It's time to wrap up this series on malware, so let's see some ways to manually remove infections on your computer, as well as how to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Taking the long road: removing an infection manually
Although antivirus programs are usually helpful in removing infections, sometimes you may have to do some extra legwork to get rid of malware that does not seem to want to disappear. In that case, manual removal is in order. This can be done if you want to save the time and money on paying an outside service to fix your computer as well.
A System Restore could help fix your problem. Performing this action will place your computer in the working condition it was in prior to the infection. It essentially undoes system changes and reverts your computer back to a previous state in time. You will want to execute the System Restore as long as you have a version of your system that you know is clean and clear of any major problems.
If you do not have this, you could be better off disabling the System Restore feature altogether. You could also just ignore the option. The reasoning behind this is that if you reboot, there is a chance that the malware could simply restore itself once again, putting you back where you started.
Another method for manual infection removal is to go into the Programs section of your Control Panel. From here, you can take a look at the list of programs on your computer and see if there are any unknown or mysterious programs that you do not recognize. If you see any, you may want to uninstall them. Before doing so, however, you can do a quick Internet search to find details on the program. If it is a form of malware, you will likely find information on the Internet that says so.
HiJack is a tool found online that is free, and can help you with some more complex malware problems. Running the program will produce a detailed log that you can post on online forums, such as the Bleeping Computer forum, which was mentioned in part two of this series. By posting the log on the forums, members can take a look at the state of your system and tell you if there is anything suspicious going on, as well as what steps to take to further fix the problem, once identified.
If you have tried everything and nothing seems to work, you can take the last resort of reinstalling your operating system to get a fresh start.
Protecting yourself from malware infections in the future
There are various ways to protect your computer from getting infected. It obviously helps to run antivirus software, using the most updated version available. You also want to do the same for any firewall software or programs that combat spyware, such as Windows Defender.
It is just as important to behave sensibly when using your computer as well. If you come across popups that prompt you to accept or click OK, avoid clicking the options; hit the CTRL and F4 buttons to close them. If the windows do not want to close, then close the browser by hitting ALT and F4. Clicking affirmatively on popups can download malware to your computer, creating a headache for you and your machine. If you receive spam emails, do not click to open any odd attachments, and do not click on links.
While there are plenty more methods that are useful in detecting, removing, and preventing malware infections, the ones listed in this series are at least a foundation to follow. By behaving intelligently while using your computer and performing some preemptive maintenance, you can avoid plenty of hassles in the future.
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