Any computer connected to the Internet must be protected from computer viruses, spyware, malware, and Trojan Horses. A good firewall and an antivirus program are certainly essential if you're operating on a Windows Operating System, but you'll also want these features with other operating systems such as Mac, Linux, and the like. Of course, commercial antivirus software and free virus removal tools should be operating in the background at all times to scan for the presence of viruses and other malware on your hard drive.
There are times, however, when a full virus scan is unnecessary and too time-consuming. You may already know that your computer has been infected but may not want to run through an full-system scan. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to remove viruses on your own. The steps in this article apply to most Windows operating systems, and they assume that you know the location and the name the specific virus or malware which has infected your computer.
- Back Up. Before all else, back up your files. You're probably overdue for it anyway, right? Back up all of your important files to an external drive or to DVDs.
- Restart. Restart your computer in Safe Mode. To do this, turn your computer on. As soon as you see anything on the screen, begin hitting the F8 key. You will be redirected to a menu which gives you several startup options. Select Safe Mode.
- Command Prompt. Enter the command prompt. To manually remove a virus, whether from your computer's internal hard drive or any external or removable disk, you will need to use the command prompt. Find it through the Start menu among the Programs. Command Prompt is one of the Accessories.
- Find the Virus File. Locate the offending virus file. Somehow you knew this virus got through your firewall. Maybe you accidentally downloaded it with an email, so you'll find it in the email attachments folder. Perhaps you saw the name in a virus report then came across it while searching for another file. Often with the Windows OS, a virus will show up in the system folder or temporary folder. In any case, open the folder with the virus. For instruction's sake, let's say we have one called greek_gift.vbs
- Remove Permissions. In the command prompt, remove the permissions of the virus to initiate any programming with the following command (substituting the name of your own virus for greek_gift): attrib -r -a -s -h greek_gift.vbs
- Remove File. Now that you have weakened the virus, flush it out of your computer system. In the command prompt, type: del greek_gift.vbs to complete the removal.
Reboot your computer in Normal Mode (don't hit F8 at startup) and run a full system scan using an established antivirus/antimalware program. Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware is a free program which will identify most viruses and other infections. If the virus infecting your computer remains or has popped up in another location on your system, the scan will reveal the problem. You can then run the cleanup which comes with the program or you can follow the above steps if you prefer to remove the infection manually.