A Step by Step Guide on How to Get Rid of a Virus on Your Computer
Is your computer lagging and getting tons of unwanted pop-ups? Are you noticing some weird things happening on your system, such as suspicious looking files you were sure you did not download, or certain files disappearing? If so, then you might have a virus on your computer. It is vital that you get rid of a virus as quickly as possible before it’s too late.
Although there are many antivirus software out there claiming to be the solution for all trojans, worms, adware, and spyware issues – they are not created equal. One may report nothing after a complete scan while another may detect twice the amount of malicious files than you expected. Often, they also come in free and premium versions as well.
If you are only stuck with a less reliable free version, or your premium antivirus has expired, then you may be left in a bind. Or perhaps you don’t trust the antivirus software you currently have and cannot be bothered to download another one. Whatever the case, you can get rid of a virus on your own, without any antivirus software.
For those of you who have a Windows computer, we have here a guide that can help you out.
Step 1: Be Vigilant and Do Your Research
You need to find out the name of the virus and the path where it is located. To do this, watch out for any pop-up security messages. If you have to click on something for more information, do so as long as you do not give out any personal details.
Once you have the name, you can then gather more information about it, and learn how to get rid a virus. If that is not possible, then do your best to locate where it is on your computer. Creators of these harmful programs will do their best to hide their damaging activities, so locating the virus may require a lot of effort. Persevere!
Step 2: Get Off the Internet
Most likely, you got your virus during one of your uninhibited searches online. To prevent the malicious file from further replicating itself, infecting your online files, or sending any of your private information back to its evil creators – disconnect from the internet.
If you’re following this guide, it’s advisable to have an offline or printed copy for reference. It’s also advisable to print out or write down any helpful information you have obtained during your research, such as the name of the virus, its path, and any filenames and processes associated with it.
Step 3: Back Up Important Files
Removing a virus can be a tricky process, especially if you don’t quite know the extent of its damage. Deleting infected files might also lead to the disappearance of some of your important folders. So before you start, it is advisable to have a backup of everything you will need in the future. Having a backup will also come in handy in case you’re forced to do a system restore.
Step 4: Reboot Your Computer in Safe Mode
To further limit the spread of the virus, enter safe mode so that only the bare minimum of programs will be running.
Go to the System Configuration or “msconfig.” To open this, click on the Windows start icon on the bottom left of the screen. On the search bar, type “msconfig” and press enter. On the pop-up window, click the “Boot” tab, select “Safe boot” then “Minimal.” Click “Ok” then restart your computer.
Step 5: Search and Stop Virus Processes
There are several ways you can locate the offending virus in case your research about it turned up nothing. One is if you have previous backups, compare those files with the current ones on your computer. Any folder or file that wasn’t there before and looks suspicious because you cannot remember where you got it from, is most likely harmful.
Another thing you can do is review the System Configuration or “msconfig.” Simply follow the instructions in Step 4 to open this. On the window that pops out, select “Selective startup” under the “General” tab.
Then, head to the “Startup” tab and review the list. Pay close attention to the “Manufacturer” column. If you see any item that has an unknown manufacturer, then uncheck it because most likely, it is malicious software. By unchecking, you just made sure that the file will not run again the next time you start up your computer. This process does not remove the virus yet. Now, restart your computer so that any currently running processes of the virus will be stopped.
After restarting, open the Windows Task Manager. You can go to the start button again and search for the task manager via the search bar. Or, you can press Ctrl + Alt + Del, then select the task manager. When on it, go to the “Processes” tab. Select any suspicious process that is running and then press “End Process.”
Step 6: Destroy the Harmful Files
If you know the location of the virus, go there and delete all malicious folders and files. Next, head to the “Registry.” To do this, type “run” in the search bar from the Windows start icon. On the pop-out, type “regedit”. You will then be taken to the Registry Editor. In it, find the same path where the virus is located and then delete the entire registry keys that the virus or malware has left behind. After this, you should be free of harm!
Step 7: Fortify
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what information the virus was able to steal from you, so just to be safe, change and strengthen the passwords of your emails, bank accounts, and any private files. Make sure they are harder to crack too.
It is also advisable that you install reliable protective software at this point to help prevent any future malware damage.
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