Tracking Down A Mysterious File
While running, via a 3rd party tracks/history eraser program (on my secondary desktop PC), I noticed this entry in the list of files that shows up after this program scans my local HD; this entry is in the screen capture embedded image.
I have zero idea which of my installed programs this file is associated with (OR perhaps from a program that's been uninstalled).
I tried to track its location on my local HD with a variety of 'entries' [re various choices for the search words) in two separate programs, (1) the built in Windows file search gear, and (2) a 3rd party search program. No Joy! I have the File View Show Hidden Files choice turned on; so that's not the reason I can't find it/see it.
I did a Google search, and there are hits for this "freewebs.com", but all the hits simply show that it's a free website hosting service (and I've never used it).
I'm not at all sure whether this entry is actually a file, I. e., it has a strange/uncommon "name". It does get deleted by my tracks eraser program, but it shows up again the next time I reboot.
My antivirus is NOT 'burping' on this (or anything), but I don't like having unknown origin files re what they could be up to.
Any ideas how/where to track this down?
What browser do you use, Jack?
If you know how to look at the cookies, for whatever browser you use, try that and see if it's there. You can delete it/them, then.
I'd be tempted to use Process Monitor and Process Explorer https://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/sysinternals to see if I can see if there's anything "rogue" running.
I have no idea how computer literate you are. I know of a suite of programs, along with the sysinternals one, that can hunt into all sorts of things and do things that are quite literally amazing.
But, in the wrong hands, they can cause horrendous things to happen.
That having been said...
I have his programs and the launcher, along with the suite of SysInternals tools, which that can launch, too.
These tools are, amazingly, free! But...
Thanks for your help with this.
Yesterday I did the monthly Windows Update on another of my backup desktop PCs, and that same file also appeared on that one, along with another file that began with "cookies...". This file does not appear on my primary (day in-day out) PC. All these PCs, in terms of installed software, are virtually identical.
One thing that I have forgotten to check is to see whether this "freewebs" appears in Registry. Now on my ToDo list. It's beginning to look like this entry is the byproduct of one of my many, many freeware programs, i. e., there's some kind of financial payment arrangement to the developer for including it in the install, and the developer does NOT have an opt out option for it during the install process. I don't ever get an 'invitation' to visit freewebs when I work on these 2 PCs, but that may be due to my tracks erasers, or my pop up blockers.
I'm not going to mess with the programs that you suggested, even though, under the hood, these kinds of files can be messing with the end user big time re tracking surfing 'habits', and the end user would never know it.
Do you happen to have the following files, in your C: directory?
malwarebytes scan might help.
If you know how to use this, Jack, it'll be worth running it. I wouldn't be without it.
Be careful, though. Used wrongly, it can cause problems.
If anything "Freewebs" appears, though, tell it to zap it.
Leigh's advice is sound, too, of course.
How comfortable are you with clearing out your registry, manually? I tend to clear mine out, from time to time, just for the Heck of it. I'd never use one of those cleaners, though, as has been discussed, elsewhere. I much prefer this, over Windows' regedit.
I am also comfortable using the registry cleaner which is a part of cCleaner, although Piriform had an issue where someone managed to inject some malware into cCleaner recently. (They HAVE fixed the problem in short order - credit to them)
I'm posting this from the PC that has this 'freewebs" listing.
(1) it continues to show up after boot up in the list of tracks that will be deleted by my tracks eraser software, but will not show up after that cleaning until the next boot/reboot,
(2) it does not show up in a regedit scan, so it's not a entry in regedit (done scan twice, including one right after bootup and before it was deleted,
(3) does not show up in ccleaner (and the hacked ccleaner update was resolved quickly with a new version several days ago at this point),
(4) I am a registered owner of maleawarebytes (sp ?) but do not have it installed; there is this never ending back & forth re programs like maleawarebytes, and spybot search & destroy, etc., that if you use their realtime scan feature, it will interfere with whatever antivirus program that you are using; I'm not aware if that "issue" has ever been satisfactorily resolved to include the fact that maleawarebytes, etc. is NOT to be used as a substitute/alternative/adding an extra level of security to an/any antivirus program.
SO, I will let this ride until I can come up with a better idea as to why I can't track down this entry [it's not in the list of cookies in thecache of any of my browsers (before I run the tracks/cookies eraser stuff)].
Is it showing up as attatched to your browser? If so, which one? Something triggers in my memory as something that works like a homepage hijacker. It could be something in your installed add ons for your browser.
Thing is, freewebs are a company that hosts websites. They seem to be about as good as Godaddy, who are dire, in every way.
So, if you visit a site that is hosted by them, you're gonna cop their cookies (Unless you disable them, of course).
You can check who hosts a site, by going to a "whois" site, such as this one. I've given you a link which gives the details of this forum, as an example.
So, don't use IE.
I never have.
In some browsers, you can take a look at the cookies you have and it'll give you details of the site that put it there.