Viruses

How to Get Rid of Computer Viruses

Computer viruses are forms of malware (malicious software) designed to replicate themselves on your computer. When this happens, your computer is “infected.” Whatever the reason for their creation, having a virus on your computer is seldom good news. The result can be as simple as just slowing your computer down to something more sinister like corrupting your files or stealing your personal information.

There are various websites that advertise the ability to remove these viruses. They will often scan your computer for infections for free. They then expect payment in order to fix any discovered problems.

By following the steps below, you can learn how to remove viruses from your computer yourself, saving a few dollars and hopefully learning a few things in the process.

1. Try a system restore.

A system restore is a good way to get rid of recent malware infections. It can be done without downloading any extra programs. In fact, it is built into the Windows operating system, if this is the system you are working with.

This method works best if you catch the infection early. You don’t want to do a system restore if the virus may have had time to corrupt multiple files on your computer. The reason for this is that those files could be lost permanently in the process. Of course losing some files can have a greater impact than losing others. Losing system files, for example, can prevent your computer from functioning properly. This results in the need for more serious courses of action.

  • To do a system restore in Windows 8, navigate to “PC Settings.” You can do this by hitting the Windows key and selecting PC Settings in the drop down list of items. Alternatively, you can move your cursor to the top right of your screen and select Settings from the pop-out menu. Then click “Change PC settings” at the bottom. From the PC Settings menu, select “Update and Recovery.” Then choose “Recovery.” The Windows Wizard will then guide you through the rest of the process.
  • To do a system restore in Windows 7, navigate to your Control Panel. Do this by clicking Start → Control Panel. Within the Control Panel, click the icon that says Recovery. Then choose the “Open System Restore” button on the side of the screen. Follow the Windows wizard to guide you through the rest of the process.

2. Scan your programs.

There are countless scanning programs online that can be used to help remove light to severe malware infections. But they are not all created equal. Some will charge money for sub-par performance, while others will fix your woes for little to nothing. Ultimately, no removal program is 100% accurate. Some will remove things that others miss.

Malwarebytes is a scanning program that has a very good free version available. It can be used to eliminate many threats to your computer.

Other good programs with a free version we recommend are Panda Free Antivirus and Spybot Search & Destroy.

3. Try a fresh install.

Sometimes, if an infection is severe enough, the best course of action is to wipe your system completely and start fresh. I can hear the groans already. Granted, a fresh install is never a fun thing to do. But it is the one guaranteed way to remove any malware from your computer.

This approach will remove everything saved on your computer and revert back to your original copy of Windows. So it will not recover corrupted files. It is really a last line response. But it will give you back your computer, if nothing else. Sometimes a fresh start is just what we need.

Most of the time viruses will only affect applications (files with the .exe extension) so it is typically safe to back up any pictures, documents, or music on a flash drive to reload them after you’ve reinstalled Windows.

To complete a fresh install, after you have backed up any files, follow the steps in the first suggestion listed in this article to open the “Update and Recovery” menu. Then follow the Windows wizard to revert to your original copy of Windows.

4. Try to prevent viruses.

As usual, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Once you have resolved your issue with the steps above it is time to consider how you can prevent your computer from being infected in the future.

Consider purchasing virus prevention software to offer optimal protection from malware in the future. This software will often identify possible issues before they become serious problems. If you are visiting certain types of websites for instance where an antivirus program continuously identifies problem areas, consider avoiding that website in the future!

We suggest Avast and AVG, both of which have free and trial versions available for download.

You can also download popup blockers in your favourite Internet browser of choice. AdBlock is a great choice. AdBlock works to block popup advertisements before they can even cause you any problems. Using something like AdBlock together with a virus prevention program can bring you well on your way to getting rid of a computer virus.

Computer viruses can be tricky to deal with. But a little patience can go a long way. Remember not to panic! That is never a good course of action. Do what you can to recover your files in the event of a corrupted computer. In the worst of cases, you may have to bring your computer back to a blank slate through a systems restore. Use some antivirus software to your advantage to help avoid and prevent this possibility! Whichever road you choose to deal with your problem, we wish you luck.

About the author

Nicole Harding

65 Comments

  • Get a Mac. No virus there. By the way your picture to go with the story is showing a mac not a virus infested pc Nick

  • something that no one has mentioned is.. if you dont have many importnat things in your hard drive or have a backup. and everything else has failed, you can just reformat the drive and reinstall your operating system. this is really easy to do, just follow instructions that appear on screen. this is also effective when you’ve done everything agaisnt spyware but your comp is still slow.

  • Anyone know how to get rid of this annoying “Runtime Error” that keeps popping up on my screen? Please help!

  • caroline… it depends what program you’re running when that happens. if its java enabled or runs on java try updating your java version to the must recent one. but like i said.. it depends what program youre running. might not be java related.

  • hey does anyone know a virus that shuts down your computer after 1 minute. Every time I turn my computer on it starts a countdown from one minute. Can I get rid of it?

  • if you find out the answer to your question let me know because im having the same problem.
    thanks,
    Need help bad

  • Good virus prevention is just as easy as using common sence. Only go to web sites that are “secure” and are well known. If you receive an e-mail from anyone that you havent given your e-mail adress to, its probably a bogus e-mail encrypted with a virus of som sort (spyware, trojan,worm etc). The key to a clean computer system is to be a smart user and just ignore anything you arent sure of. Clicking away on random sites and links is a quick way to contract spyware in your system. Hope this helps any of you.

  • A computer guy once told me that viruses make copies of themselves into the system restore application. It might be worth turning off system restore before running any anti-virus programs. But to be honest the only really effective way I’ve ever found to get rid of viruses once and for all is to format the hard drive. And then load the operating system and the latest (virus scanned) updates, firewall and antivirus programs straight from disc. I’ve found that running a basic operating system like XP straight from the genuine microsoft disc without any of the latest updates on the internet always attracts nasties before I can get the chance to install a firewall or anti virus.

  • Hey Mac users! I have a spyware virus on my mac. What do I do to get rid of it on my iMac?
    Thank God that I have kept up to date with Norton Antivirus on my PC (Laptop)so I hope it will be ok.

  • All you do is go back to a good restore point. I would say about a week or two, depending on when the virus started. Download avg or some other free software and run that. This is to detect if any virus’ left in your computer. If all else fails, re-install you operating system. It will be like starting over again.

  • we just got internet like last week. and it already got a virus and like everytime I go on to the internet it say your computer is infected.

  • I recently had a virus that went into my .dll files in the registry. If your anti spyware things do not work what you can do is rename them and run them in safe mode. The program I used was sdfix.exe. Amazing program that really eliminates and repairs things, it’s great.

  • My daughter got a virus in her computer it is very evil..cannot restore before the day she got it tried to use norton internet security to get rid of …its like it knows and somehow protects itself ran a scan says no virus cannot go online with it ugh! not sure what else to do i guess i will have to take it in somewhere not really worth fixing unless under 100 dollars lol

  • I downloaded the avast anti virus thing and ran a scan and all of the possible viruses or whatever came up and one of them said Trojan which I know is bad and it seems like it made my computer slower now when I try to get on the Internet a window pops up saying your computer is infected with a dangerous virus and it won’t let me on the Internet if theres something I can do myself like resetting everyting please let me know.

  • Hey
    GET LINUX

    although alot of you think Linux is lame, complicated, and in-compatible with current day technology, it isnt.

    Linux is actually pretty much virus free, I’ve never gotten a virus on my Ubuntu (a “distribution” of linux)

    check it out! http://www.ubuntu.com/ is the best distribution I’ve found so far, it works (and boots) just like any normal windows!(only better)

  • i got a virus that says, your computer was infected by a virus. and then it tells me to click ok to download a antivirus called ieav.exe and everytime i click a link or open something it pops up. how do i get rid of it?!?!?!??

  • I need help with my e machine computer I think that i have a virus but can not get on to any service because my computer has blocked everything I can only get onto the internet via safe mode but can not buy or download any anti-virus or spy wear to clear my system I’v been advised to restart my computer to it’s factory settings but don’t know how can anyone help me please.

  • Try BitDefender Online Scanner or install BitDefender Free Edition 8 from download.com. Once you are sure that your computer is clean, install Acronis True Image Home 11 and create an image of your Drive C. Next time a virus, trojan, worms etc. gets into your PC, run the Acronis and restore the image.

  • HELP my computer has a virus, when i turn it on it shows bugs eating away a black screen turning it blue and then after that the wallpaper is a red screen with a biohazard sign and a download now link and i don’t know what to do about it because my virus scan says it can’t help

  • my computer has like 11 viruses and i dont know what to do on the bottom it says virus vault near my clock on the computer !!! eshayzz

  • If all else fails buy a portable hard drive and store all your files photo’s etc you want to keep on to it.Do a complete re-build which will remove everthing off your computer and it will return to how it was when you bought it. You will need to re install the internet and transfer your files etc back from your portable hard drive. I have a Dell, I rang them and they gave me clear instuctions how to perfom this. Good luck.

  • I have been told by many people that my computer has a virus… I dont have any money to get any kind of virus protection right now… I tried to download one of those free scan things but it always asks for my email address to send me a number to put in for the scan to work… well because of the virus I cant sign into my email, it says that the cookies were rejected. It also wont let me sign into myspace or AOL, and everytime I try to do something on my computer it says that the application failed. How do I fix this!?!?

  • This isn’t a tip but theres a virus that came along with antivirus XP 2008, theres a small pop up that says I have spam on my computer and when I try to exit out of it theres just another one behind it same when I try to move it and even when I press Ok still it doesn’t go away. I have super antispyware free edition and if I can just get rid of the pop up about spam then I can get rid the other viruses, because the pop up won’t let me click on a the window when I open super anitspyware, I was thinking about using A USB cable to plug into my Xbox 360 and delete the pop up and other viruses, And since Xbox 360’s are made by microsoft and my computer uses windows it shouldn’t affect my Xbox 360, right

  • I have a problem with my lap top turning on but not getting past the safe mode and it will try to start then return to start with safe mode can any one help me?

  • help my everytime I turn on my PC, it automatically shutdown and turn on and shut down again and again… what is happening what kind of virus is that? could anybody help solve my problem and please let me know how to delete it, one more thing is that my USB got infected too, and I want to reformat or delete everything, how could I do that? than you…

  • hello there! Is anybody knows how to format a USB? please I would be glad if you could help solve my problem. thanks

  • I have a virus on my computer >.> nearly everytime i open a file in my computer, my documents etc. a message pops up saying “Attention,8800GT!(my computers name)Some dangerous files were detected in your system. Microsoft Windows XP files corrupted. This may lead to the destruction of important files in C:WINDOWS. Download protection software now!” and if i click yes it goes right to a link i download without any information so its fairly obvious its a virus. And i don’t know if its the same or different virus but my internet explorer doesn’t work it just keeps popping up a link for anti-spyware everytime i try to do something, im in serious need of help 🙁 if you think you can help email me and i’ll try to get it(hard to read email cause so many popups) Josh_Taylor9@live.com

  • i was at a site and i clicked on a link. something popped up that said run, don’t run, or saved. i clicked on run and my company had downloaded something. after that my computer started to act funny. i looked on my desktop background it was all red, has the biohazard symbol, and it says you have a virus!!!

    what do i do???

  • i have a trojan on my laptop and can not get it off…. it keeps pulling up internet explorer….. when or when i’m not on the net…

  • I have a virus on my pc. Every time I go to internet explorer I get a message that says I have a virus, download total secure 2009. I cant get past the pop ups. Can I go to restore to mix or how do I get rid of the virus? I use Mcaffe protection.

  • Watch out for Antivirus XP 2008. It installs fake Windows security alerts which are ANNOYING. And it tells you your computer is infected, it tries to mimic a real Windows XP version, but if you didn’t install it – do NOT click on anything. It also does not give you the option to close the application. You can only scan, which installs it. It has a virs, trojans, malware and spyware. And I tried to reove it – but it corrupted some of my .exe files, so now my system does not start up past the Windows start up page. BEWARE!!!!! I now need to seek professional help (for my computer) and maybe myself. I just hope that my systm can be restored, even in safe mode – I can’t get past it.

  • have a virus on my pc. Every time I go to internet explorer I get a message that says I have a virus, download total secure 2009. I cant get past the pop ups. Can I go to restore to mix or how do I get rid of the virus? I use Mcaffe protection.

  • hii my frend sent me this virus on my laptop by a messege and now it wont let me on the internet it says the webpage cannot be displayed but it lets me on msn coz that is at the bottem of my destop

    HELLP ME I DONT KNOW

    WHAT 2 DO X

  • if you want a decent anti-virus get the avast anti-virus free to download online it will pick up any virus before it enters your computer and tell you if you want to delete the virus that is there and it is the only anti-virus that i have found out of all off them that detects and deletes worms before they enter your system

  • I have a several viruses, like trojans, keyloggers, adware, spyware etc. I downloaded an antivirus thing from this site. But it doesn’t work. It just scans my computer in like 10 seconds and tells me I have over 2000 files infected! OMGSH! Can someone tell me some way of getting rid of it without moving my files, or deleting everything? I can’t open up any files either so i cant open up the Windows Anti-Virus thing either

  • i got a virus posing as a antivirus system and my mcafee isnt picking it up on the scan, there is a red x icon by the clock on my screen, and an error msg pops up saying some crap about mozilla fox and how it might be infected, then it gets cheezy and makes that full screen error blue backround that i can exit how of by pressing control alt delete, so i know my computer isnt really shutting down, anyway, its a virus posing as a antivirus system, and mcafee doesnt pick it up, any tips?

  • i have lots of viruses my computer gets all these pop-ups and most of them are this thing called ciD: they slow my computer down when im on the internet and my computer is now slower than ever. i would like a free anti-virus webste which isnt fake and acually works. do you have any ideas that i can use and a good antivirus thing please..
    thanks

  • Delete anything called ‘not_a_virus’ or dont open a file sent to you called ‘your mam naked’ or something like that. kapersky is a good anti virus system to get for your PC cos thats what they use on some office computers and they never get viruses! it is waaaaaay better than norton

  • umm i have been getting this virus that sends it to other ppl from my computer adn it say foto haha and a wedsite but i clicked it that one of my friends sent it to me and now i dotn kno what to do ..if someone can help me with this .. plezz and thanxs

  • Hi, My main pc has got a virus on it – i had avg software for anti virus but i am unable to delete the threat as i cannot connect to the internet! The pc also keeps turning off after about 15 minutes, can anyone help please?

  • Good Day, I have a Microsoft Windows XP PROFF. VERSION 2002. I have picked up a virus from somewhere, and what is happening now, is that I am getting oblong shape message that says: BAD IMAGE,with a red x circled, then – “the application or dllc: WINDOWSsystem32OARSGG.DLL is not a valid window image. Please check this against your installation diskett. this mesage jumps up everytime and blocks everything. Thank you for your advise.

  • Hello i have a trojan virus,every web stie i go to its says “Waring this site may harm your computer.”and i dont want to pay to clean it.Please help me fast!!!!!:(

  • Everytime I turn my laptop a section of the screen goes black nd the rest a very bright colour i have Bullgaurd and it says that my computer is clean. Please help me it would be most appreciated.

  • I have lots of viruses my computer gets all these pop-ups and most of them are this thing called trojans/malware/viruses etc. They slow my computer down when im on the internet and my computer is now slower than ever. I would like a free anti-virus webste which isn’t fake and acually works. Do you have any ideas that i can use and a good antivirus thing please..
    Thanks

  • The one I have keeps popping up Red…..strongly suggest to update my computers personal security software….what is this…Just paid a shop to clean my computer up and it lasted about a month..thanks

  • Help. I have a fake alert on my microsoft word documents. It tells me my word isn’t valid which isn’t true. I have AVG antvirus on my computer. I recently tried to send a file by e-mail and I was notified that the file was infected with a virus. I was given options to get rid of the virus. I chose heal all infected. Nothing seems to happen when I do this. No information pops up on my screen. How do I get rid of the virus?

  • Umm i have like 10 infected programs.and the viruses are trojans.plz tell me what trojans are.i wanna ge rid of em

  • I have my laptop with alot of viruses and my brother is fixing it and i owe him alot of thank yous and how do i get rid of them without paying i’m very excied to know!

  • I have a virus that keeps downloading and its lie a video software i think its called flv something i keep uninstalling it but it keeps coming back what do i do

  • I think i have a viruse or multipal viruses and it wot let me open any of my files on my desk top or start menue i tried shutting my computer down but it froze! i need help on how to get rid of it please help.

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