The internet can be a dangerous place and it’s likely that all of us will get a virus at some point, as we surf our way around the web. To cover this eventuality we’ve put together a guide on what to do if you think your computer has been infected with something nasty.
If you’ve made it to this page you’re going to be looking for some quick, effective help on how to get your PC back to normal again. We’re here to give you just that.
If you have control and can access the internet, the follow the guide immediately below. If you’ve lost control in some way and are unable to access the internet or your PC won’t start up properly, follow the steps further down.
Let’s get started.
How to remove a virus from your laptop or PC
Make sure you follow these steps carefully and in this order.
Some malicious programs will actively try and stop an antivirus from removing them, or even from running at all. So before we can remove the virus we need to stop any actions its taking.
Download a program called “rkill”, you can find it here. Once you have it downloaded, run it and wait for it to complete.
This will stop any malicious processes from running and allow our anti-virus to work its magic in our next step. It’s important that you DO NOT restart your computer until these steps are completed. Many viruses have the ability to start acting again after your PC has rebooted.
Download the latest version of Malwarebytes from their website and install it.
Open it up and go into the Settings. Go into the tab at the top called “Protection”, and under “Scan Options”, enable the “Scan for rootkits” option.
Once you have done this, go back to “Dashboard” at the top left, and then hit “Scan now.”
Malwarebytes is considered one of the best malware removal tools around. It will remove the majority of known infections and has built in repair tools that help repair any damage caused.
Finally, go and get Malwarebytes ADWcleaner from the Malwarebytes website.
Open it up and hit the “Scan” button.
The combination of these three tools should be enough to find and kill anything nasty in your system. If they’ve all completed properly, you should now be Malware free.
How to remove a virus from laptop or PC if you’ve lost control
Sometimes viruses can affect your system so badly that you can barely control your machine, or perhaps it won’t even start up at all.
If this has happened to you then follow the steps below, and you’ll have a decent shot at recovering your PC.
We are going to create a recovery tool for your infected PC. When a PC starts up it is told by the BIOS to load files from a specific drive. This will usually be your C drive where your operating system is stored by default. However, your C drive is infected and won’t boot up properly. So we need to create a new drive for your PC to boot from, which contains a recovery tool that will get your machine back into shape. Don’t worry, it’s much more simple than it sounds.
You’re going to need access to another computer, and a blank DVD or USB drive.
Go and download the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool from Norton's website.
If you’re using a blank DVD, insert it into the DVD drive.
Find your way to the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool file, and right click the file named “NBRT.iso” and click “Burn disc image”. In the Windows Image burner, select the DVD Drive and Click “Burn”.
If you’re using a USB Drive, download and install the Rufus tool. This will allow you to turn a USB Drive into a bootable image for your infected PC to recognise.
Insert a USB Drive (make sure there is nothing on the USB drive that you want to keep, as this process will wipe any data on it) and wait for Rufus to detect it.
Under “Format Options”, select “Create a bootable disk using”, and then select ISO Image from the drop down menu. Click the CD Drive icon, and find your way to your Norton Boot Recovery Tool file that you downloaded. Select the NBRT.iso.
Click start, and then Ok. When the process has completed, close it.
Now you have your bootable recovery tool, take it to your infected computer and insert it. Then boot up or restart your computer.
When you start up your computer, enter BIOS mode by pressing the appropriate key as your computer starts. It should display it on the screen as a prompt for a few seconds.
The next step will vary slightly depending on your BIOS, but you’ll need to navigate to your boot options and select the DVD or USB drive that you inserted.
Save the changes and exit the BIOS. Your machine will now boot up from the drive. If a boot menu appears on the Welcome to NBRT page, select “Boot.”
Follow the steps through and start the scan.
When the scan completes you will be presented with a results window which will display any threats that have been discovered, along with a recommended action. Look at these carefully because once you click fix on these threats, any files deleted can’t be restored.
Once you are happy, click “Fix.” You will be asked for confirmation, click “OK”.
When the process has finished, hit “Reboot.”
If all goes well this should fix the issues with your PC. When you boot it up, I would highly recommend following the first set of steps to make sure you are Malware free.
How to stop getting viruses
The best way to keep yourself safe on the internet is to ensure that your security package is up to date. Windows 10 has a built in firewall, and an effective antivirus in the form of Windows Defender. Extra protection is always a good idea though, and the easiest way to get it is to purchase some security software.
Some other general tips are to never open an e-mail attachment unless you’re absolutely positive that the person has sent it to you on purpose. If in doubt, get in contact with them and ask them.
Where possible, make sure that any time you download something you are getting it from the source website. For example, if you need to update Flash then make sure you go to Adobe’s website. There are many websites that are set up to look like the real version, but are really just imitations designed to gain your trust. Always double-check the URL at the top of the screen carefully to ensure you are on the real website.
Are you having trouble with DRM on your online content? Follow our guide to remove it.