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Computer keeps crashing - could it be a spyware attack?
Thread poster: Jana Teteris

Jana Teteris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:21
Latvian to English
+ ...
Feb 28, 2004

My computer has crashed a few times today, leaving a blue screen with a warning message informing me that my system memory is low and that Norton Antivirus may not be able to protect it.

I read somewhere that 'spyware' can eat away at a computer's memory and wonder if I might have been attaked? If so, what is the best protection? Firewall? But doesn't that take up a lot of memory?

I've done all the obvious, such as delete temp/temp internet files etc., but does that actually help? Incidentally, when I searched through the program files I came across 3 'programs' which I know I haven't installed, therefore can only assume that this was done remotely. They were 'Babylon translator' (whatever that is?!), 'Easycrypto' (written in v. bad English, so assume it is not legit) and 'web monitor'. I deleted them straight away.

Aside from my question about spyware, does anyone have any knowledge about the 3 'programs' I've referred to? Or am I looking at this from the wrong angle and is my computer, in fact, at death's door?

BTW, I have a MS Windows 98 operating system, with 63MB RAM.

All advice will be gratefully received!



[Edited at 2004-02-28 23:12]


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davidgreen
German to English
many possible reasons for "blue screen of death" Feb 28, 2004

First of all don't delete any programs, you don't know if these programs share things with other ones that you need.
Secondly, blue screens have many many different causes. Many of them are easy to repair.
My best suggestion is to write down the long number (and letters) that are on the blue screen and then enter them in google. For example
"error in vxd 1009238374" - this should take you to an explanation (perhaps a complicated one) of your specific problem.
after you have an idea of the problem, either follow the instructions you've discovered, or post it here again - someone can probably tell you what to do then.
don't worry, it might be a small thing, ok?


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Hynek Palatin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 18:21
English to Czech
+ ...
A few notes Feb 28, 2004

Jana,

Not only spyware, but also legit programs consume memory. So it's hard to tell why your computer crashed.

Deleting temporary files will not free any operating memory, it will only free some space on hard disk. You need to limit the number of applications running at the same time. This includes applications running in background that you might not be aware of.

I am not using Norton Antivirus, but I think it requires quite a lot of computer resources (including memory).

You said your computer had 63 MB of RAM. (I think it's actually 64 MB.) Well, that's very little. Actually, it's the smallest reasonable amount of memory for Windows. You should definitely add more memory, at least another 64 MB. The more, the better. (I have 1 GB.) Memory modules are cheap today, but it might be difficult to get them if your computer is very old (the new memory modules are not compatible with the old ones).

As for the software, it's hard to believe that is has been installed remotely. Anyway, Babylon Translator used to contain an advertising component (see the FAQ). EasyCrypto is probably legit. And there are too many references on Google to "web monitor", so you should be more specific.

What is the best protection? Apply all critical patches to your operating system. Use an antivirus program. And yes, use a firewall if you can.

You can search your system for spyware using Ad-aware or Spybot Search and Destroy (download the latest version).

Hope that helps.


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Jana Teteris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:21
Latvian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thankyou Feb 29, 2004

Thanks to all of you for your valuable advice!

I must admit I do tend to have lots of applications open when I'm working, so hope that this explains the problem.
But I realise I can't put off the matter of increasing the computer memory (or investing in a new one) & installing more protection.
So, thanks again for pointing this out!

[Edited at 2004-02-29 00:12]


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abborre
Denmark
Local time: 18:21
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Program for finding spyware Feb 29, 2004

Hi there,

I found a great free program for removing spyware. You can look on http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/

it is free to download and I have found it to be very useful.

You would be amazed at how much spyware it finds.


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Valery Legotin  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 19:21
Member (2007)
English to Russian
+ ...
Hardware OS protection Feb 29, 2004

Does anyone has experience of using OS protection PC card like HDDGuarder or HDsafe?

Valery


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jmadsen  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:21
Could be many things... Mar 1, 2004

Some time ago my computer kept crashing (totally unprovoked) showing blue screens (in spite of Norton AV, Ad-Aware and a firewall), and I couldn't figure out what it was. So I sent it for repairs, and it turned out to be the ventilator on the CPU that was clogged up with dust and dog hairs.
So that could also be it.
Open your computer and look for clogged up fans and give them a go with the vacuum


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Desi_vdb
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:21
Dutch to English
+ ...
don't vacuum! Mar 3, 2004

That is absolutely a very dangerous idea. Do not vacuum the inside of your computer! It is not a toy you are playing with.

You can try to clean your fan with a bit of paper taking care not to touch anything else, unless you know what you are doing. Make sure you are well grounded (not static). Vacuming your computer will throw you right out of warranty if you have any left.

As for win98 crashing. More memory is a good idea.
I was wondering, did you delete those programs straight from the program files folder? That is not the right way. It will leave a lot of that program in your registry. If you want to delete software, go to start-settings-control panel-add remove software. If you never deleted things like this, it might be a good idea to reinstall windows to start with (after a format and preferably writing zeros).

Try to work a bit in safe mode. (hit F8 regularly at booting up). Do you have the problem here too? (You won't be able to do everything in this troubleshooting mode though). Troubleshooting these kinds of problems take some time. As said before, there can be numerous causes. Good luck. Don't hesitate to contact me if you need help. I used to work for Gateway tech support in Europe, so I have some idea of what I am doing.


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Jana Teteris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:21
Latvian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
And the answer is..... Mar 3, 2004

Thank you for all the other suggestions as to what might be the cause of the problem. I would never think of vacuuming the computer myself.... even if it is full of my cat's hair!

I've been more careful about the number of applications I have open at any one time and am glad to report that there have been no crashes since Saturday. So *maybe* this was the cause.

But I'm looking into getting a new computer all the same....


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