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SOFTWARE

Introduction to HiJackThis for Windows XP
By: Codex-M
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    2009-09-21

    Table of Contents:
  • Introduction to HiJackThis for Windows XP
  • Principle of HJT in correcting issues
  • Installation, Doing a System Scan and Saving Log Files
  • Understanding the Log Entries

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    Introduction to HiJackThis for Windows XP - Principle of HJT in correcting issues


    (Page 2 of 4 )

     

    HJT analyzes your computer and produces a log which is presented to you. You will then analyze and classify the log entries as to whether they are:

    • Spyware/malware

    • Browser hijacking entries

    • Useless entries

    • Trojan exploits

    • Normal running processes from useful software

     

    You will only check the first four items; these are the items that needs to be removed from your computer. After "fixing," they will be gone and you can safely restart your computer.  

    The analysis phase is what consumes a lot of time. The scanning and fixing phrase is relatively short and easy. Bear in mind that HJT is not a substitute for an anti-virus or anti-spyware. It won't help protect your computer in real time (offline or online). Only use HJT when mysterious things do not disappear after using an anti-virus or anti-spyware program. It is still recommended to have the latest  reputable anti-virus/spyware installed on your computer.  

    The Importance of System Restore in HJT analysis  

    Before we formally begin a detailed analysis, a lot of HJT mistakes or tragedies have been caused by users that led to a complete Windows XP malfunction. The primary reason is accidental removal of important processes or entries.  

    Also, sometimes a problem is NOT a malware-related issue, therefore using HJT  cannot pinpoint the root cause of the problem. 

    No analysis is guaranteed to be perfect; even an anti-virus can misjudge certain issues. This is also true when interpreting HijackThis logs. Therefore, before doing any analysis and repair using HijackThis:  

    IMPORTANT TIP 1: ALWAYS CREATE A RESTORE POINT IN YOUR WINDOWS XP COMPUTER BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES  

    IMPORTANT TIP 2: NOT ALL SLOW DOWN COMPUTER PROBLEMS ARE CAUSED BY MALWARE; THEREFORE, CHECK OTHER FACTORS BEFORE USING HJT  

    Two of the good tutorials I have seen for correcting slow computer problem are the following: 

    http://www.aspfree.com/c/a/Windows-Security/How-to-Make-Windows-XPVista-Run-Faster/  

    http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic87058.html  

    Failure to create a system restore point or troubleshoot other factors can lead to a more serious computer problem or complete system malfunction. System Restore works by taking a snapshot of the entire computer system when you create a restore point. This is a very easy step, so make sure you have done this.  

    This means that if you accidentally made a mistake in fixing some issues with HJT (which can happen), you can safely return to the previous restore points and error-related problems will be gone.  

    A tutorial on how to manually create a restore point in Windows XP is beyond the scope of this article. You can refer to the standard Microsoft tutorial here:  

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/helpandsupport/getstarted/
    ballew_03may19.mspx
      

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