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- Posted on
August 24, 2006, 3:05 am
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from memory, so it's possible I'm mistaken about the source, but I
remember downloading Spyware Doctor from PCtools.Com to check for a
possible infection (found nothing real). Then I noticed that two
different compilers would no longer run, and the AOL software (I
ditched them long ago, but still run the software on occasion to get
into my own filing cabinet) wouldn't even start up. Time having passed,
I didn't connect the problems to Spyware Doctor until the VERY sharp
tech support folks at htsoft.com put me onto it.
After a bit of a google search, it appears that I'm not the only person
who downloaded this fake spyware removal tool from pctools.com (a
website I used to trust) a month or two ago. This proved to be one very
tough nut to kill (and I know most of tricks - and used several of them
here). I first uninstalled it (I thought I did that right after I first
ran it - I didn't like its intrusiveness), but it still showed up under
installed software. That left two files and a subdirectory under
\Program Files\Spyware Doctor, that wouldn't delete. Using TaskMgr I
killed sdhelp.exe and then was able to delete that file, though there
was no trace of it in any of the usual startup locations, and I think
I've got most of those covered. Still couldn't delete smpg.dat, which
windows claims is a video CD movie, but the internal header looks a
whole bunch like an EXE file. Booted to safe mode, renamed the Spyware
Doctor directory to "Delete Spyware Doctor", rebooted to normal
Windows, and presto, the compiler runs fine.
So henceforth I'll be very wary of pctools.com, though I previously
trusted them. And don't run any purported spyware removal tool without
checking the archives here! There's an awful lot of spyware out there
masquerading as protection.
Side benefit: my PC now runs much faster as well.