How to protect or to clean up a Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista machine

Last update: 12/02/2008

Nederlandstalige versie

Please execute all the following steps. They are not a guarantee that, whatever you do or whatever happens, your computer will be 100% secure. But without these elementary security measures, your computer will be very vulnerable to hackers and viruses, might cause loss of personal data and probably get you disconnected from the VUB network. The 'click here' hyperlinks point to the exact location of the program, and don't make you leave this page. The other hyperlinks point to pages where you can find the same programs as well as more information. You might want to open them in a new window so you don't leave this page.

Please bookmark this page, you will probably have to restart your computer a few times.

  1. Get and install the latest McAfee version from the softweb site:
  2. Make sure McAfee anti-virus is running with the latest virus definitions, use the Update Now function.
    If you have trouble using the automatic update, you can download the latest update manually from our local FTP, you will need the MOST recent (sort on date !) sdat####.exe file. An alternative is directly from the NAI site here.
    (Use e.g. an USB memory-stick or CD-R(W) to transport the files mentioned in points 1 and 2 to your PC if you have been disconnected from the network)
  3. Have McAfee do a complete On Demand Scan of your machine to remove all other virus and unwanted files. Repeat this until all viruses are gone. In some cases it is recommended to do a full scan while running in safe mode. (How to start in safe mode)
  4. If your antivirus keeps finding the same virus and is unable to delete it, get the latest McAfee Stinger to detect and remove these particularly nasty viruses (click here) then repeat step 3
  5. Run Windows-update to get ALL critical patches and service packs
    (Users who are disconnected from the internet, but still have VUB intranet access can do a Windows Update)
    You should do this on a regular basis, or activate automatic updates
    (For advanced users, here are local copies of the latest service packs for some Operating Systems:)
  6. Make sure that the Administrator and all other accounts with administrative privileges have a strong password, following the rules of passwords for e-mail at the VUB.
  7. If you are concerned about spyware, you can check out these two programs: (run them in the order below)
  8. If you still have network access, one can also opt for a "spring cleaning" all-in-one tool, named hitmanpro, found here:
  9. Some people feel safer with a personal firewall. On windows XP and Vista you can use the built-in firewall (How to activate windows XP firewall). You can also look for commercial or free firewalls.