FreeFixer is an interesting tool which can help you find and remove adware, spyware, viruses and more. Although while we say "help", you're going to have to do a great deal of the work.
The program works by scanning areas where it knows there may be signs of unwanted software: transport and namespace service providers, AppInit_DLLs, browser helper objects, IE toolbars, services, Explorer extensions, drivers, recently created or modified files and more.
FreeFixer will then ignore or highlight files within those sections which it knows are trusted, so for instance it didn't list 43 common or system services on our test PC. You will see whatever's left, and it becomes your job to choose anything that you'd like to remove.
This plainly isn't for beginners. At all. FreeFixer's reports are unashamedly technical (section headers include items such as "Csrss.exe's virtual memory files") can contain a great deal of information. You need to know your way around a PC to follow them.
If you're used to manually hunting malware, though, FreeFixer could be very helpful. It checks a lot of locations; its whitelisting does a good job of removing known safe files so that you can concentrate on what's left; and there are plenty of useful bonus features. The program detects many system policies commonly set by malware to, say, prevent you launching Regedit or Task Manager, and allows you to fix them with a click.
And while the program doesn't come in a portable form, you can run it from a USB stick with just a little work. The FreeFixer manual explains all (search the page for "portable").
Version 1.10 brings:
- FreeFixer now scans and repairs Internet shortcuts on the Start Menu, Quick Launch bar, the desktop, etc.
- The Start Menu Internet shortcuts plugin now displays the browser icons in the scan result.
- FreeFixer now encodes the plain text log file in UTF-8. An UTF-8 byte order mark has been added in the beginning of the log.
- Disabled the Csrss.exe's virtual memory scan on Windows 8.1, since csrss.exe is a protected process since Windows 8.1.
- Fixed many minor issues related to running FreeFixer on Windows 8.1.
- Increased contrast between links and the background in FreeFixer's user interface. This change has been made to increase readability for visually impaired users.
- Fixed race condition bug in FreeFixer's initialization code that could result in FreeFixer displaying a blank dialog with white background.
- Fixed bug where the Scheduled Tasks plugin halted its scan when it could not retrieve information about one of the tasks. The failing tasks are now tagged as "failed to get task info" in the scan result.
- Fixed bug where the scan of Start Menu Internet shortcuts was interrupted if one of the browser's registry configuration under HKCU/HKLM\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet was incomplete.
- Removed the red background gradient.