Getting Rid Of Malware
In our last post we talked about how you can spot a malware infection on your computer. But if one day you turn on your computer and discover it infected with malware, what do you do? It could be a Trojan that snuck in through an innocent file, a nasty strain of ransomware threatening to expose your information if you don’t pay, or a data worm eating through your data until there’s nothing left. So how do you get rid of it, and quickly? Luckily, most malware can be removed at home once you know it’s there, so before you call a professional, try these simple steps:
Boot Up In Safe Mode
As soon as you realise you have malware on your computer you need to act. While some might be ok to leave there for a while, some types of malware do more damage the longer they have access to your system. So first, disconnect your machine from the internet (to stop the malware from spreading anywhere else – remember some types can attach themselves to emails and send them out to your entire address book), shut it down and boot up again in safe mode. For Windows machines, you just need to press the F8 key repeatedly as soon as you see anything on the screen in startup. For a Mac, shut down your computer and hold down the shift key as it boots back up.
Delete Temporary Files
Once you’ve booted up in safe mode, you have the option to delete all the temporary files on your machine. This will speed up the process of virus scanning, free up disk space and potentially even get rid of some types of malware that make their home in temporary internet files. Just use the disk clean-up function in safe mode and let it run.
Download A Malware Scanner
Now you’re ready to take on the malware safely. Thankfully a standard malware scanner is usually thorough enough to get rid of most infections. If you have anti-virus installed on your computer, make sure you don’t use their malware scanner, as the malware has already got past it once so it is unlikely to catch everything. There are millions of variants of malware – no scanner is going to catch them all. So look for a malware scanner and run it, or use something like a FixMeStick, which is a plug and play anti-virus USB specifically designed to take our malware. It’s a self-bootable stick that operates in a separate, clean environment, which makes it incredibly effective. It’s not cheap, but it’s the safest method of removing malware.
Fix Your Web Browser
Once you’ve run a malware scan and cleaned it up, make sure you restore your browser settings. Some types of malware can do sneaky things to settings, like adjusting your browser homepage to a site filled with malware waiting to re-infect your machine. So, make sure all of your browser and connection settings are ok before you start using your computer. Make sure you do this before you connect to the internet, not after!
Recover Your Files
By now your computer should be completely clean of viruses and won’t be re-infected the second it goes online, so you can start rebuilding. If you have been clever and backed up your data regularly, you can simply restore your files from a backup that you know was clean. But before you do that, make sure you invest in and install some stronger anti-virus software on your machine, so you don’t have to go through it all again!
If you find yourself stuck when it comes to cleaning malware off your computer – don’t worry! There are plenty of experts like us out there to help you regain control of your machine and clean up your systems. Our lines are always open, so even if you’ve got halfway through the process and hit a brick wall, we can help you complete the disinfection and return to normal. Just get in touch for help removing malware form your computer, or advice on how to avoid it in the first place!