How to get rid of a virus

Step by step guide to cleaning out your computer

Christian Dye

Most people who own a PC have or will have a virus at some point. What most people don’t know is the file you downloaded that’s screwing up your computer could be more than a virus. These additional programs are known as spyware, adware, trojan horses, or worms. They all contribute to the making a computer slower and can cause it harm. All of these programs are collectively known as malware.

If you come into contact with virus, there’s no need to pay Geek Squad. With these steps, you yourself can take the virus by the throat; all while saving some cash.

Step 1: Check to make sure you actually have malware:

The first thing you’ll notice when you suspect malware is the extreme drop in computer processing speed. This could be because malware is taking up your available RAM, or random access memory, which is a major component in determining your computer’s speed. However, there are other reasons a computer can run slow.

To determine if a virus has infected your computer, disconnect from the internet and reboot your computer into safe mode. Do this by restarting your computer, holding down F8 and clicking the safe mode option. You may find that your PC runs noticeably faster in Safe Mode. This could be a sign that your system has encountered malware.

Step 2: Delete Temporary Files

Now that you are in Safe Mode, delete your temporary files. Doing so potentially speeds up virus scanning, frees up disk space, and even destroys some malware. To use the Disk Cleanup utility included with Windows, select Start > All Programs (or just Programs) > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup. This will prepare your computer for a virus scan. Restart you computer and leave safe mode.

Step 3: Download Malware Scanners

You are now ready to run a malware scanner. If you already have virus protection on your computer, make sure you use a different program to scan because the one you have probably isn’t working. Remember, no antivirus program can detect 100 percent of the millions of malware types and variants. However, there are many programs that will come pretty close. BitDefender Free Edition, Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool, Malwarebytes, and Norman Malware Cleaner are just some of the best available antivirus software. Just google the name of your Malware Scanner and the download link will pop up.

Step 4: Run your Malware Scanner:

The rest is easy once you have installed the malware scanner. The Scanner will run and show you a list of files that are believed to be infected. The scanner will give you an option to quarantine, remove or ignore. Remove the file. Restart your computer and you should notice a sizeable difference in computer speed. If there is still a problem, I would recommend asking a professional for help. But most of the time this process will help you clean up your computer!

Christian is a senior business administration and computing major.