Viruses are a huge headache! A computer infected with a virus (or malware, spyware, etc.) is something I see often and can cause major problems – everything from slowing your computer to a crawl to taking over your web browser or even your whole computer. Removing a virus infection can seem like a monumental task. This is a quick guide and one (of the many) ways I like to remove a virus from a computer.
The first thing you have to do is run a full virus scan (you do have virus protection right?!). I recommend using avast! anti-virus, it’s a great product. If you don’t have anti-virus software installed get some installed now! You can get avast! here. This is an affiliate link and I do get a small commission on each sale.
If you already ran a virus scan and it didn’t fix your problem, you’ve probably come to a point where you need a little more help. The best way, I’ve found, to tackle a virus in Windows, is to first:
1 – Boot into Safe Mode with Networking. To boot into Safe Mode with Networking, restart your computer. As your computer restarts press and hold the F8 key on your keyboard. This will bring you to a black screen called Advanced Boot Options. Choose Safe Mode with Networking.
2 – After in you’re Safe Mode I head over to Bleeping Computer and download Combofix. This is a great, free tool to use on badly infected computers. Combofix is probably the number one tool I use when tackling bad virus infections. If you have anti-virus software installed, Combofix will warn you that you have to disable it before continuing. If after disabling the anti-virus software, it still warns me, I’ll go ahead and uninstall the anti-virus software (the PC is already infected, so it won’t make any difference taking it off!)
Combofix will go through about 50 steps before rebooting and finishing up. Let Combofix run all the way through and don’t turn off the computer or use it until it’s done. Bleeping Computer has a guide to using Combofix here.
3 – At this point your computer should have rebooted. After Combofix is done running and cleaning the infections be sure to install and/or update your anti-virus software and run a full scan.
4 – Next, download and run Malwarbyte’s Anti-Malware PRO (affiliate link). Choose “Perform full scan” and click the “Scan” button. This will usually find what’s left lurking on your system. It might take 20 minutes to an hour or more to run, depending on how many drives you have and how much data you have on them. Malwarbyte’s Anti-Malware tends to do more of a “deep” scan of your drives and files and is a great tool to use.
5 – Be sure your firewall is turned on. Windows has a built-in firewall and it works great. Firewalls help keep intruders out of your computer. Here’s the link to Microsoft’s site for more detail. To check it’s status, click Start (or in Windows 8,while at the start screen) and type “windows firewall”. Click the Windows Firewall icon to check the status.
That’s it – your computer should be virus-free! Make sure you have antivirus software installed, Windows is up to date, your firewall is turned on and you practice safe web browsing to stay clear of viruses in the future.