If you are a bit of a geek you will have had a family member/friend/acquaintance as you to fix their PC in the past; I guarantee it.

In my experience, most of the time it is due to a virus/malware, and sometimes even ransomware. The cause is nearly always questionable downloads and randomly clicking on adverts they see on web pages.

The problem is that heavily infected computers can be an absolute nightmare to fix. Often, they are so slow, getting anything done takes ages. Sometimes getting anti-virus/malware/adware onto the PC to disinfect it can be difficult at best, the internet may not work; USB drives may not mount, etc.

Booting into safe mode helps a lot, and slowly going through multiple sweeps of various software will eventually clean it up. Often, I find it easier just to do a complete format and re-install though.

The FixMeStick hopes to ease some of these issues and provides a handy solution to max last ditch effort or a re-install. It is a small bootable USB drive that allows you to bypass booting up the infected OS and access a range of tools to help clean up the system.

Using the FixMeStick is quite straight forward. Switch off your PC, plug it in and then boot up to into the USB. You may need to fiddle with your BIOS settings to get this to work, but in general, most PCs should do this automatically.

Once in, everything is pretty straight forward. It uses 3 of the main anti-virus engines Kaspersky, Sophos and Avira.

When started, it will need to connect to the internet (via WiFi or Ethernet) and update its database of threats. It will then scan, identify and provide results on the issues it finds. You can then choose to clean up your computer.

From my experience, it does as advertise. It did take a while to run a full scan, but I left it on overnight. Once disinfected, it allowed me to boot into windows with no issues, and I was then able to install my usual suite of tools to fix the PC.

Additional scans using Malwarebytes and Avast showed no other serious issues. So the end result was me saving a lot of time and frustration on getting a friends laptop to work.

This is a great utility that will no doubt be handy at some point for anyone running a Windows PC, but at the same time, it is also something that you shouldn’t need if you are careful. I have run my main PC for the past five years without any major issues. I expose myself to quite a few viruses too as I am a web developer and have to fix hacked websites a lot. If you keep your system up to date, don’t install pirated software, have anti-virus, and don’t click on questionable adverts, you should be fine.

Priced at £59.99 it is not cheap either, especially as this won’t be your first line of defence. However, if you have a heavily infected PC already, then the price is well worth it. It will save your hours of time, and allow you to save any important files you have on your PC.

You can buy a FixMeStick today from http://www.fixmestick.com/

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