August 2010 AntiSpyware/AntiVirus

Dear All,

Sorry to bother you like this – an email appearing every year or so like this could be annoying!

I hope all your PC’s, Laptops, Networks, Printers and whatever else you have are all working beautifully.

There are a couple of things I thought worthy of passing on this time, the first of which is EcoBees.

I have been a member of the various local Freecycle (now Freegle) groups for quite a while now, and whilst I think they do an excellent job, of helping you get rid of stuff you no longer want effortlessly and for free, whilst also allowing you to request (and find!) the most unlikely things, there are in my opinion 2 flaws with the system. The first is that you might need to join a number of groups depending on where you live – I am a member of 5 covering Calderdale, Bradford, Leeds, Dewsbury and Huddersfield, parts of each all being easily in range of where I live. The second is that you either get huge numbers of emails, or very long summary emails, both of which are full of things you are not interested in, or are too far away to be economical to collect, or have already gone by the time you get back to them.

EcoBees isn’t regional, it is local to you, you say where you are when you register (free) and you then say what kind of categories of thing you are interested in, and you specify how far you would travel for each category. The result is that you then get relatively few much more relevant emails that much more closely fit your needs, all within your desired maximum travelling distance.

It’s brilliantly simple and even integrates into Freegle, not to mention Facebook and Twitter, so if you are desperately waiting for something that would go quickly – you get to know straight away! On top of that I’ve just heard they are now catering for swapping and borrowing too!

EcoBees is new and it’s rapidly expanding. If you help spread the word in our area it should really take off. More information is available from

The second thing is probably going to do me out of some business, but there have been a lot of calls recently regarding these rogue AntiSpyware/AntiVirus programs. Perhaps this little bit of advice might help you.

  • Ensure you have an Antivirus program, that it is up to date and working, and that it is running a full scan at least once a week. If you haven’t got one and don’t have much money then go for AVG Free (just Google it)
  • Grab yourself a good additional Antispyware program, and use it regularly, Malwarebytes AntiMalware (available from is excellent, as is SuperAntiSpware ( They both have free editions.
  • Run Disk Clean-Up (In Accessories / System Tools) regularly.
  • Just for good measure (it won’t help with a Virus or Spyware but whilst in System Tools) run Disk Defragmenter every month or two.
  • If you get one of these rogues that take over your PC as soon as you pass the welcome screen, then try invoking the Task Manager immediately after the Welcome screen by hitting the Ctrl, Shift and Esc buttons simultaneously. Sometimes you will get Task Manager if you are quick enough, and then, if you are lucky, you might be able to kill the offending program if it appears on the Applications Tab. If you do then start updating and running the above-mentioned programs straight away and keep your fingers crossed.
  • If that doesn’t work then my number is below, though please don’t ring to ask me to talk you through these steps, the idea behind doing this is to get me off the phone!