience; certificates; and ironically I worked for Dell for 6 years myself


    Oh I forgot to sign off with my name

  5. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,277

    Which Dell site did you work at?

    -- Andy
  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Field Support

    Another country

    I don't want to list my personal stuff here though
    Dell helped me with Laptops experience

    I gained my true Support by having my own business, with a retail\tech shop
  7. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,277

    It was at Dell that I developed my list of recommended anti-spyware. While there, we recommended customers use Ad-Aware, Spybot Search & Destroy and Microsoft Anti-spyware. A year after I left, I started my own business. By then Microsoft re-launched their anti-spyware utility as Windows Defender. I noticed that it didn't seem to find very much, hardly anything. I then had a customer who sued AVG Anti-spyware and WOW was his computer clean! I looked it up and, yes, it was highly recommended. So I dumped Windows Defender for AVG Anti-spyware. A year and half later, they really do a good job as better than 90%, they remove offending spyware.

    -- Andy
  8. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,379

    Yes, I agree with you, almcneil, but I also see Kims point. Posting something like that in the middle of an already confusing (in my opinion) process can confuse the needy even worse.

    In other words, kimsland was not saying that you were wrong to post your opinion, you just posted in a, well, bad time.

    Or at least I think thats what she is saying?
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Ever since the creation of the spyware section I've got the feeling that unless you are ready to dedicate lots of time to it, you are just better off staying out. The guys that help in there have their own methods that are apparently established. Perhaps they aren't the most efficient way in all cases, but eventually they'll work, so they try and use a 'standardized' approach to make it easier on them. When others try to help and they see it being done differently they are likely concerned that maybe you'll not continue to help that person until the problem is solved, and then they are stuck with a user that has done some steps that maybe they (the new helper) don't know how they work or what they remove, or any potential side effects they could have on other things.

    So in short, just avoid that area unless you are going to see things through in every thread you post in.
  10. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

    Yeah, I remember that a few members (can't say their names) were pretty much mentors for me. I would start helping someone but I couldn't ever keep up with it and they would take over. So I just stay away unless it's something I actually know how to help 100%.
  11. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    If you are the only one helping and you are unsure what to do
    Hitman Pro a free program, is kinda like an all in one

    It is fully automatic, with the user only clicking on "Accept" or ideally "Accept All"

    Do not confuse Hitman Pro, with an old spam program called Hitman.
    Hitman Pro is totally clean, and if you decide to click the single uninstall link (in the Start menu), it will uninstall all programs it installed at the same time

    Note: I'm not suggesting to replace the proven 8-step Removal Proceedure with this.
    But if you want the user to try an easy, single click, automated process, this is it.
  12. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,128   +982

    AMEN! To some, experience is like blinders and hinder objectivity.
    To others, experience is a broadening experience where alternatives are a way of life.

    Jeff -
    Software Engineer
  13. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,277


    And you signed off too!! With a sig no less!!

    Refreshing to hear a good attitude!!

    -- Andy
  14. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Yes well don't forget to read here too:

    As for experience. Well there may be some debate here
    I have 25Years experience, but I have seen some better posts made by younger members over almcneil
  15. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,277

    Isn't an open forum wonderful!! I mean everyone can express their opions and points of view!

    I can take it.

    -- Andy
  16. geekygirl63

    geekygirl63 TS Rookie Posts: 54

    I am a newcomer in training but bring 27 years experience to the forum. On top of my career, I also own/operate my own computer services business. I have kept an open mind here and learned a lot and provided suggestions on which I have been complimented for providing as helfpul information.

    Kimsland: Having worked on virus eradication for many years, I agree with your perspective on AVG. It was the AV that we recommended for our users, but lately, especially since the switch to 8.0, it has become bloatware and misses alot of viruses/spyware or finds them but can't get rid of them.

    I have found your removal guide very useful, and its especially important since many people who come here for advice don't have experience, to provide them a methodical way to attempt to clean their system.

    Almcniel: Sorry if I didn't spell that right. I dont have the post on my screen. I also agree that keeping an open mind, is what keeps all learning and affords us the ability to help people make their systems better.

    it's all good, and good to talk. I would personally like to thank some of the more senior tech spot members for making me feel welcome here and for guiding me in the right direction if I go off on the wrong track.

  17. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear TS Enthusiast Posts: 237   +7

    Malware Removla Options

    As a newcomer to Techspot this thread makes for very interesting reading. Particularly the link from Kimsland showing the recommended cleaning procedure.

    I'm not an IT specialist or retail vendor, but simply an amateur home PC user and enjoyer of such.

    However, I have always been very keen to know which is the best security software to use. And for what it's worth, have spent many hours running hands-on tests with different brands of anti-spyware, anti-virus and firewalls.

    I would do each test on a freshly loaded ghost image of a full operating system which I had deliberately allowed to become infected by running it with no security protection and visiting multiple web sites, downloads etc.

    The procedure would consist of running one anti-spyware program, noting all the walware removed, and then restoring the removed spyware to the operating system from the "Recovery Vault". Then I would run the next brand of anti-spyware doing the same thing, and so on until I had tested all brands. This then gave an across the board spectrum of what each brand could do, and not do. If the removal of a particualr item of malware crashed the whole system, I would simply reload the ghost image and run the next malware removal program, to see if it detected and safely removed the same item.

    I was limited to doing this with freeware programs. Unfortunately, as I did this two years ago, my information is outdated. However, as has already been stated, while I couldn't find any one-shot fix-all, some programs were way ahead of others.

    I personally use AVG8 anti-virus/anti-spyware, backed up by Super Antispyware; and Zone Alarm fire-wall. I also use AVG RootIt Kit. I found the Microsoft anti-spyware pretty useless, and eventually went off Adaware and Spybot. I recently tried Avir anti-virus but for some reason it kept freezing up and simply would't run on my PC on either XP Pro or Vista Ult.

    For the registry I found Ccleaner good, but it did not have a restoration vault, and it was necessary to create back-up copies of registry items. My preferred option is Easycleaner by ToniArts. It is very safe on registry cleaning; automatically creates a restoration vault option for all registry items removed; found many more items than Ccleaner; and has many other functions.
  18. AtK SpAdE

    AtK SpAdE TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,495

    almcneil, I agree 100% that this is an open fourm, and of course you are allowed to post whereever you like so long as it within the TOS of the site. But you have to figure, is it needed? The method that is used in the Security section, is tried and true, I have pointed many people I know to it, and while it may take awhile, it has worked for them 100% of the time. Suggesting software in the middle of the thread that is not part of the instructions could get a little bit confusing for the average user. Of course it allowed, but is it courteous? Those guys spend alot of time looking over logs and dealing with limited knowlege users, so I think if they have a system that works, why cause a stir?
  19. BillAllen55

    BillAllen55 TS Maniac Posts: 368

    Dear Andy,

    I would like to provide you with some historical data about 'kimsland' and exactly who you are addressing when speaking in a rather discourteous manner. Personally I am one that is not an expert not even one that I would consider in your same class. However I've used compuiters professionally and personally for years and have been successful in keeping it running smoothly (for the most part) I ran into a problem a few months ago that had myself and others that I spoke to completely stumped. After taking my issue to 'Kimsland' it was an easy matter of carefully following directions and without accusation without making fun of my lack of computer savvy Kimsland directed me in successfully resolving the issue that NO ONE else was able to correct. So when you speak rudely and discourteously to Kimlsland you may wish to think long and hard as to who you are addressing. As I'm SURE I'm not the only one that has had this experience with Kimsland.
    (getting off my soap box)

    ----(wtihout signature)
  20. momok

    momok TS Rookie Posts: 2,265

    With so much said, AtK Spade's sig has an excellent link for all of us to refer to every now and then to see if we are in line with forum expectations. <-- especially part 2 onwards relevant to what we discuss here.
  21. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,277

    Dear Bill

    Well, I thank you for addressing by my given name, it really proves signing off works!

    Listen, I'm not saying Kim (or Kimsland) is incompetent. I'm sure he/she is and has helped many, many persons. My issue with Kimsland is his.her attitude towards the "open forum" concept and the role of the moderator. First I joked and shrugged off his/her complaints. But when he/she persists, I changed gears and became more blunt and sarcastic. I consider myself an experienced poster on forums as I bleong to many from computers to music to Obsessive-Compusive Disorder (I suffer from OCD.) This is only forum in which a moderator has complained about signing off. I found that strange and counter-intuitive. Further, there is no rule in TS forum guide that says you can't (there's also no rule that says you're supposed to.) Kimsland also argued AGAINST advice I was giving. Again, very unusual for a moderator of an open forum. Anyone can contribute whatever. Just be on topic and make some sense. Arguing someone's advice is wrong and only follow the TS Guide for Malware removal is not an "open forum" concept. That's my issue with Kimsland. He/she overstepping her authority as moderator and doesn't seem the grasp the concept of open debate.

    -- Andy (I sign off to be polite)
  22. momok

    momok TS Rookie Posts: 2,265

    Hi Andy,

    In fairness, I believe we have to be clear about the uniqueness of malware removal; on most other malware removal forums, simply posting in the same thread might get your post deleted, or even a temporary ban.

    The reason why malware removal is so different in this case is because it can potentially cause some serious damage to the user's system. I'm not sure about which instances that you are referring to, as I don't follow every single thread. In fact, I often see you posting alternative advice to the recommended one in the sticky guide, rather than directing members to completing that sticky.

    In some others, I've seen you give the user a 'good to go' kind of advice once the virus scan is clean. However, it is a very much understood fact in malware removal forums, that this is not the right way to do things as viruses and spyware often tend to hide beyond a simple scan. I've personally had an experience myself where one scan showed clean, but the virus appeared a while later. Considering such circumstances, I would say your advice was wrong, which is why it needs to be pointed out.
  23. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,277


    Thank you for addressing me by my given name. It really shows the signing off is working!

    Unfortunately, you have the same attitude as Kimsland. You believe in the "by the book" approach. That attitude has a serious flaw and that is, not everything is "by the book"! I run an in-home computer servicing business and let me tell you, I don't treat every spyware call the same (and spyware removal is 80% of my business!!) It depends on how much spyware is on the system, how bad the symptoms are and what the customer needs are. My approach varies depending on the situation. It's not always the same!

    One other point you made is, arguably, incorrect. Sometimes an anti-spyware utility reports that it could only remove 22 or the 24 spyware objects for a spyware program it detected. You argue that my "good to go" is incorrect as there is still infection. I say you're wrong because if 22 of the 24 spyware objects are removed, the spyware program can't run! (Not all the parts are there! It can't run!!) You also argued that one scan says it's clean "but the virus appeared a while later" Ah Momok, that means the computer got RE-INFECTED!! I've sen this a number of times. I removed the spyware but the customer continued to use the filesharing program, i.e. Limewire, and got re-infected!! You're getting too caught up in being perfect with the malware removal when in essence you don't need to be. Or, you confuse the results saying that the infection re-appeared meaning the initial removal was flawed. It wasn't, the computer simply got re-infected!

    There is one situation where I do the "by the book" approach. If someone casually asks me how to prevent spyware/virus, I give them my "PC Home Services Computer Maintenance Schedule" It's 7 utilities/steps they are perform regularly to detect/remove malware. In this situation, you go by the book because I'm not the one doing the removal each time, nor is the person saying they have malware and need it removed. They are asking what they need to do to remove it regularly. THEN I give them the "by the book" approach.

    -- Andy
  24. momok

    momok TS Rookie Posts: 2,265

    that happens to be my first desktop computer. After the scan, I never got connected to the internet, never exposed it to any external thumbdrives etc. It did not get re-infected, but rather, the virus had other files residing in the system that the virus scanner did not pick up. There are in fact thousands of malware out there that operate in this similar manner.

    If you have had plenty of experience fixing malware, you will realise what I mean. This so called 'by the book' method is used everywhere in online malware removal forums. By going against this tradition, you're not really just advocating open-forumness; you're going against the rest of the entire online malware removal community, not just techspot.

    It is in fact often highly ill-advised to go with just one or two different AV and spyware scans; even if they are good like SpyBot, there will always be plenty of files that they cannot pick up. That's the limit to automated scans, which is where malware removal forums come in - to provide 'human' help. That was why HijackThis was created in the first place. (and note: even HijackThis fails at times, which is why there are other utilities like avenger, combofix etc)

    PS. I addressed you by your name because I respect you wish to. But I would still suggest you simply approach Julio to change your username to your name if that's what you really want.
  25. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,277

    Once again Momok, you keep proving that you have a problem grasping the concept of "open forum" and complain that I have the problem. Its pointless trying to explain anything further as you are so deeply entrenched in your "by the book" attitude.

    I started this thread for this very reason: be open minded. I then gave two personal examples, one as a tech for Dell and another as an high tech engineer with 15 years experience. I pointed out that I learned from others. You and Kimsland seem to have a problem grasping that concept.

    -- Andy
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