Computer Repair Tools

The Microsoft Management Console (MMC) is a computer repair tool that gives you detailed access to many components of the Windows operating system. We’re interested in the services part of the MMC as relates to virus repair.

(If you’re interested, the MMC Help page briefly explains many functions the console provides to manage your Windows operating system.)

For performance issues, we’ll use the Device Manager to look for problem devices. And Disk Defragmenter to reduce the time it takes to read and write files to your hard disk.

To start MMC:

  • R-click on My Computer – icon or Start menu – select “Manage”
  • Enter “compmgmt.msc” (no quotes) in the Run command box

Microsoft Management Console

Click on the “+” next to Services and Applications, then select Services from the expanded list.

The right pane will display a list of all services Windows knows about. Some are running and some run when needed.

Select the Standard View tab at the bottom of the pane. Then click on the Status tab twice to bring those services in a “started” state to the top.

A service is an application type that runs in the background and typically provides features such as client/server applications, Web servers, database servers, and other server-based applications to users, both locally and across the network.

Browse through the list of services looking for what you can recognize – event log, computer browser – and things that look suspicious – toolbars, updaters, mail servers.

You may also see something here that you recognize from using the other computer repair tools – Task Manager and Event Viewer.

Double-clicking on an service name brings up the properties page for that service.

Microsoft Management Console

Locate the suspicious service and, from the properties menu, set the “Startup Type” to DISABLED. Reboot the computer and return to properties page of the suspicious services.

Is it running again? In the properties page, click on the “Recovery” tab to check the service failure actions.

Most services for devices and non-critical services are set to “Take No Action.” Services necessary for Windows operation are set to either “Restart Service” or “Restart the Computer.”

Use this information to reason through your findings. Was the service you stopped a Windows service? Was the service still running after uninstalling the “parent” application?

Even though we’re using the MMC in repairing the computer, a portion of the effort should be considered advanced diagnostics.

As you get further into configuring Windows components (or not), you’ll begin to see some of the insidious effects rootkits are capable of.

Device Manager

Sometimes a virus that injects itself into a device driver will cause problems with the device. The Device Manager is where you check on how well the operating system works with the hardware devices in the computer.

All devices should have “+” next to the category of the device. A problem device will have an exclamation point (!) next to it. Device problems are reported in the Event Viewer.

Microsoft Management Console

Check the details of the video drivers. Drivers are usually .sys or .dll files through I’ve seen others being loaded. Perhaps another clue, research the file names.

Disk Defragmenter

The Microsoft Management Console provides a nice interface to the disk defragmentation utility. Since you’re here to improve your computer’s performance, defragmenting the disk will help too.

How often should you defragment your hard drive? Frequency depends on how often you create and/or delete files. The more file create/copy/delete you do, the more fragmentation occurs. As general maintenance – monthly.