Beware the indicators of a PC plagued by malware: slower-than-usual performance, a sudden spate of pop-ups, and other anomalous difficulties. Yes, out-of-the-ordinary behavior can be caused by hardware conflicts, but your first action is to rule out the possibility of infection by a virus, spyware, or another nefarious thing –even in the event you’ve got an antivirus program installed.
Enter Safe Mode
Before you do anything, you want to disconnect your PC from the internet, and do not use it until you are ready to clean your PC. This may help prevent malware from spreading or draining your personal data.
If you think your PC might have a malware infection, boot your PC into Microsoft’s Safe Mode. In this manner, only the minimum required services and programs are loaded. If any malware is set to load automatically when Windows starts, entering this manner may prevent it from doing this. This is important as it can make removing the nefarious files simpler since they are not really running or active.
To boot into Windows Safe Mode, first, click on the Start button in Windows 10 and then pick the Power button as if you were going to reboot, but don’t click anything. Next hold down the Shift key and click on Reboot. When the full-screen menu appears, select Rename, then Advanced Options, then Startup Settings. On the next window click on the Restart button and await the next screen to appear (just stick with us, we know that this is long). Next you’ll find a menu using numbered startup options; pick number 4, which is Safe Mode. Note that if you would like to connect to any online scanners you will have to choose option 5, which is Safe Mode with Networking.
You may realize that your PC runs noticeably faster in Safe Mode. This might be a sign that your system has a malware infection, or it may indicate that you have a good deal of legitimate programs that normally begin alongside Windows. If your PC is outfitted with a solid-state drive it is probably fast either way.
Delete temporary files
Now that you are in Safe Mode, you will want to run a virus scan. However, before you do this, delete your temporary files. Doing this may hasten the virus scanning, free up disk space, and also eliminate some malware. To use the Disk Cleanup utility included with Windows 10 just form Disk Cleanup from the search bar or after pressing the Start button and choose the tool that appears named Disk Cleanup.
Download malware scanners
Now you are ready to have a malware scanner do its work–and luckily, running a scanner is sufficient to eliminate most standard infections. If you’d an antivirus program active on your computer, you should use a separate scanner for this malware test, since your existing antivirus software might not have detected the malware. Bear in mind, no antivirus program can detect 100 percent of the millions of malware types and versions.
You are probably more comfortable with real-time antivirus programs, which operate in the background and watch for malware. (Another alternative is an on-demand scanner, which hunts for malware infections when you start the program and run a scan. You should have just one real-time antivirus program installed at one time, but you can have many on-demand scanners set up to run scans with several programs, thereby ensuring that if one program misses something another one might discover it.
If you believe that your PC is infected, we recommend using an on-demand scanner and then following up with a complete scan by your real-time antivirus program. One of the complimentary (and high quality ) on-demand scanners available are BitDefender Free Edition, Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool, Malwarebytes, Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool, Avast, and SuperAntiSpyware.
Run a scan with Malwarebytes
For illustrative purposes, we will explain how to use the Malwarebytes on-demand scanner. If you disconnected from the internet for security reasons once you first guessed that you may be infected, reconnect with it so that you can download, install, and upgrade Malwarebytes; then disconnect from the internet again before you begin the actual scanning. If you can not access the internet or you can not download Malwarebytes on the infected computer, download it on another computer, save it to a USB flash drive, and take the flash drive into the infected computer.
After downloading Malwarebytes, run the installation file, and follow the wizard to install the app. When the program opens, it will automatically trigger a trial of the paid version that permits real-time scanning. You won’t get billed after the trial ends, however–by default, the program reverts to the standard free version in 14 days. In the meanwhile, you can disable the real-time scanning for those 2 weeks if you would like.