There are lots of malicious people that write malware of one type or another to infect the computers of other people for different reasons. Some of them want to steal your information. Some want to hijack your system to do their bidding. Some want to trick you into some sort of scam so they can get money from you. Some just do it for “fun”.
Whatever the reason, it can sometimes be very difficult to get rid of. Of course, the best option is to not get infected in the first place. You need to stay vigilant in your online activities. Most people think that only X-rated sites can infect your computer. This is incorrect. I have seen news sites, children’s game sites and all sorts of other sites deliver malicious content.
The preferred delivery method of most malware is email. You have to be especially aware of any and all email that has attachments. Even if it from someone you know and trust. If the content of the email looks strange or has a lot of spelling/grammar errors, there is a good chance the sender got hacked and malware is using their email account to spread their nastiness. Contact the sender and ask them about the email if possible. Another option, if you suspect the attachment is less than legitimate, is to upload it to virustotal.com. Virus total will use several virus scanners to assess the file and give you the results. If it is malware, delete it.
You should never run more than one antivirus program at a time. It will severely affect your system performance. Pick one and uninstall any others. My favorites are AVG FREE, Malwarebytes, and ADAWARE. I typically use AVG FREE or ADAWARE for scheduled scans and Malwarebytes on known infected systems. If you are unable to download and install one of these, use another machine to download it and transfer the install file to a flash drive.
If you are already infected follow these steps. This should clean you system of *most* malware. If you go through this and you are still having problems, you may need to take it to someone. If you aren’t sure if you are infected and just want a good scan, you can skip the part about system restore and rebooting and pressing F8.
- Turn off System Restore
- Windows takes periodic snapshots of your registry and if you are infected, there is a very good chance that all of the snapshots are also infected. Turning off system restore will delete all of the restore points.
- To do this, on Windows 7/8 click you start menu, then right-click Computer. Now, click “system protection” on the left side. In the proceeding window, click the System Protection tab. Highlight your C dirve and click configure. Now check the button that says Turn off system protection. (Don’t worry, we will turn it back on when we’re done.)
- Reboot your computer
- When the computer starts to turn back on and BEFORE the Windows logo, repeatedly tap the F9 key.
- The computer should boot into a menu that offers Safe Mode. Select that. If it doesn’t, reboot and start pressing F9 sooner than you did previously.
- Install and run Malwarebytes. You may get an error that it cannot update. This is because you are in safe mode. Let Malwarebytes run its full scan and rerun it until it comes up clean.
- Reboot your computer without the F9 key.
- Open Malwarebytes and update and run it again repeatedly until it comes up clean.
- Download and install CCleaner.
- Open CCleaner
- Click on the “Registry” tab on the left side, then click Scan for Issues.
- When the scan is complete, click “Fix selected issues.”
- In the Window that pops up click, “Yes” This will save a back up of your registry in case there are any issues. Keep the default location and click Save.
- Click Fix All Selected issues.
- Repeat these steps until the scan comes up clean. (You don’t need to save subsequent copies of your registry, the original one will suffice.)
- Close CCleaner.
- Turn System Restore back on. Using the same directions you used to turn it off.
- Download and install your preferred anti virus program and schedule it to run daily.
Your system *should* be clean at this point. If it is not, you may need to take it to someone for some deeper scanning.