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This time on agonizing family tech support. . .

TetraNitroCubaneTetraNitroCubane The DjinneratorAt the bottom of a bottleRegistered User regular
I'm having a bit of a tricky computer problem, and I'm hoping that I might receive some advice about... well, advice.

Somehow, my parent's computer is obviously infected with Zlob and Smitfraud instances. This is probably due to the rampant use of Myspace and Facebook by relatives who would just as soon install strange codecs as take candy from unfamiliar balding men in white windowless vans. I've tried my damnedest to help them over the phone, and after afour-hour marathon I helped them to run their virus protection (McAfee) and Spybot S&D. This proved to be more trouble than it's worth. After five times of forgetting where the 'Start' buttons is located, I realized that instructing my parents to run SmitFraudFix or any other better anti-virus or anti-spyware software would be agonizingly difficult for all parties involved.

I'm curious as to what the best option would be for them in terms of a professional clean-up. Personally, I think a reformat/reinstall is in order, but anything to help them out would be great. I've heard horrible things about Best Buy's 'Geek Squad', but I don't know of any other stores that do this kind of maintenance. Does anyone have any advice for what I should suggest in terms of a more competent, professional cleanup service? All of the local 'computer guy' shops went out of business in my home town years ago, so I'm thinking a store is the only option.

Thanks in advance.

TetraNitroCubane on

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    FyreWulffFyreWulff YouRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2008
    the smit-etc removal process is something you'd really need to be able to do in order to fix it, so if you're stuck with talking to them, tell them to re-install.

    Then update Windows.

    Then instruct them on downloading and installing Avast.

    FyreWulff on
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    TetraNitroCubaneTetraNitroCubane The Djinnerator At the bottom of a bottleRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    the smit-etc removal process is something you'd really need to be able to do in order to fix it, so if you're stuck with talking to them, tell them to re-install.

    Then update Windows.

    Then instruct them on downloading and installing Avast.

    I agree with you completely, but see, even reinstalling windows is going to be beyond them, let alone getting the whole thing set up with their programs and whatnot afterward - which is why I'm wondering where they might be able to take it for assistance. In other words, is there anywhere else beyond Best Buy that's a national type chain store that'll do this kind of work?

    TetraNitroCubane on
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    yalborapyalborap Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    the smit-etc removal process is something you'd really need to be able to do in order to fix it, so if you're stuck with talking to them, tell them to re-install.

    Then update Windows.

    Then instruct them on downloading and installing Avast.

    I agree with you completely, but see, even reinstalling windows is going to be beyond them, let alone getting the whole thing set up with their programs and whatnot afterward - which is why I'm wondering where they might be able to take it for assistance. In other words, is there anywhere else beyond Best Buy that's a national type chain store that'll do this kind of work?

    I think Circuit City does the same thing.

    You could also look in the yellow pages for 'PC Repair' or 'Computer Repair'.

    Or just do it yourself via remote control methods(VNC, I think there's one built into Windows, etc.).

    You could also rig them up with some sorta Web-TV style rig for their Myspacin' and Facebookin', and keep their computer off the goddamned internet for when they actually need to work.

    yalborap on
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    FyreWulffFyreWulff YouRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2008
    Oh, in that case the only mostly decent one is Best Buy.

    FyreWulff on
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    MrMonroeMrMonroe passed out on the floor nowRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Just remote desktop it and do it yourself, then give them a little web safety seminar over the phone.

    Geek Squad is not a good idea. Those guys are trained vultures, any time they sense they can get something sold they'll do it, and it sounds like your parents are the kind of people who would buy.

    MrMonroe on
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    1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    MrMonroe wrote: »
    Just remote desktop it and do it yourself, then give them a little web safety seminar over the phone.

    Geek Squad is not a good idea. Those guys are trained vultures, any time they sense they can get something sold they'll do it, and it sounds like your parents are the kind of people who would buy.

    Depends on where you go. Some stores are honest and really believe in the brand, some are exactly as you say. Just tell them to go in and explain exactly what they use it for. "Myspace/Facebook" and "Internet" use is keyword for $199 Advanced Diag and Repair; they test the hardware, then run at LEAST 5 PE-based (Pre-Environment) virus and spyware scans. The store I used to work at I can vouch for; Park Ln and 75 in Dallas. It's a simple process, but they'll be out $200 AT LEAST.

    If the computer is old, forget it. Don't let them take it anywhere. Just buy a new one and put some damned anti-virus and anti-spyware on there.

    1ddqd on
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    urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Geek Squad is not a good idea. Those guys are trained vultures, any time they sense they can get something sold they'll do it, and it sounds like your parents are the kind of people who would buy.

    I take offense to that. I never had the heart to charge more than I deemed worthy for a repair.

    ...I guess that's why I'm not working there anymore.

    urahonky on
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    BucketmanBucketman Call me SkraggRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm the Tech guy at my local Staples and were not very expensive (Best Buy charges $120-150 for virus removal and were $90) and its usually slow enough they can work on it same day (at least here barely anyone know we DO tech work at all in store.) I'd try that, they will try to sell them something but only if its red flagged by the scan software (You have 128 MB of ram and are trying to run Windows Vista? You should buy more RAM). Other then that I'd say try a local place.

    Bucketman on
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    1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Just a correction, Bucketman; Geek Squad will charge you $200 if it's a virus; the diagnostic is $59 and the removal is $139

    1ddqd on
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    BucketmanBucketman Call me SkraggRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    1ddqd wrote: »
    Just a correction, Bucketman; Geek Squad will charge you $200 if it's a virus; the diagnostic is $59 and the removal is $139

    Jesus christ. We've had a lot of people comming in for tech work this week, I was wondering why. I guess our last Sunday ad advertised it and people were tired of paying that much at Best Buy/Circut City.

    Bucketman on
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    DixonDixon Screwed...possibly doomed CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Shit man thats a lot of money, we charge 39 for diag and the total cost is anywhere from 69-99 depending on how it goes

    Dixon on
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    TetraNitroCubaneTetraNitroCubane The Djinnerator At the bottom of a bottleRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Thanks for the advice, guys. I appreciate it overall. I've been slow to respond because things are moving slowly thanks to the distance involved, but the remote desktop assistance sounds like it might be the way to go. I tried that this morning, but I couldn't establish any connection (even after making sure the ailing computer was set to receive and accept incoming requests). Is it essential to be on the same network? I'm guessing I'll have to VPN into the local ISP if I want to connect via remote desktop, but I think I may be just be ignorant of the software.

    As for the costs of repairs, uh, ouch. That's steeper than I'd imagine.

    Edit: Just as a clarifying point, the copmputer that got infected was up to date with Anti-virus software. They run McAfee, but obviously that's a load of shit if this crap got through. I use NOD32, personally, but I'd gather the software would be way over their heads. Is Avast or AVP user-friendly or invisible enough to be good for less-than-computer-literate folks?

    TetraNitroCubane on
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    urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Bucketman wrote: »
    1ddqd wrote: »
    Just a correction, Bucketman; Geek Squad will charge you $200 if it's a virus; the diagnostic is $59 and the removal is $139

    Jesus christ. We've had a lot of people comming in for tech work this week, I was wondering why. I guess our last Sunday ad advertised it and people were tired of paying that much at Best Buy/Circut City.

    Actually it's probably because the wait at the Geek Squad is out the door. For reals, the budget at my store in a lame part of Ohio was about 6 grand a day. And we were normally at about double that.

    urahonky on
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    1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    It *is* possible to have a 3 day turn time, but you break SOP doing it.

    Avast is simple and good - I recommended it highly for a while, but then I saw I got Trend Micro for 8 bucks and decided that was a deal.

    1ddqd on
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    WulfWulf Disciple of Tzeentch The Void... (New Jersey)Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Also, and I've found this to be key when dealing with our sales people over the phone... Make sure that they understand not to do anything but what you tell them. I can't count how many times they've gotten 'distracted' and starting doing something else on their computers or trying something that I didn't tell them to do, which has made working on the original problem difficult.

    Wulf on
    Everyone needs a little Chaos!
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    El GuacoEl Guaco Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I use this: http://www.realvnc.com/

    It's a simple program that allows anyone with the password remote control of that computer. It's simple and effective.

    I've dealt with techno-challenged relatives before. When my brother's father-in-law asked me about his dying PC that was infected with spyware, I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Go buy a Mac." It was not the answer he was expecting, but he did it and he's been happy ever since. I don't own a Mac and I need a PC for what I do, but Goddamn sometimes I'm tempted to buy one to make sure no one can screw over my computer. No offense to the OP, but I don't think your family should be allowed near a PC if they are "accidentally" downloading por- er, Facebook stuff that is obviously suspect.

    Every time I hear a story like this I think of the Dave Chappelle episode where he imagined what the internet would look like if it were a real place. "Want to see Halle Berry naked?" "Yes, I do!" But what should have followed is this: "OK, stick your junk in this vice while we turn it." "OK. OOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWW! I don't see Halle Berry." "haha, sucker, you have crushed nuts and Hep-C. Bye!"

    El Guaco on
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