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.