The Internet is a dangerous place, and if you are not careful, you can infect your computer with all sorts of viruses, worms or other harmful programs. And if you browse lots of websites and download lots of files, chances are that you have infected your computer at least once before.
It’s common knowledge that it is far easier to prevent something than treat it, but when it comes to computers, this hardly applies (or in other words, until you get infected, you don’t care). This is why, after a virus or malware infection, you will need to fix your computer, make sure that this won’t happen again and also, recover any lost data.
How to recover your PC after it has been infected?
If you think your computer might be infected by malicious software, then you will need to spend some time trying to remove all the infected files (in case this is a virus). The process is not too hard to do, but depending on the severity of the infection (and the computer, of course), it might take a while.
What you want to do in this scenario is to find an antivirus program. There are lots of great free and paid antivirus and antimalware programs available and they work pretty good (I use Malwarebytes to scanning for malware, but there are lots of great others). Once you’ve found one that suits your needs, you will have to put it to work.
Restart your computer and open it in Safe Mode with networking before you start doing anything (before the Windows logo screen appears, press F8). This part is very important because Safe Mode allows the computer to boot up using only the bare minimum of features (most files and processes are not opened, the only ones that are are what the OS needs to work).
Once your computer has booted, download and install the antivirus software you wish and start scanning. If your computer has any infected files they will be cleaned/quarantined by the scanning process. Also, we recommend that you update your antivirus/antimalware software before you scan and if possible, scan with multiple programs to ensure that the malicious software has not moved or has been missed by the previous scan.
When the scanning is complete and the infected files are cleaned, then you should have a free computer. However, if the problems persist, then you might have some more work to do.
What to do if the antivirus failed
There are some possibilities if the scanning of the drives did not work. if you have the System Restore feature activated, then you will have multiple restore points to go back to. This feature will allow you to select a restore point from the time when your computer was not infected and activate it. However, this method will delete any new data added to the computer from when the restore point was created. If you have any new and important data, you should back it up on an external device.
You can access the restore feature by clicking Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> System Restore.
If all other options fail, then a system wipe is your best bet at removing malware from your computer. Keep in mind to back up on external drives all your valuable information, but try not to back up executable files, as they can still be infected (documents, pictures or music files can be backed up). A system wipe will delete your old OS and it will give you a fresh start (keep in mind to format the OS partition and not create a Windows.old folder).
How to protect your computer from infection
If you managed to remove all the infected files from your computer, then you need to beef up its security so it won’t get infected again. There are multiple programs that offer a high level of security and you should use them at all times. Using an antivirus program will allow you to keep a watchful eye on your computer and ensure that no harmful files will leak into it again. Also, try using a firewall as well, which is the first line of defence of any computer.
Also, you can test your computer’s security with a free tool called Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer which scans your computer (and other network computers) and gives you information on how well your computer is protected. Use this tool to see where the weak spots are in your computer’s defense.
Also, keep your OS, firewall and antivirus updated. Each new update will have some security updates and virus definitions, and by having the latest versions, you will be able to better keep your computer from getting infected. Delete Temp files which can be the access point for malicious programs to your system. These also occupy a lot of space, so you can get two benefits at the same time. These files can be found by opening C: -> Users -> (your user) -> AppData -> Local -> Temp.
To sum it up
1. If your computer is infected, reboot in Safe Mode with networking
2. Download and install antivirus/antimalware programs and scan your computer
3. Delete Temp data from your computer
4. If the antivirus does not work, try System Restore
5. If your problems persist, do a system wipe
6. Keep your OS and security software updated
7. Do regular backups of your important data
These tips will allow you to keep your computer virus-free and they will also allow you to browse the web safer. Today’s antivirus programs feature safe browsing, secure DNS and email protection, all of which are crucial aspects of keeping your computer safe.
For those of you who who want more information on computer security, this list of articles will give you some extra information.
TechPP – Top 10 Free Antivirus Software for Windows
TechPP – Top 10 Antivirus Software for Windows
TechPP – Antivirus Software That Won’t Slow Down the PC
TechPP – Free Windows 7 Firewall – ZoneAlarm 9.1
TechPP – 5 Best Internet Security Software for Windows
Microsoft – How to recover from a computer virus infection
Tech Support Alert – How to Fix a Malware Infected Computer
Tech Support Alert – How to Clean An Infected Computer
Tech Support Alert – How to Stay Safe While Online