Release Date: August 7, 2004.
If persistent spyware is bogging down your computer, you might need HijackThis. The tiny program examines vulnerable or suspect parts of your system, such as browser helper objects and certain types of Registry keys.
Pressing the Scan button generates a log of dozens of items, most of which are just customizations. Don't check off an item and hit the Fix Checked button unless you're sure it's malware.
Clicking Info on Selected Item tells you why the entry was flagged as suspicious, but not whether it's actually malware. To find that out, search the Web for that item's name or go straight to a forum, such as SpywareInfo or Computer Cops. Saving the log creates a text document you can post to these forums.
HijackThis lists the contents of key areas of the Registry and hard drive--areas that are used by both legitimate programmers and hijackers.
The program is continually updated to detect and remove new hijacks. It does not target specific programs and URLs, only the methods used by hijackers to force you onto their sites.
As a result, false positives are imminent, and unless you're sure about what you're doing, you always should consult with knowledgeable folks before deleting anything.
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