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How To Remove Malware (Virus, Spyware, Adware Cleanup)

Jan 5

Written by:
Thu, 05 Jan 2012 16:52:16 GMT  RssIcon

Cleaning Up A Malware Infected Computer


Before you get stuck into this juicy fix-it-yourself FREE guide review a list of symptoms that can be caused by Malware (virus, Spyware, Adware):

  • Computer Crashes
  • Blue Screen Errors
  • Browser takes you to another site instead of facebook or google
  • Computer is suddenly very slow

Note: If your computer is several years old - it is more likey that the hardware has began to degrade - Computer sshould be replaced every 4-5 years for home use and every 3-4 years for business use.

1. The first step to cleaning up an infected computer is to backup all your important data - avoid backing up programs and executable files (with .exe extension) as these are likely to be infected. However pictures and documents are fine most of the time.

Things to consider backing up:

  • Documents
  • Pictures
  • Music
  • Videos
  • E-mails

If you use webmail for your email (ie, you go to an Internet Browser such as FireFox, Chrome or Internet Explorer and access your e-mail via a website like hotmail or gmail) then you do not need to worry about backing up your emails as they will be stored safely (we hope). If you use Outlook or another E-mail Client then that means e-mails are downloaded locally and you will need to back up your e-mails manually.

Two easy ways you can backup this data is to copy and paste the files onto a USB memory stick or blank disc and use the Windows built in wizard to burn the data to disc.

Note: You should already be running backups of your documents, files and such on a regular basis.

2. Once you have successfully backed up your important data. The next step is to download a tools to help remove the Virus, malware and/or Spyware. We recommend 3 Free programs - MalwareBytes (Anti-Malware), Spybot (Anti-Spyware) and AVG FREE Edition (Anti-Virus) - the links to download all of these can be found on our Downloads section here.

If your Computer is badly infected you may not be able to download the recommended software. If you cannot access the Internet from your Computer you will need to use another Computer to do the following - as with the back up - save the downloaded files to a USB memory stick or Blank CD-R:

2.1 Download MalwareBytes Anti-Malware from the Downloads section of our website. Once you have downloaded the installation file, run the installation, accepting the license - following the series of prompts and allow the program to update (it does at the end of the installation). Don't worry if it is unable to update - your connection maybe blocked by a proxy courtesy of the Virus \ Malware etc.

2.2 Once MalwareBytes Anti-Malware is installed then restart your computer and tap F8 on your keyboard after the bios screen disapears (Black screen white writing when you first turn on your Computer) - this will give you the option to start Windows in Safe Mode. Pressing F8 as the computer turns on will give you the boot up options and allow you to choose Safe Mode.

2.3 Once logged in with Safe Mode, open MalwareBytes Anti-Malware and do a full system scan. Remove any threats that it finds and Complete the process with a Computer Restart.

Examine your computer to see if the symptoms have been resolved, test it thoroughly and Restart a few times, then run a full scan with MalwareBytes Anti-Malware again - whether it comes up clean or not move onto step 3 below.

3. Now you need to download AVG FREE Antivirus (free for non-comercial use) - as above you can find the download link on the download section of our site here. Note that it is not advisable to have more than 1 Anti-Virus program installed as they don't play nicely together - they tend to clash and prevent each other from working properly. So if you have one installed already such as Norton Antivirus or otherwise - then use it FIRST and if it doesnt detect anything - we recommend that you uninstall it from your computer system BEFORE installing AVG FREE AntiVirus.

3.1 Download, Install & update AVG FREE AntiVirus if possible. Then proceed to restart your computer into Safe Mode, Run a Full System Scan. If AVG AntiVirus detects anything - use it's built-in 'heal' features to remove the infection. If it does not find anything - restart your Computer and load Windows normally - and inspect your computer for further symptoms of infection - restart once more and run another Full System Scan - once complete proceed to step 4 below:

4. If everything went as planned by now your Computer will be Virus Free and working quicker without misbehaving. The final step in our clean up is to check for Spyware & Adware - we recommend using SpyBot Search & Destroy.

4.1 Repeat the process in step 3.1 and download, install & update SpyBot Anti-Spyware - download link is here. The update process on SpyBot is somewhat cumbersome - you may need to run it several times before it gets all the updates - so be sure to check. Once updated Restart your Computer and enter Safe Mode as instructed in step 2.2 above.

4.2 Once logged in with Safe Mode - run SpyBot Search & Destroy and follow the Wizard - this will guide you through Backing up the Windows Registry, Click 'Next' and start using the program, click on 'Search and Destroy' to run a full system scan. Once complete clear up any problems it finds and Restart your Computer and load Windows normally - inspect - restart - and run a final scan with SpyBot - if it shows up clean - click the immunize button to help prevent future Spyware infections.

4.3 Provided everything went as planned you should now be Virus, Malware and Spyware Free - well done! It's taken a good few hours of your time to get you here - remember to periodically run the MalwareBytes Anti-Malware & SpyBot Search & Destroy Updates & System Scans - The paid version of MalwareBytes includes more security options and the ability to schedule scans. SpyBot on the other hand is completely free and supported by donations - please give credit if it has helped you clean up your computer.

On the other hand if you're still experiencing problems even after running the various scans I walked you through - there may be a more serious problem with your computer:

  • You have a more serious Virus infection
  • Your computer hardware may have developed a fault

Faulty Computer hardware isn't always easy to trace and can produce the same symptoms as having a virus, malware or spyware. Additionally after clearing an infection damage to the Windows Operating System may remain or a more serious infection will require you to Reformat Computer Hard Drive and for you to re-install Windows + all the software on your PC. These are more advanced steps that are beyond the scope of this article.

If the steps above have not helped resolve your issues - our professional engineers can in most cases manually remove virus infections and return your PC by the following day or the same day in an emergency. Please do not hesitate to Contact Us by phone or e-mail for details of this time-saving, cost effective service.

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*Note that the advice offered here comes with no warranty - we do not take responsibility for any data loss or for any damage done to your system as a result of following the steps in this Free Guide and the advice offered herein is for educational purposes and by following you do so at your own risk* 

Copyright © Passionate About IT 2012

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