Bergesch Computer Services, Inc.
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Any suggestions, recommendations or ideas found on this site are applied at your own risk.  This page contains our opinions based on years of cleaning up computers and assisting customers with various problems... 

If you are getting redirected, i.e., want to go to one website but end up at another site, or you suddenly have all kinds of ads popping up, or get a lot of page not found (404) errors, or have any other strange/unexpected issues with the Internet, get your computer checked!

Junkware?  Hijacked?  Getting Calls?  "Support" number on the screen?

First things first - some quick reminders: 

When cleaning up machines, you may find the Internet browser home page and/or search results are changed (hijacked), often without permission and sometimes via deceptive means.  Typically occurring when you install a toolbar or other Internet junkware.  My Web Search, Conduit, Babylon and Start Now are just a few of the more popular home page hijackers we have seen. 

Some of the scams offering to "clean your PC", also install a variety of junk including online "vaults", tab hijackers, hot spot advertising and a whole host of undesirable applications.  The end result is the computer runs worse, you have unexplainable pop-ups, your home page and/or default search method changed, and sometimes much, much worse...

If issues remain after cleaning up, these articles may help: DNS settings in our November 16 newsletter, DNS Issues, Internet searches, Internet Explorer processes, downloading stuff.

An important note about antivirus applications:  Running more than one can cause problems.  It certainly causes a slow computer, but also, when installing an AV application with one already installed (expired or not), the new AV may not become fully functional, e.g., may not turn on a firewall because the other AV application's firewall is on.  So with all that out of the way...

What is junk?

A LOT! It is worthwhile looking at things installed on your computer via Apps and Features (Programs and Features) as some crapware installs without you knowledge! 

Here's a list of known junkware/crapware.

Also check

Other things you can do

Registry settings (popup "ads by ...")

We repaired a computer with problems also having an ad similar to this --->
But unlike those of the past, this one was not uninstallable, i.e., there was no application listed in Programs and Features.  None of the scanners would find a problem, so it was very frustrating to figure out how it even existed. 

This crapware used a combination of registry hijacks mostly through proxy server settings but there were other issues. 

Probably a good candidate to format and reinstall Windows fresh but we were on a mission and finally able to resolve it.  Briefly, here's how...

First: If you do not know what you're doing in the registry, DON'T GO THERE!

In regedit, find (F3) all occurrences of proxyenable - change the value from 1 to 0.  Just below those you will also find proxyserver with a value of or something along those lines, simply delete the entire key (on the right side).

Look in services, stop and disable "Proxy" service.

Delete any host files with a recent date from the c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc folder.

Use Autoruns and look for (and delete) new drivers, unknown startup items, etc. but be careful in there!

So with all that, we thought everything was ok, but that was not the case.  When we switched from network via local network connection to WIFI, a new problem occurred where the Internet would open to a page indicating "the server is under OpenX control" (something along those lines), even thought the address bar was 

So a little more digging we found the Wireless adapter drivers had very recent dates.  Connecting back to the local connection instead of wireless, we updated the wireless driver (from the device manager) which seemed to resolve that problem.

Remove or disable Add-ins/Extensions

See Browser add-ins

Hijacked Search engine? (Ask and others)

See our Address vs. Search article.