Any suggestions, recommendations or ideas found on this site are applied at your own risk.
Be sure to see our Scams article. A few quick reminders/warnings:
Sorry, but you are not important enough to get a phone call from Microsoft, Norton, Adobe, etc. The scam: A "support" person asks you to allow them to take over your computer and clean it up. Just hang up! See our October 13 newsletter for a bit more on that scam.
While browsing the Internet, if you see any warnings that your computer is infected, drive is about to fail, someone has taken control, Java, Adobe, Google or most anything else needs updating, it is likely a scam!
Think you have a clean machine? Don't be too sure! We are very careful what sites we visit and what we do with our work computer and still discovered some junk when we ran Adware cleaners found at Bleeping Computer.
If you think your computer may be (or has been) infected, run BOTH 1 & 2 as one seems to find things the other does not. If after that things still do not seem "quite right", run the third one.
Notes: None of these first 3 are antivirus application, only cleanup utilities! Many viruses corrupt the system so badly, you are best just to format the drive and reinstall Windows from the original factory disk(s).
- You can typically run it directly (requires reboot) but we've seen upon reboot (mostly Windows 10) where the scan does not properly start. If you have that problem, download again and save, then right click and run as Admin...
- PowerEraser can find legitimate applications as infected. If you have some esoteric applications that are flagged as infected, be careful about having PowerEraser "fix" things...
Microsoft Security Scanner
- Save to your desktop then right click and run as Administrator. Full scan takes two + hours, but highly recommended!
- Malicious Software Removal Tool built into Windows Vista and later. See our Windows Run article.
- Severely infected computers may require Microsoft's Defender Offline scan tool. This must be downloaded on a clean machine where you run it to create a bootable DVD or flashdrive, which is then used on the infected machine.
Other tools available:
- http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/ and http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/search/?keyword=adware
- This one probably won't work for too long but there may be a free tool for a certain encryption virus. See this article.
Then make sure your antivirus is updated and run a full scan. Don't have one? Get something!
- Microsoft's Essentials. It's ok but we would prefer you have Symantec/Norton...
- If you have multiple computers, Symantec's cloud Endpoint Protection is probably the best thing. We use it and have many customers using it. Pricing is about the same as any other AV system but this offers so much more. Even stops rouge websites.
Last, be sure to run through all of these for a final cleanup...
Resetting home page after a
- Clean up from hijacking and other Internet junk.
- Control what starts up with the computer.
- A lot of junk hides here and even though "uninstalled", some stuff probably remains active!
- Task Scheduler corrupt? See this article.
- Likewise, there may be services left behind after junkware is uninstalled!
Install Microsoft's EMET tool
- Additional protections for the IE browser.
Run Microsoft's Autoruns
- Slick application that will reveal startup or automatic items you may be unaware of.
Review these Microsoft article on various security issues:
- Avoid tech support phone scams
- How to recognize phishing email messages, links, or phone calls
- Safe Surfing
And if you want to tighten the Internet Explorer's settings, try these...
Fix Internet Explorer issues to make IE fast, safe and stableDiagnose and repair ie problems that make ie slow, not secure, unstable or crash, caused by add-ons not working or inappropriate security settings.
Automatically fix Windows security settings to keep your PC safeDiagnose and fix Windows security settings for IE, Windows firewall, group policy, Registry, UAC; check Windows Update and antivirus software status.
Fix security issues to protect and secure Windows automaticallyDiagnose and repair Windows security problems by turning on UAC, DEP protection, Windows Firewall and other Windows security options and features.