Get this Microsoft out of my iTunes!
March 17, 2008 3:22 PM   Subscribe

I disabled Explorer with a fake proxy server address, and now I can't connect to the iTunes store. I don't want to go back to Explorer from Firefox, but I needs some new tunes!

My laptop is a 2002 vintage bottom-shelf Toshiba running XP.

Much like this guy, who did not succeed in getting his question answered, I have an annoying popup adware problem that opens explorer, even though I haven't actually used it to search the Web for years.

So since you can't excise Explorer, I just disabled it. But apparently iTunes uses those settings to connect to the iTunes store. Is there a way I could make iTunes connect using Firefox's options, rather than Explorer's?

BTW, regarding the obvious solution, I have tried everything I could think of to get rid of the popup adware thing, and came to the conclusion long ago that it's just a permanent eccentricity of my computer.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: No, there is no way to make iTunes use a different proxy server.

The solution is to remove the adware... either using SpyBot/Adaware/wharever the kids use these days, or back up your data and reformat your PC.
posted by jon4009 at 3:34 PM on March 17, 2008

Best answer: I'd re-install windows if I were you. If there's adware, there's likely spyware as well!
posted by hylaride at 3:38 PM on March 17, 2008

Best answer: nthing a reformat if you are unable to remove the adware/spyware. there are a tone of spyware variants that install root kits and keystroke recorders.

as for removal of spyware i have yet to come across something that could not be removed using a custom BartPE disk loaded with adaware, spybot and your av software of choice.
posted by phil at 3:46 PM on March 17, 2008

Response by poster: Hmm. Reformatting isn't a very good option for this computer, my wife depends on it for work, and much of the software she uses she got from colleagues. We don't have the disks.

I guess if I can't use a different proxy server, I'm going to have to keep hacking away at the computer with various ad/spyware removal tools. I've used SpyBot for years, but I'm too cheap to actually pay for anything.

If I did a system restore back to where the adware hadn't appeared, would it just re-attach itself?
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:57 PM on March 17, 2008

Best answer: my wife depends on it for work, and much of the software she uses she got from colleagues. We don't have the disks.

This is just insanely bad practice. If you don't want to pay for software (and who does?) then you really need to be using software that's actually free, not software that's merely been "liberated".

But back on track: as you've just found out, Microsoft only decoupled enough of Internet Explorer from the rest of Windows to satisfy lawyers and judges. In other words, most of IE's replaceability is cosmetic. It's still a vital component of Windows, and there are a whole bunch of web-access API's inside Windows that end up working via IE. If you screw up your IE settings, you will break other things.

The right way to fix this is to refuse to accept a malware infestation as a quirk or eccentricity of your computer. Especially since it's apparently a work-vital machine.

What you need to do right now is install Hijack This!, run a scan and save a logfile, and post the logfile to one of the many forums devoted to analyzing them.
posted by flabdablet at 4:53 PM on March 17, 2008

it is possible that a system restore will resolve your issue but i find it unlikely. infecting the system restore has been a common tactic of both spyware and virus writers for a while.

i would give bartpe a serious look. trying to remove malicious software from an infected machine while the malicious software is running is a losing game; once executing it can pretty much do whatever it would like, including preventing spyware removal software from working correctly. the advantage of the bartpe route is that you are running off a known clean installation of windows.

check the official plugins section. there is built in support for adware, and av software. there are also a bunch of other plugin repositories out there with additional application support.
posted by phil at 4:56 PM on March 17, 2008

Unfortunately isn't a support forum (or i'd help you out), but you can wipe the malware
fairly easily.

Just check out and go to the malware removal forum.
There is a Read Me guide at the top, so just read it and post the proper information
and those fine folks will guide you through the removal process.
posted by frankie_stubbs at 4:56 PM on March 17, 2008

Have you tried Amazon's new mp3 store?

Not sure if you are just seeking any source of music, or specifically itunes.
posted by nikksioux at 5:56 PM on March 17, 2008

Response by poster: Flabdabulet, you're right. One of the challenges is I'm not very confident in my level of computer savvy. So while I know I could probably find perfectly serviceable replacements for her Office software (which I do, in fact, use at work), and I know how to find and replace lost files, etc., I'm intimidated by a procedure that seems as extreme to me as replacing an engine in a car.

I need to bite the bullet and just reformat, though.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 7:10 PM on March 17, 2008

If you're going to nuke and pave, read this thread first.

And once you've backed up all your own files onto two external drives and you're ready to go nuclear: seriously, make Ubuntu 7.10 the first system you try reinstalling with. It's a far easier installation procedure than XP, and you don't have to install a suite of drivers as a second step and a suite of application programs as a third step, and you end up with a system that's easier to maintain than Windows, easier to use than Windows, and for which there are no viruses, adware or spyware in the wild. Try it for a week and see if you like it. If you don't, revert to plan W.
posted by flabdablet at 2:23 PM on March 18, 2008

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