I’m starting to become a convert to the cause of Macs.
I spent much of the past week trying to clean up after my computer got hit with some malware, and I’m still not completely sure it’s entirely gone even after running multiple anti-malware and anti-virus programs for HOURS of my life I’ll never get back; two Windows background programs trigger anti-virus warnings and warnings from Windows Firewall when they shouldn’t, and I still can’t get to microsoft.com or any part of it without being redirected to a Hotmail login screen, on my laptop only.
The worst part, though, was that the virus apparently wiped all of Microsoft’s tools for protecting against malware and that sort of thing from the registry. That wouldn’t have been that bad, except Microsoft seems to be slow on the uptake about this for some reason, because I had to spend copious amounts of time hunting through various forum threads for every single program (not helped by the aforementioned microsoft.com issue) where the correct and rather simple solution was almost never the first one suggested and often reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling Windows was brought up, often by supposedly trained Microsoft professionals, before some random dude shows up and solves the problem in a single link – always a link to a .reg file that, when run, puts the necessary stuff back in the registry automatically. (Not that I’m not considering reformatting and reinstalling anyway, given how far-reaching these tentacles are.)
So, in the possibly vain hope that no one else has to go through what I went through, I provide this handy list of the requisite .reg files to restore these programs to the registry. If I’m missing anything that should be there but isn’t, leave it in the comments. You may want to back up your registry before making any changes. Before starting, open the Start menu and click on the search box or “Run”, type services.msc, and run it, then verify that the below services are missing from the list.
Windows Security Center: wscsvc.reg (located inside ZIP file)
Windows Firewall: bfe.reg AND firewall.reg (You will need to run regedit from the Start menu search box or Run dialog, find the folder “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\BFE”, right-click on it, choose Permissions, and give at least yourself and possibly “Everyone” “full control” using the Add button; then go back to services.msc, find “Base Filtering Engine”, click it then click Start on the left side of the window, then click Windows Firewall, and click Start in the same place)
Windows Defender: windefend.reg
You will need to make sure to restart your computer after running these.