Everyone’s been unfortunate enough to have a virus / trojan infect their computer at some point and render it almost, if not completely unusable. Fortunately however, I can show you how to use free virus and malware removal tools to get your system back to a usable state, and also how to guard yourself against further security compromises going forward. This tutorial was actually kind of fun because my main goal was to see how badly I could get a virtual machine infected with trojans and viruses, which took a little bit longer than I would have expected. I’m starting out with a fresh ( well – it was fresh before I purposely infested it with viruses and trojans ) installation of Windows 7 x64 fully patched and up to date, and running basic anti-virus Microsoft Security Essentials. My eyes cannot unsee the websites that I had to visit to let it get to this point. Let’s jump into it.
Disable System Protection
The nastier viruses / malware variants like to stuff themselves into your system protection restore points in case you decide to be an enterprising virus hunter and “roll back” your machine to a date prior to the infection. This also has the added benefit of cutting down your scan times tremendously as your removal tools won’t have to scan and clean those restore points. On Windows 7 you can right-click on My Computer > System Protection > Configure > Turn off System Restore to achieve this.
Prepare Your Arsenal
You’re going to need a few programs to disinfect your machine – luckily you can grab most of them at Ninite in one big installer. Don’t worry, Ninite is a legitimate site and even does you the courtesy of stripping out any bloatware that usually comes packaged with these programs. You’re going to need the following programs for a successful virus removal – Malware Bytes, Spybot Search & Destroy, and Super AntiSpyware. After those are installed go grab HiJackthis, SpywareBlaster, and CCleaner – download and install them. Now you’re ready to get rid of a virus or two.
Prep Your System For Virus Removal
Reboot your system into safe mode without networking ( Tap F8 while computer is starting up.)
Run CCleaner first, and get rid of all extra junk files for windows and applications – run the registry cleaner as well. Viruses tend to reside in temporary directories and doing this is a good first step to removing the viruses, as well as cutting down your scan times. Less files to scan overall = the quicker your scanners can complete.
And now we clean the registry…
Let The Scanning Begin!
After running CCleaner and removing the junk files and registry entries, you can start running your scanning utilities to remove viruses. Start by running a quick scan of MBAM, removing all found infections, then restarting the machine when prompted. Make sure to restart the machine back into safe mode, then running another MBAM quick scan. If everything comes back clear, you can restart it into normal mode and run Super Anti Spyware and Spybot.
Restart when prompted :
After a restart and another scan :
Run Super Anti Spyware ( Quick Scan )
After MBAM is reporting a clean bill of health, go ahead and run Super Anti Spyware with the quick scan option to cover your bases. Looks like we caught some viruses that slipped by MBAM.
Remove all threats plus the PUPS ( Potentially Unwanted Programs – AKA Crapware )
Restart your computer if prompted and move on to Step 6.
Run SpyBot S&D ( And The Immunize Function )
The immunize function is still pretty great even though SpyBot is pushing over a decade now. It adds lots of known bad entries to your hosts file which automatically protects you, and blocks known ActiveX/BHO objects. I’ve been using this feature of SpyBot since 2004 without fail and have had maybe 3 viruses total since then. It’s 2013 now. Goooooo SpyBot!
Now run the Scan feature and remove whatever comes up :
Run SpywareBlaster And Immunize
This takes the immunize function of SpyBot and ramps it up a bit. Note that you have to update this program periodically for it to be at its most effective.
Repeat Steps 1-6 ( With The Full Scan Feature )
Now that you have all of the right tools, it’s a good idea to run everything on the full scan option to make sure your system is infection free.