Even the best anti-malware protection isn’t perfect, so it’s a good idea to know how to deal with malware and viruses even if you have Antivirus program already set up.
The process we’re going to go through today is a comprehensive guide that will remove any kind of infection your Windows computer may have picked up along the way.
Here’s how you can be entirely sure your computer is malware free if it is infected:
Step 0 - Safe Mode with Networking (Optional)
Some of the more devious hackers out there modified their malware so it won’t allow you to download or run some of the scanners we recommend. If that’s the case don’t worry! We can still get around this and install the security anyway, it just takes an additional step.
We recommend trying to remove the malware in Normal mode and switch to Safe mode only if it doesn't work.
Windows has a built-in feature called ‘Safe Mode’ that enables the system to run without interference. Malware won’t affect Windows in safe mode but on the downside, many programs you do want probably won’t work either.
Opening up safe mode depends on the version of windows you’re running, here are a few different methods, pick the one that applies to your operating system:
Windows 7 (or older)
- Restart your computer, and right after it powers up (you may hear it beep) tap ‘F8’ on your keyboard, once a second until you see the screen change
- The computer will run a memory test and display hardware information, after it’s finished you will see a few options appear on the screen. Select ‘Advanced Boot Options.’
- A few options will pop up, use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select ‘Safe Mode With Networking’ and hit the ‘Enter’ key.
- While your computer is running, hold down the ‘Windows’ key on your keyboard and then hit ‘C.’ Locate and select ‘Settings.’
- Select ‘Power’ and while holding the ‘Shift’ key on your keyboard, click ‘Restart’ on screen
- When it restarts the screen will turn blue and a few options should come up, select ‘Troubleshoot’
- Select ‘Advanced Options’
- Next up is ‘Startup Settings’
- ‘Restart’ will appear on the bottom right, click that button!
- Last but not least, select ‘Enable Safe Mode With Networking’
Windows 10 is the same as Windows 8, but skip step #1.
Start instead with step #2, hold down the ‘Shift’ key and hit ‘Power’ on the taskbar.
The rest of the steps remain the same!
Step 1 - Stop Malware Processes
Alright, so the first step to wiping out any malware on your system is to stop their running processes. They may hinder with anti-malware program or may not allow cleaning processes.
To stop these background processes initiated by malware program, we will use RKill.
RKill finds running malware processes and terminates them forcefully.
It is a command line based simple tool which starts functioning just after launching it.
There are numerous options available to download the same file. Please download it with alternate filename if default one is detected as malware on your system which is actually a false positive.
RKill is a portable application and doesn't need installation.
- Double click on the downloaded application to launch RKill.
- RKill will now start working in the background, please be patient while this utility looks for malicious process and tries to end them.
- When the Rkill tool has completed its task, it will generate a log.
Do not reboot your computer after running RKill as the malware programs will start again.
Once the scanning is finished, it means RKill has stopped all the known malicious programs on your system.
Please note that RKill can only stop the malicious program.
It cannot remove it.
Your system is still infected with Malware.
Step 2 - Remove Malware and Adware
Now that you have stopped any suspicious program on your system, it is time to remove them.
MalwareFox is well known for its excellent technology that detects and removes many types of malware including spyware, trojans, worms and more.
Once you get installed successfully here’s how we can run the scan:
- Open up MalwareFox and you should be presented with three options: Threat Scan, Custom Scan and Hyper Scan. ‘Threat Scan’ should already be selected, go ahead and click ‘Start Scan.’
- Let the scanner do its thing, it may take a little while. As it scans through your system, it shows how many files it has already scanned and if any of them are dangerous.
- If it finds anything dangerous you’ll know it immediately, the entire program turns bright red when a threat is detected.
- MalwareFox will show you what type of infections it located, go ahead and check all of them off then click ‘Remove Selected’ at the bottom.
- Occasionally MalwareFox may need you to restart your computer, but if not you’re all finished!
Once MalwareFox finishes most, if not all, of the malware should be cleared from your system. But let’s run one more scan just to make sure.
Step 3 - Cleanup Remnants
The malware may be gone but if it changed any of your settings the scans won’t fix that. If you have your web browser open go ahead and close it, then re-open it again to start a new fresh session.
If some settings are wacky in your web browser still or your home page is different, here’s how to fix that:
- iNternet Explorer
- Google Chrome
- Mozilla FIREFOX
- Open your browser and click the little gear icon on the top right, then select ‘Internet Options’
- A box will pop up, select the ‘Advanced’ tab and hit the ‘Reset’ button
- Check ‘Delete Personal Settings’ and hit the ‘Reset Button’
- All done! Go ahead and close, then re-open internet explorer.
- Google has a separate tool called the ‘Chrome Cleanup Tool’ that we can use. You can download it here.
- Locate the file you downloaded and double-click on it, the Cleanup Tool should launch and begin a scan.
- Once the scan is finished, google chrome will open and prompt you to reset your settings, when you’re ready hit the ‘Reset’ button
- In the upper right corner, click the menu button (the three horizontal bars) then select the ‘Help’ button.
- A menu will pop up, select ‘Troubleshooting Information’
- A new page will be displayed, locate and click the ‘Refresh Firefox’ button on the top right
- A pop-up will appear, go ahead and hit ‘Refresh Firefox’ again
Step 4 - Preventative Measures
Congratulations, your system is clear! Pat yourself on the back, the problem is solved! Before we call it a day though there’s one more step, be sure to install some a proper antivirus program.
Going through this ordeal once was bad enough, you owe it to yourself to hopefully prevent this in the future! We put together a nice guide here you can use to select the right antivirus program for you.