6
This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.

How To Video: Remove malware from your computer

About Video 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

Philips adds a 75W Replacement SlimStyle LED to its lighting lineup
2:17 November 22, 2014
This bigger, brighter version of the original SlimStyle LED looks like a strong value in its class
Play video
2015 Acura TLX V-6 Advance (CNET On Cars, Episode 54)
16:28 November 21, 2014
Acura hopes the TLX is what it will drive into the future, we explore the head-up display coming to your car soon, and check out the...
Play video
Los Angeles Auto Show 2014: CNET's editors choose their favorites
5:55 November 21, 2014
The press days are over here at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. Before we head off into the Hollywood hills we took a moment to re-cap...
Play video
Watch Tony Hawk do endless 360s on a hoverboard, Ep. 184
5:36 November 21, 2014
This week on Crave, we can see sound waves. We might get to see an unexplored part of the moon. But most of all we get to see Tony...
Play video
The $199 HP Stream 11 wants to be as cloud-friendly as a Chromebook, but with Windows 8
2:18 November 21, 2014
If you keep expectations in check, this bargain-basement Windows 8 laptop has good battery life and a decent design.
Play video
Yamaha SRT-1000 gives good single-speaker surround
1:44 November 21, 2014
The Yamaha SRT-1000 sound base offers discrete looks, an astoundingly wide soundstage and plenty of features in a package that is still...
Play video
Hate ads? Pay Google to block them for you
2:50 November 21, 2014
Google is testing an ad-blocker service, Amazon may be inserting ads into streaming video, and Comcast lets you track the cable gu...
Play video
The 404 Show 1,584: Google Contributor, JFK has a drone problem, San Francisco's poo map (podcast)
30:08 November 21, 2014
We're back in the studio today! Join us for a very special episode complete with a full tour and the start of our Call of Duty: Advanced...
Play video