Need to go "BACK"!

I let a friend use my computer and now when I log onto the internet, I am getting pop up screens galore!  I have a pop up blocker, etc.  Aso, my Start Menu contains things I did not have origainally programmed AND things are missing.  Help me.  I would like to go back to the way the computer was set up, or at least to last week!  Help on cleaning up start menu...keep it simple, please.  I am "computer challenged"!
Thank you.  Need help quick.  Need to access internet for job search.
JamieHollandAsked:
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JonveeCommented:
You could try booting with a Win98 boot disk.
Then at the A:\> prompt, type C:        Then press 'enter'.
Type CD \windows\command     Press 'enter'     (note the space between D and \)
Type scanreg /restore      Press 'enter'   (space between g and / )
Select a previous working Registry(with 'started' written next to it) prior to letting the friend use your pc.    Then press enter.
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JonveeCommented:
If you don't have a bootup floppy, you can get one from here ->
www.bootdisk.com

Alternatively, have you tried starting in Safe Mode, by rebooting the PC and rapidly tapping F8 key until the dos screen shows up?   Select safe mode.
More detail ->
"Troubleshooting Windows 98 Startup Problems":

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;Q188867#XSLTH3121121123120121120120
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JonveeCommented:
If you can reach Safe Mode, at the C:\ prompt type:
scanreg /restore    (space between g and / )
Press enter, & select a date prior to the problem starting.  
Now reboot.

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JonveeCommented:
Assuming you can manage to restore successfully, advise that you try at least two of these three, free virus scanners, as no scanner can guarantee finding & fixing everything.
http://www.grisoft.com/us/us_dwnl_free.php
http://www.pandasoftware.com/activescan/com/activescan_principal.htm
http://housecall.trendmicro.com

You may also have parasites and could try checking for Adware.   Check for "New updates"and download them before scanning:

Ad-Aware SE Personal v1.06
http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,7423,00.asp
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BillDLCommented:
Hi, Jamie

I like your blatantly honest self-appraisal : "computer challenged".  That allows us to get an idea of whether we are perhaps providing advice that might go over your head.

I agree fully with Jonvee in that you should run a FULL virus scan of your hard drive first of all, and then run an AntiSpyware utility.

AntiVirus programs generally will ONLY target KNOWN infections, and thereby allow you to quarantine the infected file(s) pending deletion.  You occasionally get problems where a Windows System file has been overwritten by an infected file, or has remained as the same system file but has been infected with a virus.  It's more common for virus-ridden files to be given a name that resemble a Windows System file, or to be given a name containing random letters and numbers.  In the event that a virus is hiding in a Windows System file, then you can have problems if the AntiVirus program deletes or quarantines that file.  We can cross that bridge IF you get to it, though.  Just make sure that you update the antivirus program BEFORE running it.

The popups are more likely to be caused by Ad-ware or Spyware, but programs designed to get rid of these bring some risks if you don't know what you are looking at when they show the final report after the scan and wait for you to decide what to do.  It is VERY common for Anti Spyware applications like Adaware to report normal, good, and useful registry settings, files, and processes mixed in with the bad and nasty ones.

That's the reason I'm explaining this in some detail, given that you say you are "computer challenged".

I use Adaware and find it pretty easy to use once you configure it.  The good news is that, if you end up allowing it to fix (ie. delete) something that turns out to be needed, then it allows you to restore the file or setting again.

Here's an excellent tutorial that runs you through installing, configuring, and running Adaware:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial48.html
Adaware also has a very good help file, so you can acquaint yourself with it before scanning your system.

If you are in any doubt whether to remove something it shows in its results columns, then leave it meantime and click the "Show Logfile" button.  Right-Click in the Logfile window and choose "Select All", then Right-Click again and choose "Copy to Clipboard".  Paste into Notepad or Wordpad, and save the document.
Edit it to whittle it down to only the "Critical" items found.  Ignore what it calls "MRU's".  These are just the entries left over in the registry for the "Most Recently Used" (or accessed) files that appear on the "File" menu of various programs.  You can delete all of them.

We would be able to advise you further and help you decide what to do if you pasted the basic details of the items reported in the log as "New Critical Objects" and "Objects found so far" under each of the sections.  If pasting here, try to keep it short (unlike my comments :-).

Remember, ALWAYS shut down and then restart the computer after getting rid of viruses or spyware/adware.

As Jonvee stated above when referring to AntiVirus programs, it is better to run more than one utility because some may miss one that another will catch.  So, as far as Spyware goes, you should then download HiJack This! and run it:

The links on this page may help you understand how Spyware, Viruses, etc work.
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial48.html
There is a good tutorial for HiJack This here:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial42.html

Download the program TO ITS OWN FOLDER.  This is important, because it will create backup files in that folder when run.
http://www.merijn.org/files/hijackthis.zip

It will produce a log which you should either copy and paste into the field provided on this page
http://www.hijackthis.de/en
or Save the logfile and use the upload button.
Click the "Analyze" button on that web page, and it will provide a report below that of what it identifies as being "Nasty" or "Possibly Nasty".
You will see a new link appear named "Analysis".  Right-Click on this and choose "Copy Shortcut".
Paste that shortcut here so we can look at the saved results and advise you what to remove.
The shortcut will be something like this: http://www.hijackthis.de/logfiles/<unique numeric reference>.html

PLEASE DON'T paste the actual logfile here, it is too long and takes ageas to read.

The general rule is that you can tick the ones reported as "Nasty", and allow HiJack This to "Fix" them.
Remember to reboot after this.

One thing you CAN paste here is a "startup log" which you can generate using Hijack This as follows:
Config > Miscellaneous Tools > "Generate Startup Log".

Any questions, just ask.
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BillDLCommented:
In fact, here's an alternative way to produce a report of startup processes and running tasks.
This is probably the first thing to address, because sometimes an AntiVirus or Anti-Spyware program won't be able to get rid of a file or setting if the rogue process is set to automatically run when Windows starts up.

Use the Start Menu as follows:

1. Start Menu > "Run" option > and type MSINFO32 > click "OK"
2. In the LEFT pane, find "Software Environment"
3. For each of the following sub-sections of "Software Environment", click on it and then use the "Edit" menu as follows:
         Edit > Select All > Edit Copy
4. Paste each into NotePad and save by the name of the section in MSINFO32
5. Copy and paste the details here ONLY if they are brief enough

Software Environment\
                                 Running Tasks
                                 Startup Programs
                                 System Hooks

Your list of startup programs will help you decide what you need and don't need (or want and don't want) to run automatically when Windows boots.

You can disable them using MSCONFIG (Start Menu > Run > type MSCONFIG > click OK) and untick the boxes in the "Startup" tab.  It is necessary to click the "Apply" button, then the OK button, and reboot when prompted.

It is advisable to LEAVE the following startups TICKED for now:
System Tray, ScanRegistry, and and TaskMonitor for now.

A helpful page to assist you in identifying common Startup items is:
http://www.answersthatwork.com/Tasklist_pages/tasklist.htm
but we would probably be able to help you to figure out whether they are essential for your computer or not.

Hope this helps.
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blue_zeeCommented:

I would like to add to all the excellent comments above an extra tool that targets also other pests, Trojans, Dialers, Worms and Spyware

a-squared Free
http://www.emsisoft.com/en/software/free/

Update after installing and do a full scan.

Good luck,

Zee
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JonveeCommented:
 > Need help quick <
Have you been able to fix your problem using any of the comments above, or have other difficulties arisen ?    You may like to report back on progress.   Thank you.
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BillDLCommented:
Thank you LeeTutor and GranMod
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JonveeCommented:
Thank you.
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