Sunday, March 6, 2011

How to Remove a Virus from Your Computer Successfully

How to Remove a Virus from Your Computer Successfully


  1. DISCONNECT INTERNET: First order of business is to isolate the virus and that means interrupting the internet connection (and any network hookup.) Many external modems provided by ISP's have a button which will allow you to disengage from the internet. If not, turn off power to the modem or physically disconnect the internet cable.

    Note: Many viruses derive there power through the internet connection by establishing comm links with outside sources. It can be very difficult to remove a virus with the connection maintained.
  2. TERMINATE WEB BROWSER: Close Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or the web browser of choice you are using.
    Note: Viruses sometimes lock the web browser and you may be unable to close it or it may still be running in the background without your knowledge. Run the program PRCView. This lists all software processes and applications running on your computer. If iexplore.exe, firefox.exe or the name of your browser is listed, it is still active. Highlight the application and terminate the process (using the PRC View control menu.)

    WARNING: Do not terminate any other processes listed. Many are actually needed to run your computer.
  3. SCAN FOR VIRUSES: Run Spybot - Search & Destroy and Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware (consecutively not concurrently.) These two free anti-spyware programs will detect and remove most viruses.

    Note: The majority of viruses detected early will be eradicated quickly and easily with these first 3 steps. If you have a stubborn virus that cannot be removed (because it is entangled with working processes) or your virus removal software is not allowed to work go to Step 4.
  4. ENTER SAFE MODE: Windows has a diagnostic mode which you can access to try and fix problems. To access, reboot your computer. As it boots up, hit the F8 key repeatedly on your keyboard. A menu screen will show different operational modes. Use the arrow keys to scroll up to SAFE MODE and hit enter.

    The next screen will ask which Operating System do you want to start (i.e. Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition). Use the arrow keys to select and hit enter. Windows will now be directed to SAFE MODE - your Windows screen will look different than normal.
    Note: Before entering SAFE MODE, some operating systems will prompt with a query screen. Hitting YES will continue to Safe Mode while Hitting NO will take you to SYSTEM RESTORE. You can choose either since SYSTEM RESTORE is our next step.
  5. SYSTEM RESTORE: In SAFE MODE, use this function to return your registry to a previous time - a day or two (or more if you are unsure) before the computer started acting up. To access, go to Control Panel and look under Performance & Maintenance or Help & Support. Click on System Restore - a user driven menu will guide you from there.

    Note 1: To gain a foothold on your computer, a virus will often make changes to your system registry (a set of command protocols that tell how your system to operate when you boot up). Windows makes a daily backup of the registry so you can roll back to a previous time - up to 3 months - if you have problems.
  6. REBOOT INTO SAFE MODE: After rolling back your registry reboot your computer again and enter SAFE MODE (as described in Step 4.)

    Note: This allows the computer to boot up with the rolled back registry settings. Key registry components will still be loaded even in SAFE MODE.
  7. SCAN FOR VIRUSES: In SAFE MODE, run Spybot - Search & Destroy and Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware again (consecutively not concurrently) to detect and remove viruses.
  8. REDUNDANCY SCAN: To be on the safe side, go to Spybot and adjust settings so that it will run once on next system startup (before anything is loaded on your computer.)

    To adjust settings, go to the Spybot Menu Bar and click on MODE. Make sure mode selected is Advanced (and not Default.) On the left column, select SETTINGS MENU. Choose SETTINGS. Scroll down the center screen until you get to the SYSTEM START heading. Click on "Run Program Once on Next System Startup."

    Close Spybot and Reboot the computer. Let it go through the normal boot process. Before Windows is loaded Spybot will run another system scan to detect and remove viruses. Upon completion Spybot will prompt to close and the normal boot process will complete.
  9. At this point all viruses should be removed from your system. If the software was unable to remove the virus - mark down the exact VIRUS NAME detected. Gain access to another computer and do a Google or Yahoo search of the VIRUS NAME (+ Removal.)

    Note: You may need to a locate and install in your computer a specialized SOFTWARE REMOVAL TOOL that is designed to remove your particular virus (this may be because of its complexity or its newness.)


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