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Solutions: Get rid of WinReanimator— it's counterfeit antispyware

Q. I sent you an e-mail recently about the problems I am having with WinReanimator. Now I find another problem that may be related. The Windows firewall (Windows XP Home SP2) keeps turning off without input on my part. I have to reset it each time I log on.

A. WinReanimator is the latest counterfeit antispyware software that endangers the world of computers. WinReanimator usually installs itself onto your PC without your permission, through Vundo Trojan, virus or fake software. WinReanimator will display fake system alerts or fake security alerts to trick the user to buy the paid version of WinReanimator in order to remove the potential and reported problems. Likely error messages include, "Windows has detected spyware infection! It is recommended to use special antispyware tools to prevent data loss. Windows will now download and install the most up-to-date antispyware for you. Click here to protect your computer from spyware!" Not only does it cause your machine to slow down dramatically, it puts your privacy and data at risk. I have mentioned this many times in this column and I can't emphasize this enough: Don't ever click or download any program from a Web site that just pops up within your browser, no matter what it says. No reputable company behaves in this manner. The removal instructions are too involved to answer here, but the procedure is documented in many places such as www.xp-vista.com/spyware-removal/
winreanimator-removal-instructions-winreanimator.

Q. At some point in installing or reinstalling Windows XP SP2 or a user account, I managed to kill all the beeps, bongs and chords associated with the operating system. That is for one account only. The other works normally. I have looked and looked, but cannot find where they are turned off. Music over the Web or CDs works fine. How can I get it back?

A. Go to Control Panel, click on Sounds and Audio Devices. Click the Sounds tab. There you'll see available sound schemes or you can create your own and assign them to various Windows events.

Q. I have a Dell 2350 computer running Windows XP SP2, bought in 2003. I came across a file folder, I386, under Local Disc (C:). When I clicked on Properties, it contained 7,246 files and 51 folders. When I opened this file, under date modified, the majority were in 2002. Is this stuff Dell installed before sending out the computer and needed for its operation? Is this common for Dell only? I asked friends with other computers and they don't have a I386 folder.

A. The I386 folder typically holds the Windows install files. Technically they are no longer needed, but are sometimes handy to have available if parts of Windows need to be reinstalled. Unless you are in need of disc space, leave it alone. If you must delete it, make sure you get a good backup of it to CD first. Why is it called I386? After the 80386 Intel chip that was the minimal requirement for running earlier versions of Windows.

Send questions to personaltech@sptimes.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Get rid of WinReanimator— it's counterfeit antispyware 04/06/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 12, 2008 5:00pm]
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