Having a computer Infected with malware can lead to disastrous consequences such as having a completely unworkable computer or, at worst, identity theft. While prevention is always the best cure in such cases, sometimes things can happen which are completely out of your control. Malware comes in many different forms from the relatively harmless prank to severe problems which can end up with your computer being under the control of a remote hacker. Some types of malware, such as rootkits, are designed so that hackers can install more malware on your computer with ease. Before long, the situation can spiral out of control. To get rid of malware, follow these tips.
1. Restart the Computer in Safe Mode
Starting the computer in Safe Mode will prevent all non-essential programs, drivers and services from being loaded up when you log in to Windows. In particularly bad cases of malware infection, you might not even be able to install or use your antivirus software unless you use Safe Mode. To access Safe Mode, press F8 on your keyboard before the Windows 7 boot screen appears. Choose "Safe Mode" from the advanced startup screen which appears.
2. Thoroughly Scan Your Computer
Using the latest antivirus software along with the latest virus definition database, run a full scan of your computer and let the software detect and remove any security threats that it finds. Unless you boot up into Safe Mode with networking enabled, you'll not be able to access the Internet in order to update your antivirus software. The best way to work around this is by downloading the latest software on another computer and install it on the problematic computer from a CD or USB flash drive.
3. Reinstall Windows
In the worst case scenario, a severe malware infection can cause so much damage to your computer's software that the only practical way to deal with the problem and be sure that it's gone for good is to reinstall Windows. You should be able to safely back up your documents, pictures, movies and music collections beforehand, even if you have to boot into Safe Mode. Avoid copying over any programs or other files which could be infected with malicious software. Reformatting your hard drive and starting off with a clean installation of Windows 7 will remove any trace of malicious software on your computer. You should still find out how your computer got infected in the first place, however, in order to take appropriate precautions in the future.
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