Viruses On the Up!
What with the amount of known Computer Virus varieties inreasing exponentiallyh, it is little surprise that an increasing number of the computer 'repairs' that come in to Pthallo Media are actually virus infections of varying degrees of severity. In extreme cases the only certain cure is a format and clean start, which of course means that any files that aren't backed up are history! further complicated by the fact that some viruses cause the dreaded BSOD (blue screen of death), even in safe mode, it is sometimes impossible to back up data before a format, and all this is assuming that you don't have one of the rare but lethal bios corrupting viruses.
These are of course worse-case scenarios, quite often the virus is just an annoyance or embarrassment (pop up windows for personal services) and can be removed using a variety of tools from automated cleaners, spyware removers, or anti-virus routines to manual removal and registry editing.
The pattern that seems consistent throughout the hardware that we receive here for virus-cleaning is poor virus protection, expired subscriptions or in some cases, no protection at all! Jeez what are you guys thinking!
If cost is a factor when considering the main commercial packages such as Norton, or CA Anti-Virus, then there are a number of low cost or free-for-home-use packages available on the web. Obviously you get what you pay for, and some would argue that a free anti-virus that isn't very good will just give you a false sense of security, but some of the free packages are well worth considering if you aren't going down the commercial (€€€) road. Many of the commercial and non-commercial products also offer free online virus scanners - check out their websites for details.