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Friday, January 16, 2015

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What is Malware? How do I Fix or Remove it?

Malware - What is it? and How I fix or remove it?

So you're browsing the web, reading up on your favorite news site, catching up with friends on your favorite social media platform, and popups start coming out from nowhere. You didn't open them, so how did it open by itself? If this has happened to you, you most likely have a PC infected with Malware. But don't fret, it's generally fixable with the right tools.

Malware (as defined by Wikipedia) is short for malicious software. Which is any software used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. And quite frankly, it's becoming more and more of a threat to our everyday internet experience.

What can you do to lessen your risk?

Malware can come from a variety of different places. It could come from an infected website, or packaged inside a recent program install you may have done.

Being careful on what websites you visit, what links you click on, etc will play a major role in preventing yourself from getting malware. If you're not familiar with the link/website, or not expecting it, stay away from it. This time of year they like to send out emails that resemble shipping notifications that you'll have to click on to check the status, but be VERY careful that you're really expecting something shipped, AND you're sure the email is from the right person/company. They do a pretty good job of tricking you into thinking it's real.

Another way you get malware is by downloading and installing various programs. As you go through the program install, sometimes you'll see it ask to install other programs too. We always want to make sure we choose NOT to install these. It's good practice when going through an install to choose the "custom install" option, and verify on each screen what they're asking to do is OK with you. They'll get tricky with wording, and hope you just speed click your way through it and not notice it. But now that you're aware of the tricks, hopefully next time you'll catch it before it even gets installed.

What can you do to clean your PC if you've been infected?

Consistently, the top tool to clean up your infected PC would be Malwarebytes. But be sure you ONLY get it directly from their website: Best of all, they have a fully functional free version. Get the free version and scan your PC. Then quarantine any infected items found. Rescan until the scan comes up clean. Remember to scan your PC regularly (at least once a month). If you want to upgrade to the paid version, you can set it to auto scan your PC every so often, plus it will continually monitor your PC for malware. You can get the full version here: Malwarebytes PRO Lifetime
Note: there is a cheaper "Premium" option. But that is a 1 year license. Spend the couple extra dollars and get the lifetime license instead.

Also, its always good to make sure your virus software is top notch. Visit our guide on what virus software we recommend!

After you have cleaned up your PC, I'd like to invite you to come back and comment below on the # of infected files you have cleaned up!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Every PC MUST Have THIS piece of Software installed!

The AntiVirus Software Your Tech Coach Recommends

So you're working on that last minute project, craft design, or paper for school. Doing your research on the world wide web and BOOM, your PC starts acting up. Windows start popping up from nowhere. Pages open that you didnt want. Warnings about all kinds of different scary things. Even warnings suggesting that you have a virus and "click here to download the program to remove it". CRAP! Now what!? How do I finish my report when I can't even get back to the page I need! Virus's use all kinds of tricks to get people to install them. Other than doing your best at only clicking on what you know is safe, the backup plan is to have reliable antivirus software. And don't worry, you're not alone. We've all had it happen. But we're here to help!

Antivirus software is a big hit or miss industry. Some places charge big bucks for it, some give it away for free. Some options are just about as obtrusive and annoying as having a virus itself! But which one should you get? Which should you trust? That's the question!

The "Best" Anti-Virus options can change from year to year. While one software creator may get the nod one year, there may be another option that surpasses them the following year. Plenty of websites run various polls and tests on the subject, but I tend to lean towards the folks over at They've got a great site with a vast array of general tips, suggestions, cheats, etc to get you through your daily life as simple as possible. Just what we like.

For 2014, they ran a poll for the Best Antivirus. They ran a previous post where everyone could post up their favorite antivirus solution, and vote on them. They then took the top 5 and compiled another post and had everyone vote on just those. Avast! Free Antivirus got the most votes by a long shot.

Here at Your Tech Coach, we'll save you the research time on all this and give you the nitty gritty. What Antivirus should you use? We agree with the folks over at LifeHacker and suggest Avast! Free Antivirus. It beat out even the "paid" options by a long shot.

But what about all the big "paid" options? Here at Your Tech Coach, we want the best solution for our dollar (or even better, FREE!). The big name paid options have never proven their worth versus other free alternatives. And quite frankly, most of them add in so many other features besides just antivirus protection, it prevents you from doing things you WANT to do, it bogs down your computer, and can just be a royal pain in the booty. A lot of experienced tech's out there will tell you those guys are about as bad as a virus itself.

The only thing with Avast! Free Edition we really don't care for is the "Sound" notifications. Rather than just an old popup saying your virus definitions have been updated, or a recent scan completes it "says" it out loud. I don't like random, comments or noises coming out of my speakers when I don't expect them. Luckily, you can turn this feature off. Just see below.

Simply open the Avast! User Interface:

Next, choose the Settings option in the lower right corner, as shown below:

Locate the section named Sounds:

Then UN-check the box labeled Enable Avast Sounds:

Last, select the OK button at the bottom of the screen to save your changes:

Have you fell victim to a PC Virus? Let us know in the comments below and we may use it in a future blog post!

Want know how to be more productive and efficient while working at your computer? Click here!