Nowadays, new viruses, adwares and malwares appear and disappear within days or weeks. When a new virus/adware/malware is released and users’ computers are infected, it takes several days for experts to identify them and then to specify the appropriate treatment/removal procedure.
During those days, users don’t have a way to try and remove them, but, instead, they have to wait for the solution to become public or they have to take their computer to an expert so that it can be cleaned. To avoid this, I decided to write down a generic article that presents you the most common steps and the most useful anti-virus/adware/malware tools used to clean your computers. So, in case your computer is infected by a virus you can’t identify, you can use these steps and tools to try and clean it. As you can all understand, it may not always work, but I am sure that it will help you in most cases.
How to Clean Windows from Malware, Adware, Spyware, Rootkits, Viruses, Trojans, etc.
Important: Before you continue with the removal procedure, make sure that you have an updated backup of all your important files.
1. If you cannot download any of the bellow suggested programs on the infected computer, then you can download them on another clean computer and transfer them (e.g. by using a USB flash disk) on the infected computer.
2. If you like, add this page to your favorites (Ctrl + D) to easily find and follow the given instructions.
ATTENTION: All the Anti-Malware programs and removal tools that suggested in this guide are totally FREE.
Malware Removal Guide Steps:
Step 1. Start your computer in “Safe Mode with Networking”.
Start your computer in Safe mode with network support to avoid malicious programs and unnecessary services to run.
To start Windows in Safe mode with Networking:
3. Click the Boot tab and then check the Safe Boot & Network options.
4. Click OK and restart your computer. *
* Note: When you done with the malware cleaning, then open the System Configuration (msconfig) utility again and at General tab, select Normal Startup and then click OK, to start Windows normally.
Step 2: Terminate Running Malicious processes with RKill.
RKill is a program that was developed at BleepingComputer.com that attempts to terminate known malware processes so that your normal security software can then run and clean your computer of infections.
1. Download and save RKill to you desktop. *
* Note: RKill is offered under under different filenames because some malware will not allow processes to run unless they have a certain filename. Therefore when attempting to run RKill, if a malware terminates it please try a different filename.
2. Run RKill and let the program to terminate any malicious processes that may running.
3. When RKill is finished press OK and continue to the next step.
Step 3: Scan and remove hidden malicious Rootkits with TDSSKiller.
2. When the download is complete, go to your download location (e.g. your desktop) and double click on “tdsskiller.exe” to run it.
3. At Kaspersky’s Anti-rootkit utility program click on “Change parameters” option.
4. At TDSSKiller settings, check to enable the “Detect TDLFS file system” option and press “OK”.
5. Press "Start scan" to start scanning for malicious programs.
When the scan process is complete, a new window opens with the scanning results.
6. Choose the "Cure" option and let the program finish the cure operation of the infected files.
7. When the "curing" operation is complete, reboot your computer.
8. After rebooting, run TDSSKiller again to scan one more time for Rootkits. If the previous curing job was completed successfully, the program now will inform you that "No Threats found".
Step 4: Remove Malicious Rootkits with Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit.
Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit is a free, cutting edge rootkit scanner & remover that detects and eliminates even the nastiest malicious rootkits.
1. Download and save Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit on your desktop.
2. Run Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit and click OK to extract the files on your desktop (the files extract under "mbar" folder).
3. Click Next at the first screen and then click the Update button.
4. When the update is completed click Next again.
5. Finally click Scan to scan your system for malicious rootkits.
6. When the scan is finished click Cleanup to clean your computer.
Step 5: Remove Malware & Unknown programs from Windows Startup.
1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager and select the Startup tab.
2. Select and disable any unknown program that is run at Windows start up.
Step 6. Remove Malware Programs in Task Scheduler.
1. At the search box, type: task scheduler
2. Open Task scheduler
3. Expand Task Scheduler (Local) and select Task Scheduler Library on the left.
4. Right-click and Disable any suspicious task.
Step 7: Delete Temporary files from all users with TFC.
1. Download and save TFC by OldTimer to your computer.
2. When downloading is completed, run TFC and press the start button to clean all temporary files and folders from your computer. *
* Note: The detailed instructions on how to download and use TFC can be found here: How to delete temporary files using TFC.
Step 8. Remove ALL Unknown & Unwanted programs.
1. Open Windows Control Panel. To do that, open the search box and type Control Panel. *
* Note: In Windows 7 & Vista: Go to Start > Control Panel.
2. Set the View By to Small icons and open Programs and Features *
3. When the program list is displayed on your screen:
a. Sort the programs to be displayed by their Installation date (Installed On).
b. Select and Uninstall any unknown program installed on your system. *
* Notice: If you receive the “You do not have sufficient access to uninstall” error message or you face problems during program uninstall, then follow this guide to uninstall the program.
4. When you remove all the unknown or unwanted programs, continue to the next step.
Step 9: Clean Adware, Unwanted Browser Addons & Toolbars with AdwCleaner.
AdwCleaner is a powerful utility to clean all the Adware, Toolbars, PUP & Hijacker programs from your computer.
1. Download and save AdwCleaner utility to your desktop.
2. Close all open programs and Double Click to open AdwCleaner from your desktop.
3. After accepting the “License Agreement”, press the Scan Now button.
4. When the scan is completed, press Clean & Repair to remove all the unwanted malicious entries.
4. When asked, click Clean and Restart Now.
5. After restart, close AdwCleaner's information (log) window and continue to the next step.
Step 10: Clean Malicious Programs, Files and Registry Entries with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
Click the link below, to download and install Malwarebytes Premium one of the most reliable FREE anti malware & antivirus programs today in order to clean your computer from remaining malicious threats. If you want to stay constantly protected from viruses and malware threats, existing and future ones, we recommend to buy the Malwarebytes Premium.
How to download & Install Malwarebytes:
1. Click the Free Download button at Malwarbytes Download page to download the Malwarebytes Premium TRIAL version. *
* Note: After the 14-day trial period, Malwarebytes reverts to a free version but without real-time protection for ransomware, viruses or malware programs.
2.When the download is completed, double click at the downloaded file, and install Malwarebytes.
How to Scan & Clean your computer with Malwarebytes.
1. Launch Malwarebytes Premium Trial and wait until the program updates its antivirus database.
2. When the update process is completed, press the Scan Now button to start scanning your system for malware and unwanted programs.
3. Now wait until Malwarebytes finishes scanning your computer for malware.
4. When the scan has completed, select all detected threats (if found) and then press the Quarantine button to remove all of them from your computer.
5. Wait until Malwarebytes removes all infections from your system and then restart your computer (if required from the program) to completely remove all active threats.
Step 11. Scan and Remove Viruses with your Antivirus Program.
After restart, open your Antivirus program and perform a full scan for viruses on your computer.
- Related article: Best Free Antivirus Programs for Home use.
Suggestion: Before or after scanning your system with your antivirus program, I suggest to scan your system for viruses with ESET Online Scanner which is a power Standalone Virus Removal tool, to clean your computer from threats.
1. Download and run ESET Online Scanner.
3. Select Computer Scan and then click Full Scan.
4. Select Enable ESET to detect and quarantine unwanted applications and click Start scan.
Step 12: Delete infected Windows Restore Points.
After performing the above instructions, check if your computer is working smoothly and then proceed and remove all the previous system restore points from your computer, because they still contain malware that can harm your computer in the future. So proceed and…
1. Disable the 'System Restore' feature on the disk C:\ in order to remove the infected System Restore points.
2. Then proceed and re-enable the 'System Restore' feature for safety and security reasons.
- Related article for detailed instructions: How to Enable or Disable System Restore in Windows.
Conclusion: Hope that you find this article useful and effective and that your computer is now clean from all harmful programs running on it. I will try to keep this article updated. From your side if you want to learn how to stay protected on the future from malware programs read this article: Ten+ tips to keep your computer fast and healthy.