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How Do I Get Rid of Malware?

Web users should double check the address bar of their browser before accepting a download.
Antivirus and other security software can help reduce the chances of a computer being infected by a virus or other malware.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 31 July 2014
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Malware can happen to anybody. This malicious software can slow down a computer, clog the screen with popup ads, and expose people to identity theft. There are a number of techniques which can be used to get rid of malware once it appears, and to reduce the risk of being contaminated by malware in the first place. It is important for computer users to promptly update their software and operating systems when new versions and patches come out, as this will radically cut down on the risk of viruses and malware.

One option for getting rid of malware is to pay someone else to do it. Many computer support companies will get rid of malware for a small fee. These professionals can accomplish the job quickly and thoroughly, and they will also usually update the computer's software and operating system to make sure that everything will run smoothly.

There are also steps which individual computer users can use to clean up malware. The first thing to do is to open the computer's antivirus software and conduct a scan. Antivirus software usually includes malware detection, and the software can find and destroy malware. This software is only effective when it's updated regularly, so users should make sure that updates and full system scans are regularly scheduled to keep their computers protected. For people who find antivirus software too expensive, several companies offer versions of their products for free; Avira's AntiVir is an example of a free antivirus product.

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It is also possible to get rid of malware with a malware cleaner or malware removal tool, a program which is specifically designed to find and remove malware. People should be careful about downloading malware cleaners, however, because many malware producers disguise their products as antivirus or malware removal software. Some good products to use include Anti-Malware from Malwarebytes or Ad-Aware from Lavasoft. Users should always download from a trusted site, like CNet, and they should pay attention to what's in the address bar to make sure that they are downloading software from a reliable source. Windows users can take advantage of the Malicious Software Removal Tool, available for free at the Windows website, to get rid of malware.

The risk of accidentally downloading malware can be reduced by using the latest version of a web browser, and keeping antivirus protection on at all times. Computer users should also be careful about downloading things and opening attachments, taking care to confirm that material comes from a trusted source.

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Discuss this Article

Mykol
Post 9

I don't think we can be too careful when it comes to computer safety. I try to do whatever I can to keep my computer virus free.

I always keep it updated and make sure my anti-virus program is current and up to date. Mine automatically runs a scan every week. I like this because this way I don't have to remember to schedule it.

I am also very careful about the emails I open up. If I don't know who the email is from, I am very hesitant about opening it.

I never open up an email attachment from someone I don't know as this can often be a dangerous thing to do.

sunnySkys
Post 8

@starrynight - Some computers come with a program that helps you back up. There's practically no excuse for not doing it!

I have a Macbook, which has the program "Time Machine" on it. All you have to do is plug your computer into an external hard drive and use the time machine program to back up. I usually back up about once a week. Then if I need to reformat for any reason, I can use my Time Machine files to reload all my stuff onto my computer!

However, Macs aren't really prone to getting viruses. I'm on my second Mac laptop and I've never had virus problems with either one of them. I'm never going back to PC!

starrynight
Post 7

One easy way to get rid of malware is to just reformat your hard drive. You should be backing up your computer on a regular basis, so if you get malware or a virus, all you have to do is reformat and then reinstall. Easy as pie!

However, I know a lot of people that don't bother taking the time to back up their computer. In fact, I used to be one of those people. One of my old computers was completely decimated by a virus (I wasn't using an anti-virus software at the time, silly me) and I had neglected to back up. I pretty much lost everything. I learned my lesson though!

SteamLouis
Post 6

My computer was infected with malware last year. I think it came with a movie that I was downloading from online. It was such a nightmare because the malware prevented me from doing anything on the computer. It kept popping up a screen that told me to purchase an anti-virus program. I could not click on anything and I could not open my anti-virus program to detect and delete the malware.

I had no option but to take it to a Computer Tech to get the malware off. It took them two days to get rid of it and they said that it was one of the worst ones they had seen. I don't think I could have dealt with it on my own. Who knows how long my computer would have been out of use if I hadn't taken it to the Tech guys.

Anyway, they cleaned everything up and uploaded some special software to protect from malware in the future. Everything's been fine since then. I'm so glad I had it taken care of professionally.

everetra
Post 5

@nony - I’ve used registry cleaners and analyzers. These programs will scan your system and registry to see where settings may have been changed by malware or spyware.

They will then report on their findings and give you the option of making changes or accepting the settings updates. Sometimes even though you’ve removed the malware utility itself you still have some damage done to your computer system, and these utilities will help you restore the system back to normal.

nony
Post 4

I have a horror story to share about malware removal. My friend was browsing the Internet one day and a popup came up telling her that she had viruses on her computer, and all she had to do was “click” on the popup OK button and it would “clean” her computer.

You can guess what happened. Instead of cleaning her computer, it installed a whole bunch of malware and viruses instead. The next thing she knew, her programs wouldn’t operate as usual, icons were missing, her taskbar was messed up and other weird erratic behavior was taking place in her once stable computer system.

She was on the phone asking for my technical help. I spent hours undoing the damage, using malware removal and other tools. I used safe mode because some viruses load automatically on startup. So stay away from malware pop ups of any kind, even if they claim to be helping.

Moldova
Post 3

The malware remover I use is Spyware Doctor. It gets rid of malware for free. I run a scan every day to make sure that my computer does not have anything.

I also do the updates that it requests in order to catch any malware. The other day I had a pop up that wouldn’t go away and I ran a scan and sure enough I had a virus that was instantly removed.

I couldn’t believe how easy that was. I think that in this day and age anti-spyware along with a good anti-virus program is essential if you are going to be using your computer online. I am always paranoid about getting viruses which is why I probably go a little over board with the daily scans, but I rather be safe than sorry.

letshearit
Post 2

@manykitties2 - Getting rid of malware for free would be nice but sometimes it doesn't really work, as I am sure you have found out. You may need to buy a good antivirus suite and it should come with something to remove malware.

If you really want to know how to get rid of malware for free, you may want to try following one of the instructional videos on YouTube. They can give you some hints that you may have not already tried, if you aren't willing to pay for antivirus software. If you absolutely can't get rid of malware you'll have to take your computer into a repair shop and it may cost a pretty penny to fix.

manykitties2
Post 1

Does anyone know how to get rid of malware that is causing your Internet to get flooded with popup ads?

My roommate downloaded a bunch of videos and now we can't seem to get rid of the popups on our computer. Most of the ads are for business investment schemes and clearly seem to be phishing scams.

I have tried those get of malware for free programs online and so far haven't been having much luck. Though one of them did get rid of a virus I didn't know I had. I guess the problem with communal computers is that they pick up all sorts of things from different websites and downloads.

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