E-mail puts porn onto family PC

Helpline

March 21, 2002|By James Coates | James Coates,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

My wife received an e-mail from an unknown addressee with an innocent subject line. The first sentence said, "For more info, click here," which she did. Up popped an advertisement for teenage-girl porn. It also imbedded its program "Live Shows" in my system.

When we boot the system (I run Windows 98), the first thing on the desktop is its legal disclaimer. An icon is on the desktop, and it's listed in the taskbar. I delete the folder from the C drive, but it reappears at the next bootup. I've lost e-mail. What can I do?

Your vexation should warn others not to open anything attached to e-mail unless you know the person who sent it and what the attachment is. You probably can clean this mess up by uninstalling the program that runs on bootup to blast you with that porn.

First, look at the names of the programs for clues to what the program might be, such as "Live Shows." Then click on Start and Settings and Control Panel. With the Control Panel folder open, click on the Add/Remove Programs icon and check the names that are listed for programs installed on your machine. Find the one or ones with suspect names and remove them. Almost all Internet junk programs like the one you describe can be removed this way.

If this doesn't work, click on Start and then Run and type in msconfig, which in Windows 98 and above calls up a list of all of the startup programs that get listed in the taskbar. Find the suspicious listing there, and you will find a check box that lets you disable it during future bootups.

James Coates writes for the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper. Send e-mail to jcoates@tribune.com.

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