Mike Binns
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NOTE: Check Objects is no longer needed, as Windows Defender has replaced Microsoft AntiSpyware



Check "Objects"

Page Goals
  • Use Microsoft AntiSpyware to check objects
  • Submit unknown objects to SpyNet for analysis
  • Remove objects which are "Missing"

There are a number of places in Windows where programs can install "objects", or mini programs. Both Legitimate programs and spyware install "objects" in these places. Microsoft AntiSpyware does a great job of automatically removing known bad objects, but often there are objects which it doesn't recognize as bad or good.

The below steps will not actually have you remove unknown objects, it will instead show you how to send the unknown objects in to be analyzed to tell if they are good or bad.

The objects are sent to "SpyNet", which is the company (now owned by microsoft) which makes the spyware definitions for Microsoft AntiSpyware. They will analyze the file you send in and figure out if it is good or bad. This presents no security risk, as objects never contain personal information.

To start, open Microsoft AntiSpyware from the system tray or from start>(all) Programs->Microsoft AntiSpyware. Click on the Advanced Tools section and then click the "System Explorers" icon (you can alternatively click the Tools menu->Advanced Tools->System Explorers).

"Good" vs "Unknown"

To begin with, click on "Downloaded ActiveX". You should see a number of items listed. Note that some of them have a yellow star next to them and some of them have a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark next to them.

The ones that have the yellow star are known by Microsoft AntiSpyware as Spyware Free, and are ok to leave.

The ones that have the yellow exclamation mark next to it are not known by Microsoft Antispyware. This doesn't necessarily mean they are spyware but it also doesn't mean they are not

Submitting "unknown" objects to SpyNet

For each item in the list that has a yellow exclamation mark next to it, select it and click the "Send to SpyNet for analysis" link at the bottom right. This may cause the program to freeze for a few seconds while the file is sent in.

Deleting Missing Objects

If any of the items with a Yellow Exclamation mark say "Warning: This file is missing" or something simelar to that, you should select it and click "Permanantly remove" in the bottom right.

Other Objects

Once you have submitted all the ActiveX objects, you should click the words "System Explorers" to the right of where it says "Advanced Tools" in the blue bar at the top. This will bring you back to the list of system explorers available.

You should follow the "Submitting unknown objects to SpyNet" and "Deleting Missing Objects" section above for each of the below System Explorers:

  • Downloaded ActiveX
  • IE BHO's
  • IE Toolbars
  • Winsock LSP's
  • Shell Execute Hooks

The more people submit a specific object, the more likely that SpyNet will classify it. This means that some of the items you submit may never become classified as good or bad, but more than likely a number of them will become classified.

Staying in the habit of submitting unknown items increases Microsoft AntiSpyware's overall effectiveness at catching new spyware.



Progress Tracker Update
(Click the checkbox and click next to update the progress checklist)
I have submitted all my unknown objects to SpyNet and have removed all missing objects

Next >> Start at the Beginning and go through all the steps!




Next >> Set your Virtual Memory






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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Although these instructions have been tested on thousands of computers without incident, and chances of any damage or loss of important data resulting from following these instructions are virtually zero, there always exists a very small chance that something could go wrong. I add the following warning not because I ever believe that anything will happen but because today's lawsuit happy world requires it:

Although I will attempt to assist you (via the contact me form) with issues that arise from following these instructions, you are using this website at your own risk, and I am not legally responsible for any damage or loss of data that may occur related to the use of this website.


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