Utilities Karl Uses – for those who like to try and Do-It-Themselves
What I do for a living isn’t rocket science; however, real-world experience speaks volumes. In my 25+ years of experience, I’ve learned what works. The following utilities are focused mainly on removing viruses and other malware. Like the rest of technology, what works today may not work tomorrow, so check back often.
Below are the primary utilities I am using today to troubleshoot and repair the majority of my computer repairs. The listed utilities are not in order that I use them because that depends on the needs of the computer I’m servicing.
The following are direct links to the pages of the utilities I use most often (not exhaustive, but most common):
- Bitdefender Free Edition
- Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
- Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit
- Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit
- Emsisoft AntiMalware Download
- Kaspersky TDSSKiller
- ComboFix (Don’t use with Windows 8)
- Junkware Removal Tool (JRT)
- PC Decrapifier
- Uninstaller by IObit
- Windows Repair (All-In-One)
- Driver Booster
- Hiram’s Boot CD (HBCD)
- System Restore (Windows Utility)
- Startup Repair (Windows Utility)
- Built-in Hardware Diagnostics (Brand Specific)
Above are the direct links to the utilities I am currently using most. The following provides a little more insight:
With my Value Computer Repair for $75″ offering, I have the time necessary to run very thorough maintenance, system optimizations and repairs. For my premium on-site tech support, which is billed by the hour, I have to be more focused and efficient with my efforts.
For a dropped-off computer I will always run full hardware diagnostics and testing, and full scans with most utilities. If I am on-site, and billing by the hour, I rely on my experience to perform only the testing, repairs and optimizations that appear to be absolutely necessary to fix the issue at hand.
In the future I will write a post on how to boot to hardware diagnostics by brand. For now, here is the link to a Google search on how to boot to hardware diagnostics. You can add “on a Dell” at the end of the search, making sure to replace “Dell” with the brand of your system if necessary.
Hiram’s Boot CD also offers various hardware diagnostic utilities, as well as many other system utilities.
Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Utilities
Bitdefender Free edition is a cloud-based real-time antivirus protection that only requires registration to use. Currently, Bitdefender is the highest quality consumer-level virus protection according to AV-Comparatives.
In addition to Bitdefender, I scan my system for other malware and viruses with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit, along with many of the other utilities I listed above if necessary.
Maintenance and Optimization Utilities
Before I run antivirus and malware scans, if able, I run other utilities to clean up the system, making the scans more efficient. The tools I use most often to clean up systems are CCleaner, Slimcomputer, and IOBit’s Uninstaller. CCleaner, cleans up temporary files and performs routine cleanup of Microsoft Windows and various applications and browsers that may be installed on your system. Slimcomputer helps remove “bloatware” that is often pre-loaded on new systems that most people never use and only serve to take up space and resources. It also performs other optimizations if you so choose. IOBit’s Uninstaller allows you to batch uninstall programs on a system that are causing problems or taking up space. Most importantly, when it finishes, it claims to remove straggling files, folders, registry entries etc. that the program’s normal uninstaller leaves behind.
A new tool that I have recently added to my arsenal of utilities is Windows Repair (All in One). This utility is set up to work for Do-It-Yourselfers with a tabbed interface outlining various steps. This utility has allowed me to repair several systems that would normally require a format and re-install or repair install of the Windows operating system.
The easiest way to fix the most common everyday problems is to either restore your system back to a time that you know your computer was working correctly with Windows System Restore. Windows Startup Repair also fixes many Windows problems, including performing a System Restore back to when it thinks your system was working correctly.
Proactive Internet Security
When I am finished with an onsite appointment, I’ve recently added OpenDNS.org to the process. Because it requires registration and settings related to a user’s local network, I have not yet begun to add the OpenDNS.org configuration for computers that are dropped off. OpenDNS.org features include faster Internet browsing, Parental Controls, web-filtering, and automatic blocking of phishing and identity-theft sites.
Try these things are your own risk. I assume no responsibility. For instance, if your hard drive is crashing, it is possible that by doing these things you will further the damage of your hard drive making it less likely that you will be able to recover your data. Also, there may or may not be better utilities available. These are the utilities that I have researched and use based on the advice of others followed by personal experience through trial and error. What works for me may not work for others.
So what do you think? What utilities do you use and why?