My Computer crashed! Tons of warnings about problems! What do I do?

systemcheck_img2A member asks…

Help Chris! All of the sudden, I’m getting tons of warnings that my computer is malfunctioning! Some refer to hard drive errors, some to memory errors, and lots of warnings I just don’t understand. They just started today, has my hard drive crashed and my data is toasted?

One of our worst nightmares when dealing with our technology is the dreaded “OMG, I shouldn’t have clicked on that!”

Consumers beware of:

System Check – a program that many of us have inadvertently installed by simply clicking on something on a web page by accident. It happens to all of us.

This piece of malicious software (we call it ‘malware’) is a snarky attempt to get money from you. The program pops up all kinds of warnings, and exhorts you to pay them money for a program that will fix all these errors. Of course, if you did so, you’d get nothing for your trouble (or money). So don’t give in!

Programs like System Check start out with an innocuous window, often not a ‘real’ window but just an image inside a web page. But it looks real, and you think you’re getting a Windows system warning, so you click on it. And just like that, your computer is compromised. It’s so easy, unless you’ve been studying the whole computer security industry (like we have), you can’t know that the window that started it all was false – it looks just like real warnings from your system!


There are two major steps you need to do to get your computer back to normal. Read on for more detail and specific recommendations. But first off, don’t panic! Calmly and methodically, follow these steps:

1. You need to download the free Malwarebytes Anti-malware program (the free downloadable version) to remove the nasty malware.

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2. You need to run Windows’ System Restore to put your computer back to the way it was a day or two ago. (System Check wreaks a lot of havoc on your system, and it would take forever to fix it all manually.)

System Restore won’t delete your personal files, emails, etc., but it may make any program changes (like updates from Microsoft, any programs added since the Restore date, etc.) not work right until you re-do whatever system changes you made to your computer between now and the System Restore date.

Click here for detailed instructions on how to use Malwarebytes

Click here for how to run System Restore.

In the meantime, don’t blow a gasket, all those warnings are just a scam.

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Many folks worry about System Restore, sometimes with good reason. But for the most part, it does its job without a lot of fuss and muss. None of your personal data files (including Outlook) will be affected, they’ll be just the way you left them. And if you use webmail, you needn’t worry either.

The only time to worry is if System Restore offers you NO restore points! That can happen if you by chance turned that system off, or if something corrupted existing restore points. This doesn’t happen all that often anymore, so don’t worry about it…unless you experience this! In that case, you may want to call your friendly neighborhood tech support folks to help you out. Sometimes this stuff does get too complicated for an easy answer…

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