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Clean up your PC

Today, I am asking you to do yourself a favour and clean up the mess on your PC. Seriously, you've installed tons of crap that needs to be replaced, and there are things on your machine that you do not know exist. Luckily, much of this garbage can be rooted out by a visit to the Add/Remove programs page in the Windows control panel.

I only mention this because I have been trying to find some way to get my Firefox browser to play Flash videos again. I've erased and reloaded the program many times, so I can only blame bad code running someplace.

I went into the Add/Remove programs menu and found a lot of deadwood, not to mention some probable malware that got installed by some trickery somehow and somewhere. I know for a fact, for example, that I did not install some miserable program called Yontoo LLC.

Yontoo was responsible for odd advertisements that appeared now and again within the browser environment. It seems to be some horrible product used as a marketing tool by sleazeballs who think they can get a sale by tricking users.

When a piece of advertising appears out of nowhere in a situation where I know no ad should appear, I forever refuse to do business with that company. The reason for this is simple: The company is untrustworthy if it employs trickery and underhanded tactics. It may have the same attitude with billing, for example.

There are plenty of companies that bill you continually once they get hold of your credit card number and nobody at any bank seems to care. These are the sort of people I am talking about.

There are also the hijack pages that ask if you want something free. If you stupidly say yes, the fine print immediately finds a way to begin billing you for some service you will never use.

So, I was not pleased to see this Yontoo sleazeware on my machine. I removed it but doing so was a hassle. It would not quite disappear and it sent me to a web page that threw up a weird dialogue box asking me some question. The dialogue box could have been an installer since it seemed odd. I reset the machine and got rid of it. It seemed to erase the uninstalled Yontoo remnants, too. Who knows if I dodged a bullet or not.

I then ran into something called Reaper that showed no publisher. The Internet had mixed opinions. I deleted it.

I should tell you that when you sift through the list of programs you are considering for possible removal, always ask Google for an opinion. I would search "Reaper malware" and see if any hits come up. It is always fun to see "XYZ is malware." And right below it is another result that says "XYZ is not malware."

When in doubt, get rid of it.

Of course, life would be easier if this Add/Remove rigmarole was unnecessary and the architecture was such that software programs would have all their linked needs in a single folder with the main executable. Then you could dump the folder and that would be the end of the matter. In the meantime, I'd recommend doing the Add/Remove exercise.

Unfortunately, it did not fix my Firefox problem. Drat!