Malware and Viruses can be difficult to remove if your PC gets infected. There are a few basic things users should be doing when trying to remove a known infection. Sometimes this technique will work, but occasionally more advanced tactics will need to be done in order to remove malicious code. A lot of experts will agree once your computer is known to be infected, the only real way to know you’ve solved the problem is to reformat and reinstall Windows. Understandably, people do not like that option, as they may not have backups or even a restore disks to perform that task. So what do you do?
How to Remove Spyware and Viruses
- The very first thing you should do is try and update Windows. Many newer computers will have automatic updates turned on by default. But sometimes the updates will upload but not install until you tell them to. Click Start, then look in the menu for Windows Update. Click that and you will be taken to the Microsoft Update website. Install any critical updates that are available. You may need to restart when finished. This update will at least make sure your computer is patched with any KNOWN exploits. It will also download the latest Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool–which is a utility to remove common malicious software.
- Next, write down the names of any pop-ups that might flash on the screen (Like Antivirus 2009). You want to write these down in case you need to manually research and kill out the processes. Generally, you will find tips on how to manually remove malware by visiting SARC.com or any other trusted security site.
- Restart and go to Safe Mode with Networking. To get there, reboot or power on the computer and tap the F8 key numerous times until you see a boot menu with Safe Mode with Networking. Once in that mode, go to the Internet and visit MalwareBytes.org and download the free version (or they have a good Commercial version of MalwareBytes that will protect you in real-time). Install and run a scan. If it detects anything remove and reboot the computer. Hopefully, this will solve the problem.
- If that doesn’t help, you’ll need to download a program called Hijack This, which is a very advanced tool that allows you to remove evil BHOs (Browser Helper Objects). If you have researched your particular infection and know what to look for in this list, you can delete the malicious software directly from the HJT tool.
- If all else fails, you will need to reinstall. Backup any important Photos, Movies or Documents to an external drive or CD and either run your Recovery Disk or use your Windows CD to reformat and reinstall the Operating System.
It’s not a bad idea to turn off System Restore before doing your scans. Some viruses will actually reinstall themselves using the System Restore feature built into your Operating System. To turn it off, right-click My Computer, then click Properties. There will be a System Restore tab that has a check box to turn off System Restore.