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Keeping a Clean Computer

Best Practices for Avoiding Viruses, Spyware, and Slow PCs
Best Practices for Avoiding Viruses, Spyware, and Slow Macs
Recovering from an Infected, Slow, or Malfunctioning Windows Operating system
Recovering from an Infected, Slow, or Malfunctioning Mac Operating system
Computer Manufacturers Contact Information

Local Computer Repair Shops


Best Practices for Avoiding Viruses, Spyware, and Slow PCs

  • No P2P. The best way to keep your computer from becoming slow and breaking down is to avoid using P2P (peer-to-peer) applications (ex. Limewire, Frostwire, Emule, BitTorrent, etc). These often end up downloading viruses and spyware.  Information Technology (IT) strongly recommends you remove all P2P applications from your computer because they are notorious for downloading and installing viruses undetected. Always be careful when downloading any content to your computer.
  • Windows update. Install Windows Updates frequently. IT recommends you set your Windows updates to be automatically run on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Anti-virus protection. Make sure your anti-virus definitions are kept up to date and run frequent anti-virus scans. The IT department provides Symantec anti-virus for free to enrolled students.  Note: Do NOT install more than one anti-virus application onto your computer, as multiple anti-virus applications often conflict with each other and can cause serious system issues.
  • Anti-spyware protection.  Like the anti-virus software, make sure your anti-spyware definitions are kept up to date and run frequent anti-virus scans.  Below are some recommended options for free anti-spyware/malware scanner and removal programs for PC’s.

College provided Anti-virus:

Free personal use Anti-spyware:

Spyware/Malware Removal Tools: (One-time use only)


Best Practices for Avoiding Viruses, Spyware, and Slow Macs

  • Anti-virus protection. Make sure your anti-virus definitions are kept up to date and run frequent anti-virus scans. The IT department provides Symantec anti-virus for free to enrolled students.
  • No P2P. The best way to keep your computer from becoming slow and breaking down is to avoid using P2P (peer-to-peer) applications (ex. Limewire, Frostwire, Emule, BitTorrent, etc). These often end up downloading viruses and spyware.  Information Technology (IT) strongly recommends you remove all P2P applications from your computer because they are notorious for downloading and installing viruses undetected. Always be careful when downloading any content to your computer.
  • Mac software update. Install all updates when they become available. If you are currently having an issue, chances are there is an update you’ve been delaying that fixes it.
  • Turn on your firewall.  The OS firewall on a Mac is OFF by default.  So, be sure to turn it ON to protect your computer.
  • Don’t use Safari. Safari is riddled with security holes like swiss cheese. Use Firefox or Chrome instead. We also recommend installing the AdBlock Plus add-on in either browser, which can be searched and found under “Add-Ons” in the Firefox Menu, and under “Get Extensions” in the Chrome menu.

College provided anti-virus:


Suggestions for Recovering from an Infected, Slow, or Malfunctioning Windows Operating system

  • Run a cleaning utility.  Cleaning utilities, like CCleaner, help to clear out temporary files as well as clean the registry.  This can vastly improve computer performance.  We recommend running CCleaner every few weeks to keep your computer running smoothly.
  • Defragment your hard drive. This may help speed up your computer but won’t help with virus problems.  We recommend defragmenting at least once per month with Auslogics to keep you computer running smoothly. 
  • Run an anti-virus scan.  Beloit College IT requires that every computer that will be accessing the college network have a full, up-to-date anti-virus program installed.  The IT Department supplies Symantec anti-virus free to enrolled students.  For infected computers, we recommend running spyware or anti-virus scans in safe mode.
    • How to get in safe mode
    • Kaspersky provides a very good virus removal tool for free.
    • If you know the name of the virus, you should consider doing a web search for an anti-virus tool specifically made to remove that virus.  Some anti-virus vendors provide free tools or instructions for removing certain viruses as they come out.
    • Note: If you believe your computer is infected, different anti-spyware/anti-virus programs can detect different viruses.  Therefore, we recommend trying additional anti-spyware programs if one doesn’t find and remove the viruses on your computer. However, often different anti-virus suites conflict with each other when installed on one computer, so it is necessary to REMOVE each suite before you install the next one.  Many viruses cannot be removed unless you are in safe mode when running the anti-spyware or anti-virus program.  Thus, IT STRONGLY recommends installing the anti-virus software in normal mode and then run virus scans with the computer in safe mode. See the list below for recommended free anti-virus suites.
  • Seek professional help.  If your computer is still under warranty, call your computer manufacturer. If not, consider visiting a professional computer repair shop for assistance.  Note: Depending upon your warranty coverage, you may be charged for technical support by the computer manufacturer.

College provided Anti-virus:

Free personal-use Anti-virus:

Free Virus Removal Tools: (One-time use only)

Free Online Virus Scanners:

Suggestions for Recovering from an Infected, Slow, or Malfunctioning Mac Operating System

  • Quit unnecessary applications.  Check your active programs and make sure you don’t have excess applications running. On a Mac, an application can still be running even if all windows for that application are closed.
    • To see what applications are running, press and hold CMD and press TAB.
    • To switch to any application, continue to hold CMD and press TAB until the application you want is highlighted, then release CMD.
    • Then, quit the application via the menu (Application Name > Quit) or via CMD+Q.
  • Eliminate unnecessary startup applications. To stop an application from starting when you boot up the computer, click and hold the mouse on its icon in the Dock. On the menu that appears, uncheck the option “Open at Login.”
  • Restart your computer.
  • Run a cleaning utility. IT recommends downloading OnyX and running all scripts under the Maintenance tab and the entire Automation tab.
  • Verify/repair your hard drive. Open Disk Utility (Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility) then verify, and if necessary, repair your hard drive.
  • Verify hard drive permissions. In Disk Utility, verify, and if necessary, repair permissions for the hard drive.
  • Reset the PRAM. Shut down the computer and hold down Command, Option, P, and R while the computer boots. It will get to the white screen, then shut off and start up again. Hold down this button combination through several resets for the best results.
  • Run an Apple hardware test. MAKE SURE YOUR COMPUTER IS PLUGGED IN. Load the Application Install disk that came with your computer, then shut it down and turn it back on while holding down the D key. Then just follow the on-screen prompts. The brief test takes 3-10 minutes, and the extended test takes over an hour.
  • Seek professional help.  If all else fails, contact AppleCare technical support at 1-800-APL-CARE or take the computer to an Apple Store.  Note: Depending upon your warranty status, you may be charged for technical support.

College provided Anti-virus:

Free personal-use Anti-virus options for Mac:


Computer Manufacturers

Acer
800-571-2237
Alienware (Dell)
866-287-6727
Apple (Apple Care)
800-275-2273
Asus
888-678-3688
Compaq (HP)
800-HP-INVENT or 800-474-6836
CyberPower
888-900-5180
Dell
877-293-1197
eMachines (Acer)
866-586-2237
Falcon Northwest
888-800-7440
Fujitsu
800-8FUJITSU or 800-838-5487
Gateway (Acer)
949-471-7000
Gigabyte
626-854-9338
HP (Hewlett-Packard)
800-HP-INVENT or 800-474-6836
IBM (International Business Machines)
800-IBM-4YOU or 426-4968
iBuyPower
888-618-6040
Lenovo (IBM)
800-426-7378
Maingear
888-MAINGEAR or 888-624-6432
MSI (MicroStar International)
626-913-0828
Panasonic
800-LAPTOP5 or 800-527-8675
Samsung
800-726-7864
Shuttle
888-972-1818
Sony
239-768-7669
Toshiba
800-457-7777
Velocity Micro
804-897-6166
ViewSonic
800-688-6688
Voodoo (HP)
888-708-6636


Local Computer Repair Shops

Apple Store     (Mac)
18 West Towne Mall
Madison, WI 53719
(608) 827-9840
Best Buy Geek Squad    (Mac and PC)
2850 Deerfield Drive
Janesville, WI  53546
(608) 758-2156
Computer Business Services     (PC)
1406 Willowbrook Road, Suite 104
Beloit, WI 53511
(608) 364-1012
Home & Pro Electronics    (Mac and PC)
1701 Holiday Drive
Janesville, WI 53545
(608) 314-8700
Milwaukee PC    (Mac and PC)
2811 Milton Avenue
Janesville, WI  53545
(608) 743-1267
Premier Technologies     (PC)
617 East Grand Avenue
Beloit, WI 53511
(608) 361-1000
Staples EasyTech     (PC)
1810 Sutler Avenue
Beloit, WI 53511
(608) 361-0308
Stateline Computer Exchange     (PC)
420 East Grand Avenue
Beloit, WI 53511
(608) 365-2211

*Please note: These services are not affiliated with Beloit College or ISR in any way.