How To Video: Remove malware from your computer
About Video Comments (0 ) Transcript

How To Video: Remove malware from your computer

3:41 /

Worried your computer is infected? Follow these steps to identify, remove, and protect yourself against spyware, adware, and the like.

That moment you've long dreaded has come: Your Windows computer's been infected by malware. It's not the end of the world, though, and there are some programs that fight for the good guys to help you cleaned that PC. Hi, I'm Seth Rosenblatt for CNET, and today I'll be showing you how to use some helpful programs for nursing your sick computer back to health. One of the first steps is to ensure that you've actually been infected. If you're seeing system slowdowns, make sure that your computer has enough RAM. You're not going anywhere if you try to run Photoshop on 1 gig of RAM, right? Also, run system-cleaning tools like those found in CCleaner. CCleaner is best known for clearing out temporary Internet files, cookies, and other browsing tracks, but it also can wipe similar system tracks from your hard drive. These include checkdisk file fragments, windows logs, and cleaning your Registry. After CCleaner, reboot your machine before attempting anything else. If you're certain that you've got an infection, breathe deep, remain calm, and leave the panicking for other people. First off, run an antivirus scan. If you don't have one installed, you may have just figured out why you got infected. Second, see if you can restore your system to a last-known clean state without losing any major data. Windows 7 users will find it in the Control Panel's Action Center. XP users will find it under Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then click System Restore. By the way, if you haven't yet made a back up to restore your system from, now's a good time. *** But what if that doesn't work, or your last backup is from so long ago that the data loss would be catastrophic? You do have other options. Grab Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware and run its deep scan. If the malware won't let you, changing the name of the Malwarebytes installer to something innocuous might fool it. You can also boot into safe mode by hitting F8 when Windows is loading, and run the scan from there. After the scan, follow the instructions for removing any detected threats. *** If that doesn't do the trick, there are more options. One is to look through your start menu for any program that you don't recognize, and search for it on the Web to see if it's malicious or not. If it's a known threat, search for uninstallation instructions. However, this can be very time-consuming. It's more effective to use one of the free scanning tools. Kaspersky offers an excellent one that will help you identify what the infection is, and it takes about two hours to complete depending on your system. Symantec, the makers of Norton, have a new downloadable program called Power Eraser which scans and cleans your computer for free. Note that Power Eraser is effective in part because it's extremely aggressive, so be prepared to possibly lose some non-threatening programs. One of the best security tools is Trend Micro's HijackThis. It examines vulnerable or suspect parts of your system, such as browser helper objects and certain types of Registry keys, and generates a log of items. If you can't make sense of the logs, you can post them to forums like Bleeping Computer or Geeks To Go where more knowledgeable people can take a look. These gentle souls are volunteers, so don't expect immediate answers. If all else fails, you may have to do a clean re-install of your operating system and applications. Microsoft has information on how to do it safely, but keep in mind that it's really a last-ditch effort. Also, there are documented, effective ways to remove even the most obnoxious fake antivirus program. So it's not a fun process, but getting a malware infection is a problem that can be fixed. For CNET, I'm Seth Rosenblatt. And remember, don't click on anything I wouldn't click on.

New releases

Do you really want an iWatch?
4:32 July 24, 2014
It's an "Ask Brian Anything" email episode where we talk Macs, what he really thinks about the iWatch, Final...
Play video
Porsche 959: Posterchild of the...
10:10 July 24, 2014
If you had posters of cars on your bedroom wall when you were a kid, chances are the Porsche 959 may have...
Play video
Sony Xperia M2 is a sleek, affordable...
2:27 July 24, 2014
Check out our video review of the Sony Xperia M2. It's an affordable Android phone with a 4.8-inch display,...
Play video
How the £100 Nokia points the way...
32:07 July 24, 2014
Microsoft has revealed the cheapest Nokia smartphone yet, but how does the 530 point to the future of Windows...
Play video
The Netgear R8000 Nighthawk X6...
4:47 July 23, 2014
CNET editor Dong Ngo finds the Netgear R8000 Nighthawk X6 Wi-Fi router a hefty investment that doesn't return...
Play video
Can Android do for wearables what...
14:49 July 23, 2014
Google makes a play to be the center of the wearable universe, cars that communicate to each other, and what...
Play video
How accurately do fitness trackers...
2:13 July 23, 2014
As the "quantified self" craze continues, fitness trackers have us obsessing over not only how active we are...
Play video
Tomorrow Daily 023: Amazon Fire...
24:16 July 23, 2014
Today, Amazon Fire phone reviews started dropping (and they're not very good), Samsung puts a price tag on...
Play video
 

Video discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre