The following computer virus removal flowchart demonstrates the difference between simply reinstalling Windows versus attempting to remove a virus yourself. While some will contest different ways to approach virus removal, these are tactics we have successfully used in the past. All virus, spyware and malware will act differently and pose their own unique problems for removal.
When approaching your decision to combat a virus, you should take into consideration the time and money it will take to disinfect your PC.
Quick Computer Virus Removal
The easiest way to perform computer virus removal and feel confident in believing it’s gone is to format and reinstall Windows. This can be easy for some people and difficult for others. If you have a recovery CD, you should have no problems. Insert the disk and follow the onscreen prompts. If you do not have a recovery CD, your computer might have a recovery partition through which you can perform the installation–watch closely when booting for text that says something like Press F11 for recovery.
Keep in mind you will lose your data, so be sure to back up your documents, picture,movies, etc before you begin.
- Backup your data
- Reinstall Windows
- Update Microsoft – Before anything else, immediately visit Microsoft Update to get the security patches you are missing since your reinstall. Otherwise, you could find yourself infected again. At this step, you should also install an anti-virus if you haven’t already. We recommend Microsoft Security Essentials — it’s free.
- Put your data back on. At this point, reinstall any applications or data you backed-up prior to the reinstall.
- You’re all done.
The Long, Painful Road To Computer Virus Removal
- Backup your data
- Run a system restore–this can either quickly fix it or not. Go to Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Restore. Go back to date you feel you were not infected. If that doesn’t work proceed to next step.
- Download Malwarebytes from http://www.malwarebytes.org. Install it, run a thorough scan. Remove anything it finds.
- If still infected, continue computer virus removal by removing any temp files in the temp folder of the Windows directory. (Look in the C drive).
- Prevent programs from loading at boot. Since the virus can be loading itself into memory each time you boot, try disabling it from loading. Go to Start and type msconfig in the run box and hit OK. Look for the start-up tab and uncheck all boxes. Reboot.
- Next, visit eSet’s online virus scanner and run the scan from Internet Explorer at http://www.eset.com/online-scanner.
- If it works, you can re-enable the start-up items using msconfig.
- Immediately get all updates from Microsoft, your antivirus program, Flash, Adobe Reader, etc, as there is no telling what exploit was used to infect your machine.
- If that fails, you simply must reinstall Windows or call in a technician who will deploy his own tactics for dealing with the malware.
As you can see the two ways to perform computer virus removal really depend on your experience level and your patience. Sometimes a complete format is not an option, so the longer method may be the only choice.