No matter what you do or how careful you are, it happens to the best of us. Malware (viruses, adware, worms, etc.) gets past our anti-malware software and infects our computer.
If you have been infected by malware, I have found the most effective method of removing the malware is to follow the directions below:
- Boot into ‘Safe mode with networking’. This special mode will prevent most malware from running but still allow you to connect to the internet and install/update/run the software you need. To do this, shutdown and reboot your computer. As the computer starts, press F8 once per second until a menu is shown that allows you to select ‘Safe Mode’, ‘Safe Mode with Networking’, or ‘Safe Mode Command Prompt’. Use the arrow keys to select ‘Safe Mode with Networking’ and press [Enter].
- Remove malicious proxy settings. Once Windows starts up and you log on, open Internet Explorer and click Tools> Internet Options> Connections> LAN Settings. If you did not specifically set up a proxy server that you need, uncheck all of the boxes and click OK and OK.
- Open Internet Explorer and go to the following address:
- Read the instructions on that page as they may change from time to time. The first step will have you download and execute the Vipre Rescue Program. Follow the link and install/execute the Vipre Rescue program. Once installed it will automatically run a deep scan. This may take quite a while.
- After the Vipre Rescue has completed, it will show you a log of what it found and what it did to resolve your issues. Close the application and go back to the http://vipre.malwarebytes.org website. Read the steps for step 2 and download the MalwareBytes software. You will need to install, run, update, and complete a full scan.
- When MalwareBytes is complete, you will need to close the program and reboot the computer into NORMAL mode. DO NOT reboot the computer back into any type of Safe Mode as the computer needs to boot into normal mode to complete some additional steps.
- At this point, your computer should be completely clean. However, it may be a good idea to follow all of these steps one last time to ensure that everything actually was removed instead of having something new uncovered by removing all of the other threats found. This step is not necessary, but it may be beneficial if this is a particularly new or malicious threat.
On a side note, my home and small business recommendation for real-time anti-virus/anti-malware application is Microsoft Security Essentials. I believe this application is another win for Microsoft and another application that they really did a great job on. The application does not appear to slow down your computer as many other anti-virus applications do. It is also absolutely free for virus definitions and program updates for home users and can be installed on up to 10 devices in a business environment. Please remember that if you do use this software, uninstall any other virus/malware protection programs first. Having two of these programs installed and running is not safer, it can cause your computer to be considerably slower and may cause file locking issues.