The Complete Computer Virus Removal Guide

Written by:  Donna Buenaventura • Edited by: Aaron R.
Updated Aug 4, 2010
• Related Guides: Spyware | Windows

Rootkits, Trojan Horses, worms, viruses, spyware, adware, fake AV and other type of malware require different computer virus removal tools. You need to know your enemy before using any self-help guide or removal tools, so check out this guide to learn about them all.

Free Virus Removal

There's no need to pay or subscribe to a service for computer virus removal. If you have the right tools and are familiar with how it works, you'll get back your system in no time. There's plenty of self-help guides but you have to be careful to not fall into websites of rogueware affiliates, offering free downloads of trial versions of anti-malware or anti-virus programs. Not that there is something wrong in using trial versions but if what you install only offers a free to scan without free malware removal, you just wasted your time and potentially infected your system with rogueware.

Removing Fake, Misleading or Rogue Programs

Rogue and fake AV distributors will use blackhat SEO techniques to get their malicious page on top of search engine results. Any Rogue AntiVirus Internet user who views the page is a potential victim of a Trojan downloader that will install fake AV. Some of the bad guys will rip up the user's existing interface and database of trustworthy and popular antivirus or antispyware programs or it will detect non-existing threats.

To remove rogue programs, follow the steps below:

  • Use Rkill to automatically shutdown the malicious process by the fake AV. If it will not work or run, use Process Explorer to manually kill the malware process. If you are using Windows XP, you can use the Task Manager included in xp_emergencyutil.zip by Windows Expert, Doug Knox.
  • You must not reboot the computer after shutting down the malware process. Immediately, install removal tools such as Ad-Aware, EmsiSoft (formerly known as A-squared Free), Malwarebytes, Spybot - S&D or SUPERAntiSpyware.
  • Update the removal tool and run a quick scan.

The fake or rogue programs should be taken care of by using any of the above tools.

Removing Trojans, Viruses or Worms

Virus ordinateur Not all Trojans will install fake or rogue AV because there are also Trojan horses that will install keyloggers to record and steal your personal information such as credit card numbers, login credentials, passwords and other valuable data.

A computer worm is another type of malware that will use your computer to infect other people's PC in your network or spam your contacts. Worms often affects computers that are not protected with the latest security updates. Most worm creators will take advantage of unpatched security flaws in Windows (also known as Zero-day vulnerabilities). The infect computer may also become part of a botnet.

Viruses will replicate and reproduce by infecting other files in the computer, usually important files such as critical system files. It can infect other computers in the network or transfer through a removable drive such as a USB drive, floppy disc, CD or DVD.

If you suspect that the PC is infected by worms, computer viruses or a Trojan horse, use the following steps to clean the computer:

Please note that the above malware scanners in Removing Fake, Misleading or Rogue programs can also detect and remove Trojans, worms and viruses, but only use them if you have downloaded the anti-malware tools and its latest detection updates using another computer. Keeping your internet connection active may cause infection to other computers or infection of the tools themselves.

Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons/Luc.alquier (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Virus_ordinateur.jpg)

 
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