What is Malware?
Malware, short for malicious software. It is software designed by hackers used to infiltrate a user’s computer in order to gather sensitive information, or solicit money through coercion.
What we will address in this article are the steps for malware removal from a machine that still has the ability to access the Internet but is being swamped by pop ups and slow operation.
Step 1. Clean the Machine!
Malware removal starts with cleaning the junk off the machine. Computers store all keystrokes, documents created and web sites visited in various temporary folders. Because of the many security updates from computer companies over the years, malware can often times only exist in these “temporary” storage folders By cleaning up the temporary internet files we will go along way to preventing the malware from propagating.
The best and easiest way we’ve found to do this is to run Microsoft’s pre-installed tool called “disk cleanup” from a computer mode of operation called “Safe Mode”. Follow the links below for directions on starting in safe mode and running disc cleanup.
1. Start your computer in safe mode – click here
2. How to run disk clean up – click here
Once that’s been done we can restart the computer and log back into the “Normal Mode of operation. Hopefully we have regained or still have Internet access. if so a great free and easy utility that cleans the computer files at a deeper level is called GlarySoft. You can download GlarySoft Here – click here
2. Clean your Internet browser settings
Once the core files and folders have been cleaned up it is good practice to cleanup and reset the browser you use to access and surf the Internet. By doing this we will restore the browser settings to that of an unused but it will maintain your favorites.
Computer Hope has a great step by step on cleaning browser history, cookies and other items – click here
For instructions on resetting Internet Explorer to it’s default settings – click here
Step 3. The final items
We’ve cleaned the temp files and the browser files and hopefully your machine is running a bit better. Now it’s time to get specific and attack the malicious program and any left over software hooks that might cause issues in the future.
The first step is to Remove any programs that might have been installed. Most time malware does not include a valid uninstaller, occasionally though, it is possible to go to the control panel then access “add / remove programs” in windows XP and “Programs and Features” in later versions to uninstall the potentially unwanted program.
It is more often the case that an anti-malware or antivirus program will be required to really get rid of the root cause of the problem.To do this we suggest some programs that have worked very well for us in the past
All the programs we will suggest are either free or have both a free and a pay for version.
The first and one we use most often is Malwarebytes, the second is Superantispyware and the third is AVG. Simply download, install and run following the instructions provided for removing found items ineach of the programs.
Once the machine is clean!
No antivirus or anti-malware program is 100% effective. It’s best to stay away from the all inclusive suites that cost alot of money. Why? because the hackers that write the malware programs actually target some of the most popular ones in order to block them from removing their malware program so if they block the suite they block your protection. The best path would be to have two or three programs, free or low cost that will continue to work if one of the other programs gets knocked out.
We have found that that MS Security Essentials working in tandem with Free AVG and Malwarebytes (paid or manual versions) is an effective deterrent which also provides options if the machine does get infected.
Hope that Helps.