November 3, 2017

How to Remove Viruses, Spyware, or Other Malware from Your PC

As promised, here is what I know about removing malware from a PC (Sorry, don’t know a thing about Macs, and Linux users ought to be savvy enough to do it themselves).

First, determining whether you have a virus or spyware application on your computer, and not just a buildup of unnecessary information, must be done. Signs of this include, but are not limited to: sudden drops in performance, especially during startup, no access to a command prompt or task manager, no access to an antivirus program, or an “Alert” by a program you’ve never heard of that you have malicious software on your computer.

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The best way to fight malicious software is to browse safely and not be exposed to it in the first place, which was previously discussed in my other article, which can be found here, about preventing attacks using common sense. However, if any of the above symptoms occur, here are a few remedies:

-If you can still access your antivirus or anti-spyware program, run a scan and see if that fixes the problem. If not, go on to these other suggestions, in ascending order of difficulty and/or cost.

-Try running a “System Restore.” This is found on all versions of Windows from XP forward. Click Start gt;Programs gt;Accessories gt;System Tools gt;System Restore in XP, and in the Start Menu of Vista, just type “System Restore” in the search bar, and hit enter. This brings up options to restore your settings to an earlier date, which includes uninstalling any programs that were installed after that date (including the malware, but also the ones you wanted, so be sure to go back and reinstall them). I must stress that you back up your data before doing this, if possible. Once system restore is finished running, see what your antivirus and anti-spyware scanner comes up with. You should get anywhere from 1 to 100 or more hits. Just have the program clean them up for you.

-If those don’t work, you could try making a bootable antivirus disk using another computer. It’s not as tricky as it sounds. Google search for “bootable antivirus iso free” (here is a link to one, and instructions to download and use) and use Active@ ISO Burner to burn the file to a CD (or DVD if the file is that big, which it shouldn’t be). Then put it in the CD drive of the infected computer, and restart. Once the machine turns back on, start pressing F10, F12, or Escape to bring up the boot menu. There should be an option for something like “Boot Device Order” and you want to choose the CD-ROM drive. Then follow whatever instructions are the most basic, and you should end up with a clean hard drive. Remove the disk and restart and you should be good to go. As always, back up your data if possible before trying this.

-If the above option isn’t available, or you don’t think you have the knowhow to do so, I suggest you ignore the last few suggestions here and find a technician to help out. The next escalation is to take the hard drive out of the computer and use an IDE to USB cable (They can be had for $20-$30 from sites like Newegg.com, or Tigerdirect.com, or you could go to your local computer store and see what they might have.) To connect it to a non-infected computer with the anti-malware applications already running, and scan it as an external hard drive. Once again, I suggest you take some time to back up your data if you can beforehand.¬†Read more:¬†how to hack whatsapp without victim phone

-If you’re really desperate or don’t want to shell out for the cable, then you can try reinstalling the operating system. Back up your data, then restart the computer, pressing F8 as it powers on. From here there should be a “Recovery Console” option, or something similar. This guides you straight through setting your computer back to factory condition, including removing all installed programs and replacing all operating system files, including ones that may be infected. I think Vista even has an option to create a backup of personal files like Documents, Videos, and Pictures before it does the restore.

-If complete recovery doesn’t fix the problem, or the option isn’t available on your computer, you’ll need to manually reinstall the operating system from a disk, after backing up your personal data. Put in the installation CD, and then boot into it through the F10, F12, or Escape menu as the computer starts up, just like the bootable antivirus CD. Each Operating System is different, but it should guide you through step by step. Once you have the system up and running, you’ll be asked to enter a product key, which should be on a sticker affixed to your computer. It will likely say something about the key having been used before, and provide you with a number to call for assistance. Call this number (really) and you’ll be put through an automated system in which you’ll just have to let the system know that you made a major hardware change and they’ll give you a number to put in (not the product key, a different number) to re-validate your installation.

That’s far from exhaustive, but it’s several common and pretty easy ways to keep from having to shell out $300 or more to professional services to fix something you can do yourself. Also, When you do back up your data, make sure that you scan it all before restoring the backup, as that could possibly be where the malware came from in the first place.

Eugene Ladd