Many of us panic when we get a computer infection. We do not know what to do or where to start. Sometimes it can be easy or it can be very hard to remove these infections, depending on the sophistication of the virus.
The first step should be is to disconnect you computer from the internet, and disable it from any network of computers. If possible, try to back up any critical files or data to an external hard drive or USB flash drive.
The next step is to use antivirus software to detect any malware infections. Make sure you have the latest updates. You should not use the infected computer to update the anti virus software. Preferably, try using another computer to download the updates, and copy the updates to CD or USB flash drive to prevent further spreading of the virus. Now you can do a full system scan.
A great emergency tool is to get a portable virus scanner to help scan your infected computer. ClamWin Free Antivirus is a great popular portable antivirus cleaner that has a high detection rate for viruses and spyware. You can place it on a USB flash drive, and scan any computer that is infected. It should not be used as your every day antivirus program, since it does not have on-access real time scanning, but only use it in an emergency.
If for some reason your computer has a severe virus infection, try rebooting your system in safe mode. Running in Safe mode by tapping F8 just before the startup, could help prevent the virus from booting up. After, you can try to perform a full scan with the antivirus software.
Another option is to format the hard drive. I would only use this as a last option when things are corrupt and cannot be fixed. Do a full format and not a quick format, because some virus can still reoccur. A good idea is to partition your hard drive. If your system is infected you most likely do not have to format the entire hard drive, but only the infected partition if necessary.
There are a number of free software antivirus and antispyware programs to help protect your system. Avast Home Edition, Avira AntiVir Personal, Dr. Web CureIt, Spybot - Search & Destroy, SUPERAntiSpyware and Spyware Terminator are all free software. It is important to have more than one scanner because not all scanners can detect everything.
If you are looking for a way to improve your system security, then a firewall is a recommended suggestion. A firewall will monitor and limit connections to your computer from the internet and other users. It can also prevent programs from accessing the internet without your permission.
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