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How to Uninstall Viruses

Filed under: PC Maintenance, Uninstall 

Any computer that is open to the outside world is likely to be infected by a PC virus. That most often occurs when you connect to a website over the internet and download something onto your PC. You can also get a virus from an email attachment or by copying a file from somewhere, such as a CD or memory stick. You may think you are copying something that is totally innocent but you could also get a nasty and unwelcome bonus in the form of a PC virus.

Viruses can’t spread to other computers on their own, such as across a network. They need to be downloaded or copied to a machine so it will be your action that gets them started. Therefore, the best ways to avoid viruses are to refrain from copying and downloading files from unknown sources and you should never open email attachments if you don’t know the sender. Even more important is to ensure you have reputable anti-virus software installed on your PC and that it is always activated and up-to-date, no matter how little you might access the internet.

A PC virus is a form of malware that has the ability to replicate itself by infecting programs and files. Some types of virus are relatively harmless, often only replicating themselves or displaying a joke message. Others may be altogether more serious and can even clear the contents of your hard disk.

How to Uninstall Viruses

The first step to remove virus software from your computer is to identify you’ve got it in the first place. If you have anti-virus software installed, activated and updated, and run regular scans, this should prevent a PC virus occurring or remove it if it does. However, if strange things start to happen, such as files disappearing or becoming corrupt, odd messages appearing, system crashes or processing slowing down considerably, then fear the worst. You need to identify and delete virus software from the PC.

If an anti-virus scan doesn’t find and clear it, it might be worth trying again while in safe mode, since this disables many startup programs, including some that may be hiding the virus. Reboot the PC and press F8 repeatedly, then choose safe mode. Rerun the anti-virus scan and hope it will remove the virus. If it doesn’t, contact the anti-virus software supplier; they should be able to provide help in getting rid of the PC virus.

The alternative is to try and identify any rogue programs that are running. Press Ctrl, Alt and Del together to open the Task Manager. Examine the list of entries at both the Applications and Processes tabs to see if there’s anything you don’t recognise. There almost certainly will be but don’t automatically assume it’s a virus and get rid of it. Instead, type its name into a Google search or similar and see what comes up. If it is a virus, there’ll almost certainly be a record of it somewhere. There may even be a removal tool specifically for that virus.

To gate rid of the PC virus manually, download the autoruns utility from the Microsoft website and extract the program. Restart your PC in safe mode (as earlier), double-click the autoruns.exe file and choose the Options menu. Choose to include empty locations, verify code signatures and hide signed Microsoft entries. Press F5 to refresh the startup entries with the new settings and show information about them. Look through all the tabs for every incidence of the virus you want to delete, right click it and choose Delete. This removes the startup entry from the registry so the program won’t start again. You can then delete the program file using Windows Explorer. Restart your PC in normal mode and the virus should no longer be present.

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