HiJackThis is a self-contained executable file that scans your Windows machine for commonly exploited registry and file settings.
HiJackThis is a small, executable malware scanner that scans your computer’s files and registry for commonly hijacked settings. The scan returns a list of settings which you can then choose to either fix or leave alone. The application provides detailed information on each item.
The application’s main function is to scan your system for possible malware hijacking. Each item on the list is coded to let you know what type of setting/file it is, for example R stands for Registry, F indicates an INI file, O are miscellaneous types of files, with a variety of different values within each category.
You can highlight each item on the HiJackThis scan list to find out more information about it. Because the application does not differentiate between legitimate and possible malware infected entries, this information is vital to helping you determine what next steps (if any) to take with the scanned entries.
Tips for New Users
Before running an initial scan, review the default configuration settings and make sure that “Make backups before fixing items” is checked. This will help prevent system damage in case you delete a legitimate file or setting.
After scanning your computer with HiJackThis, review the list of returned items very carefully before choosing to fix anything. If you are at all unsure about whether or not a file is a legitimate system file, do not do anything.
Areas for Improvement
HiJackThis is not a user friendly application. While the menus are straightforward, many of the items returned by the HijackThis scan are system files. The program does not differentiate between possible malware and legitimate system files. Well-meaning users that are unaware of which files are necessary for Windows system operation may inadvertently “fix” legitimate system files.
The code system is a good overview but troublesome because you need to either memorize the various codes or constantly refer back to the help menu to determine what type of file/setting you are dealing with.
HiJackThis is a simple yet powerful malware scanning tool but only if used correctly. If you are an advanced Windows user, HijackThis can be a powerful weapon in your troubleshooting arsenal. Novice users should stick to more user friendly malware protection suites like Norton Antivirus or Windows Defender.
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