questionswhere do you take your damaged computer?

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Definitely DON'T go for Geek Squad or any other national retail chain. Do go to an independent local shop that you can verify with good reviews.

I fix my own computer and have been doing part-time in-home computer repair for over 10 years. I've heard plenty of Best Buy horror stories and I wouldn't dare recommend it.

Just because it's skilled labor, you're probably looking at around $100. If you get someone who's inexperienced but still knows what they're doing, it could be in the $20-40 range, but then you REALLY have to be careful.

If someone was going to stand in front of a computer the whole time, it's about an hour or so to repair. However, a good shop doesn't do that. They start a task going, and walk on to the next computer. A virus like this takes 10-15 minutes of actual time in front of the computer, and then another 10-15 minutes to check over the system to see what else might need fixed.

And if the shop dare tell you that you need a new part to fix a virus, RUN!!

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I have a friend who will fix it for $50. Are you sure that you can't DIY?

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@jsimsace: I've been trying for two days now, I know it has to be a virus, just by the way the cpu is acting. I'm doing a full scan in safe mode and if that dosen't work, I'll find a local place.

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@mkentosh: The first thing you need to do is get rid of Norton. I fix my own problems. Get Hiren's BootCD (free download). Get the free version of Malwarebytes. Hiren's has a ton of diagnostic programs, and will boot from the CD even if your OS is wiped out. I've built my own 'puters as far back as '88, and have run across just about any problem imaginable.

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A LOT of viruses are designed to get around norton. have you tried any of the other free online virus scanners? there are a lot of them out there. i use avg, spywareblaster and spybot. i use to have adaware on also, but there were too many running. i know a lot of the people on this site use different free download programs. you might be surprised at what one might miss that another would catch.

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Have you tried Norton Power Eraser? Here's the link. If you have a valid subscription for Norton, they will help you remove a virus for $99.99. That may be cheaper than some places. I also agree with downloading the free version of Malwarebytes and letting it scan your computer. Maybe it will identify the virus you have and then we can help you remove it.

Edit: I have seen a virus actually disable Norton one time in my career but it was an older version. I'm running Norton Internet Security 2013 and to this day, I have never been hit with a virus (knock on wood).

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I had a humdinger one a couple weeks ago. Malwarebytes trial version fixed it right up. This virus was the first thing I've had that Microsoft Essentials didn't catch.

http://www.malwarebytes.org/

vote-for9vote-against

As others have mentioned, stay far way from places like Geek Squad. If anywhere, take it to a small tech shop.

Another option would be to request help from an online forum that specializes in that. I used to do this in my spare time. It can sometimes take a while, but it is free. If you go this route, good ones to check out are Bleepingcomputer, Geekstogo, and the Malwarebytes forums (only request help from one though, requesting help from multiple will irritate people as many belong to multiple forums).

Good luck getting your computer fixed!

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I take it to myself. If I can't fix it, chances are a local shop with their A+ certified techs won't either, and I'm certainly not taking it to a place that has techs with higher certifications, as all I really lose is my OS and programs installed on the C: drive, since my media, games, and documents are all stored on two other drives, so I just blast the whole damn OS and reinstall.
Try malwarebytes. If that doesn't work, chances are there isn't much that will.

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With the low costs of technology and the gross overpricing of tech specialists, I've always recommended to my parents that if the problem isn't something that can't be fixed by using a boot disc, to just invest in a neww computer.

Having a techy fix it for you will result in an overestimation of hours spent fixing it, as well as severely overpriced costs for the parts they will replace (RAM, HD, or Power Supply in common cases). I'm guessing your computer isn't less than a year old, and has probably been around for a couple. Drop $500 - $800 on a new computer and buy an external hard drive enclosure. After you set up your new computer, take your old hard drive out and put it in the enclosure to get all your data off your old computer.

Your other option is to spend $200 - $400 (depending on how much the screw you for cost of parts) for the geek squad to fix it. In my opinion it's worth it to just start fresh.

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Have your 19yo fix it with:

malwarebytes and if he could not get that to work superantispyware then malwarebytes.
http://housecall.trendmicro.com/ Free online virus scan
http://download.cnet.com/Malwarebytes-Anti-Malware/3000-8022_4-10804572.html Malwarebytes
http://download.cnet.com/SuperAntiSpyware-Free-Edition/3000-8022_4-10523889.html superspywareblaster

OR

Ask around, I do this work on the side. Per my customers the pros do not do as good of a job as I do. I am old school, if the PC has not had a reload for over 1 year, I back up data, format, reinstall the OS, restore data and, reinstall programs.

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I'll throw out another vote for Malwarebytes - it's my first stop whenever someone asks me to look at their computer because it's acting strangely. If you do a google search on the symptoms you're experiencing you can often find detailed, step-by-step procedures for cleaning out infections.

@dmaz: Seriously, toss a computer just because it's infected? Next time this happens please send me their computer instead of taking it to the dump. I'll even pay for shipping.

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Like many other people, I tend to do all my own repairs. I've heard horror stories about Best Buy, and I've cleaned up after people who advertise on CL. My advice is that if you are going to take it somewhere:

1) Back up your important files, if you haven't done so already.
2) Ask them up front what they are going to do, and how much it will be.
3) Ask them how they usually deal with a virus.
4) Ask if you can watch the tech work.

If you are uncomfortable with any of the answers, search elsewhere.

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If you're in the DC area, glad to help you out. No charge. ;-)

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On the DIY front: One thing I like to do - since a virus may actively mess up your system such that it can't be removed, I yank the drive, stick it in an external case, and attach it to another system.

FWIW.

Can't speak to Malwarebytes, but have used AVG and Avast! for years without problems.

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@dmaz: No. That is TERRIBLE advice! Buying a new computer because your current one has a virus? Do you buy a new car if your check engine light comes on? Also, if you put that old HD in an external enclosure, the virus is still on it. It will transfer to your new computer, depending on the type of virus.
I'll put in another vote for Malwarebytes; I work at a school as a network tech and it's basically all we use if there's data worth saving on the computer.

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Yesterday, I went to Best Buy and was told by the Geek Squad that all of my computer problems seem to be a figment of my imagination. Thankfully, my warranty with them will be over in February, and I won't have to suffer their threats of "if we suspect you let someone else work on your computer, it voids the warranty."

Seriously. I brought my computer to them because it was having kernel panics. They replaced the track pad and declared it repaired. WTF?

To the OP, I second the suggestions of trying something other than Norton. I had it years ago and my computer was still so riddled with viruses that it just had to be replaced.

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You have a friend of a friend who does it on the side, everyone does. It's just a matter of finding them.

Your life will be simpler and easier if you have your tech FoaF backup your documents & factory restore your machine. You did make the restore disks when you first got it, right?

After the factory restore, have them run pcdecrapifier and remove all the shovelware that installs itself.

Just let them know what you expect up front - backup DVDs and factory restored computer, and when it should be done - expect it to cost about $50. Pay in ca$h, and refer your friends if they do a good job.

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Thanks for all the advice everyone, I'm going to try a couple of things and if they don't work, then I'll look for a local place to handle it.

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At work we have unlimited access to internet. I have a bunch of people download viruses all the time. Malwarebytes, AVG, And Superantispyware are my go to programs, but they do not solve everything. These programs all have free versions you can download from cnet. Someone above gave you the website. Google is another AWESOME tech tip. Once you run a scan (online or one of the above) and know what virus you are dealing with, google it. There are all kinds of free fixes specific to each virus. HOWEVER, google reviews of the wesite you are going to download the fix from, before downloading otherwise you may end up with more problems.

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Cont:
If it is a Windows OS (XP 2003 personal or later), they have a recovery and restore option you can use as an option as well. Restore allows you to restore from an earlier time (before virus) and fix it that way. (Saves files, not programs installed after restore date. Will not delete virus per se, but have a chance to fix with programs above.) Recovery allows you to recover the system to manufacturers specs. (Original OS, no updates, wipes files and programs).

The option I would use as a last resort, or first if you don't want to take the time, is a small local tech place or your IT person at work. I work on my employees personals all the time. I like the challenge.

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I honestly wouldn't take it anywhere national. You'll pay too much for mediocre service. If you're computer illiterate, find a local computer shop and go there. If you're versed in computers, you can fix it on your own.

Download Malwarebyte's AntiMalware and Spybot if you dont already have them. Start in safe mode (no networking or internet) and run them both. Restart normally. It's almost a definite that the virus will be gone. And it wont cost you a dime :)

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Here is another idea. Many current viruses use rootkit technology and other means to hide themselves from scanners and make it difficult to remove them. I'd suggest using Microsoft Offline Defender. You download the file, then use it to create either a boot CD or USB key. Boot into the CD, and run the tool. This may solve your problem, and is nearly no cost.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/what-is-windows-defender-offline

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I use a local shop right down the road from me. They give free estimates, but basically anything they do is $69.99 plus hardware if needed at cost, with a 10% discount for a wide variety of folks. They aren't very sophisticated, they take a scorched earth approach to most software issues: back up the data and wipe the drive. However, they have successfully fixed all but one problem amongst my five computers, both software and hardware. They stand by their work and can usually get me my machine back within 48 hours.

But try to get some recommendations before choosing any shop. I bought a half price coupon for a different local repair shop on the far side of town and had difficulty getting my laptop in there due to their short hours. Its hard drive had failed and I'd gotten a friend to install a new one, but I needed an OS installed. They were calling me asking me how to do it. I finally asked them to just return the machine so I could take it back to my regular guys.

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Another vote for rescue disks/boot drives (USB, FTW!).
I have advised many a non literate family member to DL the "flavor of the month" rescue disk to successfully restore their machines to operation. (haven't done it in a while, so use above advice as to version)

j5 j5
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I'll also add that about 90+% of the time, a virus can be removed without reinstalling Windows or losing any data at all.

The worse your repair tech, the more likely they reinstall windows, and the even worse techs won't even know where to look for files to backup before they proceed.

The DIY approach might work fine for you, but it all depends on how much control the virus has taken over your system. If it blocks programs from running and such, it can require a lot of knowledge of the internal workings of Windows.

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I have to agree with @caffeine_dude
If, after two days, I don't have it solved with conventional/standard virus removal type of things...go for the shotgun approach. Backup (if not done already), and format C:\
Next step, re-install and start updating.
Note: I use Symantec as my primary Virus watch/removal software; however, definitely agree with the others about Malwarebytes -- good stuff. Always use that as a secondary when fighting viruses.

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Also, I was fighting with a pretty persistent piece of malware last week (the Babylon search redirect virus) and people gave me some good advice which led to my eventual success in getting rid of it. Here's a link to that page so you can have a look at the helpful advice I was given:
http://deals.woot.com/questions/details/b446b4d2-238e-40f0-9d31-dfe193ccb5bc/does-anyone-have-a-method-for-permanent-removal-of-yahoo-and-other-malware-search

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Depending on when this occurred, you can also load a windows backup. This is saved any time you update your windows OS. This will load data based on how your PC was before you got the virus. As a note, you will lose anything you've done since this backup, so be sure on dates before you proceed.

http://windows.microsoft.com/is-IS/windows7/products/features/backup-and-restore

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@mkentosh: Please keep us updated. If you identify the virus, this link does contain an automated removal tool if you don't feel comfortable fixing it manually. Good luck!

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I agree with @missellienc:, @mkentosh: please let us know what happened.