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Solutions: System log may yield clues

In a previous response to a person who had whirring and clicking sounds when booting up, you suggested checking the system log. I checked mine and found one warning and several error symbols. What should be done with these?

Of course it all depends on what those particular error logs say. Sometimes they have descriptive text, but even then it can be hard to decipher what exactly is going on. In this particular case I would be looking for DISK source errors that may be resulting from hardware errors. is a site where you can enter the error event number along with the error source and receive more information on what may be wrong.

My computer was recently taken over by a program called System Tools and it was completely inoperable for 36 hours. Nothing worked. I kept getting a pop-up from System Tools telling me for $59.95 I could buy their program and this would restore my computer to its former operating condition.

Somewhere along the line you downloaded and allowed the install of this virus. Download and install Malwarebytes' free Anti-Malware from They also have a for-sale product, but the free version is all you need for now.

The file you will be downloading is mbam-setup.exe. Run the Anti-Malware program and have it do a full scan. Follow its recommendations to remove any problems it finds. Reboot.

Do you continue to recommend Microsoft Security Essentials as the best or one of the best overall security systems for a home user with Windows XP Professional? My system was recently infected with a Trojan horse, and I believe that somehow my Microsoft Security Updates were disabled, which is what allowed the Trojan horse to infect my computer. It cost me $75 to have it repaired and I did not lose any data. The tech shop who repaired it said there was a lot of "bad stuff" on my computer. I can't understand this (bad stuff) because my security setting is medium high. Is there anything else I can do to better protect my system?

Yes, I do still recommend Security Essentials. Now, keep in mind that no antivirus is going to prevent you from downloading and installing a Trojan if you override warnings or install programs from questionable sources. It's also imperative to follow safe and common-sense browsing habits. It's possible that the Trojan was active even before you installed Security Essentials, which could explain why the updates were not active. Make sure you use the latest Internet Explorer along with all the latest Windows updates and for good measure, run the MalwareBytes Anti-Malware program ( once a month to make sure nothing is going undetected.

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

Solutions: System log may yield clues 04/03/11 [Last modified: Sunday, April 3, 2011 4:30am]
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