How to use your computer skills to earn some extra money

If you’re in need of some extra money and you’re computer-savvy, the scumbags of the earth have a deal for you.

You see, they load unwitting computer owners’ PCs up with loads of junk, and they can render a new, state of the art computer useless very quickly.

If you can learn to clean up the mess, you can probably have as much after-hours work as you want.Assuming you’re pretty good at fixing your own computer (don’t go into business fixing computer problems if your computer runs like garbage), cleaning it up is pretty easy.

Keep copies of Ad-Aware, Spybot Search & Destory, Bazooka, and Avert Stinger handy on a CD or USB flash drive. Install the programs and then run them. I run Bazooka first and last because it’s fast and gives a good overview of the health of the system.

Run all of the antispyware programs and let them do their thing. Then run Stinger in case they aren’t keeping up with their virus definitions. Once you clean the system up, update the virus defs (install antivirus software if they don’t have any–AVG strikes a good balance between effectiveness and ease of use, and it’s free) and defragment the hard drive.

Most IT people I know charge about $50 for the service. Have the customer bring the PC to you since a good spyware scan takes several hours. Let Spybot scan overnight, then clean it, then led Ad-Aware run while you’re at work and let it clean.

Keep an extra monitor, keyboard and mouse around so you can just plug in your customer’s CPU and go.

If the computer is in such bad shape you don’t get a start menu, boot it in safe mode and clean from safe mode.

And there you go. An easy side business. Hopefully you’ll have a booming business so fewer people will call me.

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4 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  August 12, 2007

    AVG also has a free version of their anti-spyware program that is pretty good at digging out trash. "Free" means after a month you have to update it by hand…

    • Anonymous

       /  August 13, 2007

      Thanks for that tip. I’ll give that one a look. The computer I’m working on now (where I got this idea) was in such bad shape that Spybot CRASHES while trying to fix it. It’ll fix about half of the problems (395 at first complete run, which must be some kind of record) then I have to reboot and rescan again.

      This computer is so bad there’s no way I’m hooking it up to my network even now. It may very well have spyware that hasn’t been discovered yet on it, but I want to make sure everything Spybot, Ad-Aware, MS Antispyware, and I guess now AVG know about is gone before I plug an Ethernet cable back in.

  2. Anonymous

     /  August 17, 2007

    Actually, Dev T. has a huge howto dealing with that precise problem, as part of a general PC troubleshooting guide.

    http://ttcsweb.pbwiki.com/All-Purpose-Windows-troubleshooting-and-upgrading-CD-or-Flash-drive

    Spybot Search and Destroy v1.4 and updates:
    o Detection Updates
    o Tools Update
    o Advanced check library update

    Ad-Aware 2007 Free and latest Defs file.

    HijackThis v1.99.1

    StartUp Control Panel v2.8
    Download the standalone EXE version. This shows what programs are set to run at Windows startup and allows you to disable suspect or useless entries. Or use the Sysinternals utility that looks at processes.

    • Anonymous

       /  August 17, 2007

      That’s a nice set of tips, definitely worth a bookmark. I didn’t know Dev did Windows. :)

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