How to Remove/Fix Malware From Your Windows PC
There are a number of signs that you might see when your PC is infected with malware. These include slow performance, more pop-ups, and other things that just seem strange. If you see these things, it’s very possible that your computer has become infected with spyware, viruses, or another nefarious program…this could happen even if you have an antivirus program. It’s true that these problems might be caused by some type of hardware issue, but it’s best to first look into malware if your computer is acting strange.
Here is a step-by-step guide for doing this:
1. Go Into Safe Mode
Malware removal begins in Safe Mode. Before you do anything, you should first disconnect your computer from the internet and don’t reconnect until you are ready to get your machine clean. This helps to prevent any existing malware from spreading.
If you think that your computer might have a malware issue, boot your computer into Safe Mode. When in this mode, only the programs and services that are completely necessary are loaded when Windows starts. When you enter into this mode, malware won’t load. This is important because it allows the files to be removed much easier since they are not active and running.
Microsoft has made the process of going into Safe Mode very easy in Windows 7 and Windows 8, but in Windows 10, it’s much more difficult. In Windows 10, to go into Safe Mode, select the Power button like you might when rebooting the computer, but don’t click it yet. Instead, hold down the Shift key and click on Reboot. A full-screen menu appears, and you should click Troubleshooting, Advanced Options, and then Startup Settings. A new window appears, and you should click Restart, and another new screen should appear.
This screen has a menu with several startup options. The fourth option is Safe Mode. If you want to connect to any online scanners during this process you should choose the fifth option, Safe Mode with Networking.
Many people notice that their PCs run faster when in Safe Mode. If yours does, it might indicate that your system is, indeed, infected with malware. It could also mean that you have a lot of programs starting up when Windows starts.
2. Delete Your Temporary Files
Once you are safely in Safe Mode, you should scan your computer for viruses. However, before you do that, you should make sure that you delete your temporary files. This helps the virus scanning process go faster, it frees up space on your drive, and might even get rid of malware. You should do this by using the Disk Cleanup program. In Windows 10, you can type “Disk Cleanup” into the search bar. You can also press Start and then select “Disk Cleanup.”
Computers have certainly made our lives easier. However, it’s also true that we have to deal with things like viruses, malware, computer worms, Trojans, and more. These can infect your computer at any time, and they can be a pain in the neck to get rid of.
3. Use a Good Antivirus Program
If you already have an antivirus program installed on your machine and it gets infected, it’s likely that the software you are using is unreliable. Uninstall it and make the investment into a new one. You can buy them online or buy the actual physical version. Either way, it’s best to get the paid version instead of the free version. This gives you access to all of the features. Some of the recommended antivirus programs include McAfee Antivirus, Avast, AVG, Webroot, Norton Security, Bitdefender, and Kaspersky Anti-Virus.
4. Scan Your Machine
There are many different types of malicious programs that are out there today and these include viruses, Trojans, ransomware, and worms. To check to see if your machine already has these, make sure you do a full scan of the machine with your new antivirus software. Also, make sure that your antivirus is fully updated before doing this scan. This could take a while depending on the size of your drive and the number of files you have on your computer. When the scan is complete, you will know exactly what you are dealing with.
5. Remove All of the Malware
Once you know what type(s) of malware you have on your computer, your antivirus software will prompt you on fixing it. These programs have different ways to do this, but the most common is a permanent deletion of the software or storing it in a secure area, called quarantine, which stops it from doing further harm.
6. Stop More Infections
It’s possible that these programs can damage your system files or other Windows settings. One common trait of malware is to modify your browsers home page, which could re-infect your computer. These can also prevent browsing, display ads, or just be an annoyance.
Before you launch your browser program, check the connection settings and the home page. To do this with Internet Explorer, click the Start button in Windows 10 and choose Control Panel, and then Internet Options. Look for the Home Page settings in the tab labeled General, and then verify that it’s not a strange site. For Firefox, Chrome, or Edge, you should go to the settings window of the browser to look for the homepage setting.
Prevention is always better than curing computer viruses. You should do your best to protect your machine by taking the following steps:
- Perform regular scans for viruses. Most antivirus software allows you to automatically schedule these scans based on your preferences. They can do daily, weekly, bi-weekly, etc.
- Don’t open any e-mails that look suspicious. These might be infected with malicious programs.
- Only go to websites that are secure. These have https://, not http://
- Download and use a VPN, or virtual private network. A VPN can help you remain safe from viruses because it encrypts your online connection. This means that hackers cannot inject malware into your system through your internet connection.
If you follow all of the above advice, you won’t have any worries about getting computer viruses.
If you want a full and complete internet and computer security set up, you should pair your antivirus software with a VPN. A VPN uses some of the toughest security protocols on the market to ensure that hackers cannot access your device.