Step by Step guide to Cleaning your Computer of Spyware and Viruses.
Before installing any software make sure you read their installation instructions and manual to understand what the program is able to do for you. Please read our disclaimer at the bottom. This is a generic guide to help you remove infections from your computer. If problems persist you may need more accurate specifc help.
Step 1. Backup
Make sure you have backed up all of your relevant documents onto removable media. I.e A DVD, CDR or removable disk.
Step 2. Install and Run the latest version of Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool.
Microsoft releases a new version of this software on the second Tuesday of every month.
Some versions of spyware stop you installing Antivirus and Antispyware programs. So you run this tool first as it can get rid of the most malicious spyware, which allows a more thorough cleaning to take place.
Step 3. – Download and install a version of Antivirus or Update your current Antivirus Definitions
If you already have some antivirus software make sure the virus definitions are up to date by running an automatic update. There are a few free versions of antivirus if you do not have any:
- Grisoft AVG - http://free.grisoft.com/doc/2/
- Avira Antivir - http://www.free-av.com/
- Clamwin - http://www.clamwin.com/
Warning: Do not install more than one version of antivirus protection at any time as this will cause conflicts and can damage the operating system.
Always make sure that the virus definitions are up to date. So the latest viruses can be detected and removed.
Step 4. – Download and install Anti-Spyware
There are various programs for removing spyware from your machine, many of which you have to pay for. There are various free ones you can download from the internet. I have found that some programs detect and remove items that others do not therefore I recommend installing a couple of Spyware removal programs to complement each others definitions.
I would recommend downloading and installing a piece of software called malwarebytes. Its very effective at removing infections.
Note: A full system scan can take quite a long time.
Step 5 – Run a Full Virus Scan
Use your Anti Virus to run a full system scan.
Note: A full system scan can often take well over 30mins.
Step 6. - Download and Install the latest version of CCleaner
This software cleans up the computers registry for an invalid or corrupt entries that may have been left behind by the removal of old software and any spyware that may have been found during the previous scans. This Software should help increase the performance of your computer. Its been argued that cleaning the registry is not a good idea as it could move potentially needed keys and cause more problems.. If you do want continue with the registry clean make sure you use the softwares backup option so you can change it back if theres any problems.
The software can be found at http://www.ccleaner.com/download.
Once you have installed CCleaner you need to run the software. Once it has run,
- Click the button that looks like some building blocks named “issues”
- Click the “scan for issues” button. The software will analyse your computer for bad or invalid registry entries.
- Once it has finished click “Fix selected issues”. It will prompt you to back up the changes it is removing. It is advisable to do so. It will then remove these invalid entries.
You will need to repeat this process after a reboot as some of the items may have chains and becuase the registry is constantly changing.
If the computer is still experiencing software issues caused by Spyware or Viruses you can try searching for a specific solution if you know the name of the infection if not, the last solution is to format the Hard disk and install the Operating System and all of the software from scratch. Formatting the hard disk removes everything from the computer including documents, software and any files you have downloaded. Always make sure you have backups of all your documents. This should only be done by competent computer users. If you have not done this before then I suggest you get a computer technician or engineer to do it for you.