HijackThisHijackThis is an advanced software title that allows users to combat one of the most malicious forms of malware: The hijack. HijackThis was developed by an independent company before being acquired by Trend Micro. The software is a freeware title that fights browser hijacks as well as locating other issues that may arise from hijacks in other areas of your computer.

However, be warned, unless you understand how these hijacks are working to do harm, you may inadvertently eliminate something necessary for the operating of a piece of software or you operating system. Proceed with caution with HijackThis and using it to combat malicious browser hijacks.

How to use HijackThis To Keep Your PC Safe

Once you have downloaded and installed HijackThis, you want to go ahead and open it to get started.

Main screen

If you know what you are doing, performing a scan without a log file may be acceptable. If you are unsure of how HijackThis or your computer works when it comes to hijacks, always choose to do a system scan and save a log file. This will allow you to go back and perhaps pinpoint what caused an error on your system should you eliminate something necessary.

Click “Do a system scan and save a log file.”

Scan

It will take just a few seconds for HijackThis to scan your computer for hijacks.

This process will take longer if you have a fairly large and active operating system.

A log file will be created when the scan is finished.

Log file

Before you do anything else, you want to save the log file preferably to an external source in case you need to access it if a problem arises. Once you have saved it, click “Info” on the right-hand side of the screen under the Other stuff header.

Info

This gives you a key to what you are looking at in the main screen of HijackThis.

Each designation lets you know where the hijack is taking place. For example, an entry starting with N, may refer to Netscape or Mozilla Start Pages and Search Pages. If you begin using this program often, you will want to familiarize yourself with the keys so you know right away what you are looking at before beginning to eliminate issues.

Now, click “Back” and then click “Config…”

Config Main

This is where you will find all the options for HijackThis.

The main tab will be shown when you open the settings. You can change some primary settings for HijackThis and set your default pages.

Click “Ignorelist.”

Config Ignorelist

This allows you to add items to ignore while scanning. As you become more familiar with HijackThis, you will realize that sometimes it picks up some false positives in changes on your system. This allows you to add those that come up that you do not really have to pay attention to.

Click “Backups.”

Config Backups

This opens the backups for HijackThis. Whenever you delete an item, a backup of it is stored in the event of a problem. You can restore an item any time by clicking on it, and then click Restore.

Click “Misc Tools.”

Config Misc Tools

This gives you a handful of additional tools built into HijackThis.

Click “Open process manager” from Misc Tools.

Config Misc Process Manager

This opens up the Process Manager within HijackThis. This allows you to see what processes are currently running on your computer.

You can opt to kill a process or start a process on your own depending on what you need to do additionally. However, if you are not sure how processes work, it would be in your best interest to avoid using this part of HijackThis.

Click Back, and then click “Open hosts file manager.”

Config Misc Hosts File Manager

This opens the Hosts File Manager. Again, this is an area that most computer users should shy away from if they are unaware of how it works. If you understand how TCP/IP hosts work, you may find this area useful if one of your connections may have been hijacked. You can delete lines from here to help make things run smoothly under certain circumstances.

Click Back, then click “Delete a file on reboot…”

Config Misc Enter file to delete on reboot...

If you believe a certain file is causing issues with your system, you can opt to allow HijackThis to delete it on reboot. This section lets you do just that.

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Select the file you want to delete on reboot, and then click “Open.”

When you reboot your computer next, HijackThis will delete it for you. Be careful about deleting files on reboot if you are not 100% sure the file in question is causing an issue. Otherwise, you may delete something you need for your computer to work properly.

Click Back, and then click “Delete an NT service…”

Delete a Windows NT Service

If a particular Windows service is giving you issues, you can delete it through HijackThis. This is another area that if you are unfamiliar with how Windows NT services work, you want to avoid doing anything as it may compromise your operating system from working.

In order to use it, however, you need to enter the exact name of the service and click “Ok.” The service will first be disabled and then deleted from your system.

Click Back, and then click “Open ADS Spy.”

Config Misc ADS Spy

The ADS Spy, or the Alternative Data Streams Spy, helps locate hidden meta-data within files. Since you cannot actually see this information, it takes a program or process such as HijackThis’ ADS Spy to track them down and get rid of them.

There are certain situations where ADS is necessary. If you are not sure whether or not a hijack situation is necessary where ADS is concerned, leave the file alone and do more research to be sure. You always want to take care not to just delete files because it looks like they are doing harm. This is not always the case and can cause more harm than good for your computer.

Click Back, and then lick “Open Uninstall Manager…”

Config Misc Add/Remove Programs Manager

HijackThis also provides an Add/Remove Programs Manager similar to what Windows offers you as a user. You can use HijackThis’ version to add or remove programs as well as work with uninstall commands which make it an effective tool if you know how to uninstall commands work and how to create one. Otherwise, stick to the old fashioned way of adding and removing programs.

Now, we are going to head back to the scan results in HijackThis.

Go ahead and highlight one, then click “Info on selected item…”

Info on selected item...

This will bring up a pop-up that lets you know more information on an object. It will also explain why HijackThis has brought this issue to your attention. It will also let you know what action HijackThis will take if you opt to eliminate the entry.

Now, if you are truly ready to eliminate an entry, make sure to check the box next to it then click “Fix checked.”

Fix checked

Another pop-up will appear asking you to confirm the deletion. Click “Yes” to continue.

You can select multiple items to eliminate at once as well.

When finished, you will be redirected to the HijackThis main screen where you can either exit or opt to scan again.

Main screen

The primary function of HijackThis is to eliminate issues on your system when it comes to hijackers. Only by learning how to use this program and how to use it effectively will you get the absolute most of it.

Is HijackThis effective for all computer users?

HijackThis is a very effective tool that every computer user that takes the time to truly learn how to use it. It is not a program a novice computer user should start utilizing blindly. Advanced computer users can get much out of HijackThis because they understand how their system works and what hijackers really do.

When beginning to use HijackThis, you want to not only go through the materials the software provides but also research topics on exactly what hijackers do and how they infect your system. This is a program that can be effective the more you know about not only what it does but what issues it combats.

Download HijackThis.

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