We’ve all been there before- you are serenely surfing the web when suddenly, your computer starts acting strangely. Your web browser is redirecting you to websites you didn’t intend to visit, or it starts throwing up strange warning messages, or it just starts running slower than molasses on a cold day. And then it occurs to you- “Oh no! Could it be? I think my computer has a virus! What do I do?” Fear not, for we are revealing here three steps for getting rid of a virus.
Step One: DON’T PANIC!
The worst thing you can do upon discovering that your computer has likely been infected by a virus is to freak out. In fact, that is precisely what the virus wants you to do (sneaky little buggers). Many computer viruses will direct you to websites that purpot to sell “Antivirus Software” or will cause message windows to pop up on your desktop, enticing you to “click here to protect your computer from attacks”. These are ploys by the virus to compromise your computer further. Don’t fall for them. Don’t click.
Step 2: Run a Scan
Now that you are reasonably certain you have a virus, and you have not panicked and hit any buttons or clicked on any links, you are ready to try to combat it. You do this by running a thorough scan of all drives on your computer using whatever antivirus software you have installed on your machine. Whether you are using one of the “big name” antivirus providers like Norton, Symantec, McAfee, or Kaspersky, or one of the many (and we do mean many) lesser known free pieces of antivirus software, the process remains the same. We recommend using Kaspersky Antivirus, because we have found it to be very comprehensive and rigorous in its detection and elimination of viruses.
Generally, your antivirus software will always be running in the background, doing its best to make sure your computer stays virus-free. Sometimes though, a virus will get through, be it through user error, or just plain bad luck. Even in these circumstances, the best first step you can take is to run a scan using the software you chose to install. Oftentimes, it will detect the virus and eliminate it.
On a side note, if you do not yet have antivirus software on your machine, go get it, today. In fact, go right now. You can read the rest of the blog post when you come back.
Step 3: Call in the Big Guns
If your antivirus software wasn’t able to remove the virus from your computer after a thorough scan, it’s time to call in the big guns. Depending on the severity of the infection, this will mean one of two things: downloading a more intensive antivirus program, or contacting your IT professional.
If the virus hasn’t disabled your web browser, use it to find a more thorough antivirus program, such as Malwarebytes or Super AntiSpyware. Install one or both of these programs, and instruct them to do a thorough scan of your computer. In all but the most severe cases, this will solve your problem. However, some particularly nasty computer viruses will prevent you from accessing websites. In these cases, it is ALWAYS best to contact your IT professional and have them handle the removal of such a virus.
Truthfully, the safest way to remove any type of virus from your computer is to contact your IT support. They are trained on how to handle it and will be able to remove the virus with minimal impact to your computer. But, if you want to try removing the virus yourself, then follow the steps above.
So the next time you find yourself beset by a nasty computer virus, just remember these three easy steps, and your computer will live to process data another day!
What’s the worst virus your computer ever had? We want to hear your story in the comments!