Question about Dell Dimension PIII Tower Computer XPST500 PC Desktop

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The problem has been a series of smaller problems which progressively resulted in a lock or freeze. The few times it does not freeze, a screen flashes on selling a Spyware protection. I think my husband accidentally let this software in hoping to solve the series of problems mentioned above. The Dell technician says the Spyware software is the problem and I need a virus removal to be done. McAfee will charge $45 up and Dell can't do it. Can you help me? Might worth mentioning that I had a McAfee Virusscan Plus subscription which was not working. McAfee asked me to uninstall and reinstall but with the computer on freeze, I cannot even do as suggested.

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  • jsaragon Jan 05, 2009

    I am going to try the solution you suggest. It will take me sometime before getting back to you. Thank you, meanwhile.

  • jsaragon Jan 05, 2009

    BTW, I have a tower marked Dimension 4550.

  • jsaragon Jan 05, 2009

    To knotbeerdan - Computer does not freeze when I am in safe mode.

    To eastsideddie -
    I followed steps you suggested and got as far as solution 2 (click on safemode networking).
    From there I could not access my mcafee anti-virus software. Tried Windows security but could not install anything when I am in safe mode.
    Question could I install Avast and use it to proceed to steps 3 and 4?

  • jsaragon Jan 06, 2009

    To: knotbeerdan, your suggestion to go safe mode, run boxes and do msfig helped very much. The steps unfroze my computer. Thanks. I will provide feedback later.

    To: eastsideddie, now that my computer is unfrozen I was proceeding to steps 3 and 4 (install viruscan and scan) you suggested. I checked on Avast and they charge a membership fee and then a member can downoad their antivirus free. So I am attempting to reinstall the McAfee Antivirus Plus as I have a current subscription. My problem now is I cannot access the McAfee link. The message I am getting is "failed to connect". So I am working on this today. I will let you know what happens. Thanks.

  • jsaragon Jan 06, 2009

    I was running safemode with networking but when I tried to reinstall McAfee I reverted to the normal mode. I will try avast home edition again and run it while on safe mode.

  • jsaragon Jan 08, 2009

    This is an update on the problem which knotbeerdan and eastsideddie had been helping me to solve. Working on safemode, I still am not able to download McAfee or Avast getting the message 'failed to connect".
    McAfee Tech suspects I am infected with DNSChanger Rojan which affects security companies. To verify if I have the virus, they told me to:
    Start, Run, type cmd.exe. Then ipconfig/al. If DNS servers show or then I am infected. I did not find these numbers and therefore I am not infected (?). I stopped at this point instead of proceeding to the suggested solution. I went back to McAfee to tell them this but I have not heard from them.
    Your comments are welcome.

  • jsaragon Jan 08, 2009

    I am typing this comment for the second time because I forgot to click on 'add a comment'.

    The reason I am not desperate is I have a desktop Lenovo and this Dell laptop I use to communicate with you, both working well so far. But I will now take your advice to reinstall Windows from a disk after saving my more important info on a thumb drive (Walmart, did you say?) to give this computer (Dell, circa 2003) with an issue one more chance. Failing that I will take your last resort advice to buy a new computer, preferably Apple, if there are bargains out there.

    I will keep you posted.

  • Dan rogers
    Dan rogers May 11, 2010

    does the computer freeze automatically when it boots into windows?

    Have you tried booting into safe mode? Do you get the same result?


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When you boot in safe mode open the run boxs through the start menu and type msconfig and once the box shows up click on the startup tab. Once the list is displayed click on any programs that are not needed to remove the check from the box. Or if there are any programs you recently installed remove them from startup and your computer should boot normally

Posted on Jan 05, 2009

  • Dan rogers
    Dan rogers Jan 08, 2009

    I am in agreance with eastsideeddie the best option here is a fresh install of windows. Before you re install or get a new machine start your computer in any mode that will allow you to run windows without errors and back up your my documents folder and any others that you may have created that contain important information. You can back up your files by burning them on a cd or the easiest way in my opinion is to move them onto a thumb drive. (just got one at wal-mart for $5) Let us know how you are choosing to proceed and we will try to provide you with further assistance


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Try starting your computer in safe mode and do a virus scan once in safe mode. While in safe mode Windows only loads the basic devices to run your computer and usually viruses are not loaded untill windows starts in regular mode. Don't panic once you are in safe mode and your screen looks all grainy, this is normal. 

  1. Restart your computer and press F8 as soon as you turn it on.
  2. Click the "safe mode with networking" option
  3. Update your antivirus
  4. Do a full system scan
  5. Restart your computer and hope for the best.
If that doesn't work, than reinstall windows.
If you need further assistance, let me know.
Avast is the best free antivirus there is. google it, install it, and enjoy your computer again.Another option is to reinstall windows. If you have the cd that came with the computer than put it in the cd rom and restart your computer and follow onscreen instructions.

Posted on Jan 05, 2009

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  • Stephen Jan 06, 2009

    Yes you can install Avast from safe mode with networking, actually when you install Avast, it tells you to restart your computer, than does an indepth scan even before windows boots. So inconclusion, install avast from safe mode with networking and disregard steps 3 and 4.

    Good luck.

  • Stephen Jan 06, 2009
    There is a home edition that is free. Avast professional you have to pay for. I would strongly recomend avast home edition over macafee, but the choice is yours. You are running safe mode with networking correct?

    Good luck.

  • Stephen Jan 08, 2009

    At this point I think it is just best to reinstall windows, all you have to do is put the windows cd into the cd drive and restart your computer and windows takes it from there, you well be asked if you want to format the drive, when this happens, select yes and don't choose the 'quick format' option, the other option takes longer but well surely delete anything on your hard drive. Be warned that you well loose all your data, but id there is anything that you need on the hard drive than there is data recovery specalist that can get it for you - at a permium price.

    The other option is just buy a new computer ( they are very affordable these days, in my opinion) count you losses and move forward with a new computer that well be so  lightning fast that you well wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

    Keeo me posted. and good luck!


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