last update 2013 2.0.5.beta, see sourceforge page.https://sourceforge.net/projects/hjt/
In addition to what it says on the products's listing here, HijackThis is the ultimate tool to discover hidden "startups", hidden objects, UNWANTED toolbars and hidden services.
Beware - it shows every service and apps running at startup - and some of these services are essential for the programs you use, so blocking them is trivial unless you know what you're doing. But the good thing is, it produces simple and readable logs too, so you can backup any changes you've made and restore them to a previous state.
for me, this app has proven it's track record many many times as I keep it on a USB stick (my toolbox) which I take with me when ever someone cries "help" with a slow or dodgy PC or laptop. Has worked without failure.
Once you get the hang of what should or should NOT be running on a system's services at startup (mostly: only windows services, some hardware related services and some Acrobat or Itunes related crap) you can easily block those other pestst (hence the name "HijackThis", as in "try to hit me now") and be done with whatever malware, virus or spyware was running before.
After running Hijack this, the bug can then be "physically" removed (since it's no longer a running process and therefore deletion will now be an option) from wherever it was running (see HijackThis logs). Most unwanted crap resides in a temp or system32 folder in windows with a recent install date and have no signature (rightclick choose properties). If you're not sure what the files are about then consult a forum of check google THOROUGHLY for a knowledgable answer on it's intentions. Some of Google's answers are just another link to even more spyware. A good hint for finding viruses and malware is that they will mostly come in an .exe and .dll format and sometimes work in teams - so if you delete one, the other comes back up to regenerate the first. (check your ctr+alt+del - "windows task manager" to see this happening) With HijackThis you can disturb this virus-breeding by disabling any and all references on your PC, both in it's registry and in otherwise invisible "browser objects". Removing it is almost impossible when the processes are running, and by using "HijackThis" you can actually stop them from starting up in the first place.
It's a really basic tool: like stripping paint to find the rot. but like I said - go easy and be selective, know what you're doing. check datestamps once you've found that bug: every file has a date so once you've found one which you are sure is a bug - check your system ("search") with that specific date and you might find the bug's brothers & sisters, or discover that the bug actually came along with that "freeware" you downloaded with bittorrent...
The only downer I could think of with this one is in it's name: most people think it's about highjacking but it's actually about the opposite - jacking back![Edited by casephrase, February 17]
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