How to check your windows PC for Spyware

The spyware bug

Why is my computer so slow?

Most people believe that running an Anti-Virus program will also protect them from spyware, but this is not the case. I am a tech support professional and at least once a day I hear from a customer who is having issues with their internet connection speed and they think it's the fault of the ISP (internet service provider).

9 times out of 10 this is actually not an ISP issue at all. Most of the time the computer is bogged down with spyware and that spyware is using up the connection. Spyware comes onto the computer from all different souces. Websites like Facebook are notorious for spyware that latches onto your computer and reports back findings on what you look at on the internet. The spyware can then target ads on the internet pages toward your preferences. A very interesting marking tool but a huge problem for us consumers.

The following is some basic instructions on how to quick check your PC for spyware and some suggestions on what you can do to remove it.

Netstat (windows xp, vista, 7)

What is "netstat"?   I hear you all saying in the background.  Well, that is the command we are going to use to check your computer for spyware. 

Before we do so though, lets check your internet speed...

speedtest.net is a great place to check the internet connection speed of your computer.  Some people will see windows running the connection at 100.0mb but that is an incorrect reading that Windows gives you.  It is best to check your speed from a local site as well, so if Speedtest.net is not working for you, your ISP may have a speed check area on their homepage.

Now that you have noted your download and upload speeds (upload will always be significantly less than download and that is correct) lets get on to checking for spyware.

Keep the internet window OPEN that you were using to do the speed test.

On your desktop -

Go To: Start ----> All Programs or Programs ----> Accessories ----> Command Prompt

You will now have a "little black box"

It will say something like C:\Users\Josh>

you will being typing right where your cursor is flashing.  Type out netstat and hit your enter key on the keyboard.

You will then see a population of data appear (unless the computer is clean and then you will just see the title bar)

The column titled "state" is what you want to pay attention to.  Count up the total connections (it is not done finding those until you see the same C:\Users\Josh> prompt at the bottom.  Out of the total connections anything that says "established" is generally spyware.  Note down the amount of total connections then count up just the established connections.

Generally if you still have more than 5 established connections you have spyware.  Especially if those connections are closed once you close the internet window. 

Now, CLOSE all internet windows and re-run the netstat test.




How do I fix this?!

So you have found spyware, and now you are wondering how you free yourself of it.  There are several removal programs that are a paid service, but the one that I like to use is completely free. It is called Spybot Search & Destroy and it is found on download.com

*Disclaimer: Though I am making a recommendation to download this program, anything found on the internet is at your own risk.  I have personally never had a problem with the site or this download, but I will not guarantee the content of anything that is downloaded from the internet.

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