If you suspect you have a virus (or any other malware), you should take steps immediately. The following procedures work for most viruses or malware (except perhaps for completely new, unknown or unusually malignant strains). It is better to complete all steps, so you can be (reasonably) sure that all traces have been removed.
Signs to look out for (infections may cause one or several of the following) :
* Slow computer, and/or slow internet connection. Strange pop-ups or web browser redirections (beyond those expected from dodgy websites).
* Program failure, or inexplicable errors (even after a fresh install).
* System functions unavailable (eg: Control Panel, Task Manager, Internet Explorer).
* System giving a "RPC error", giving a window with a 30 second countdown to a restart.
* Excessive internet cap usage, i.e high internet traffic on your computer.
1. Confirmation and Preliminary Action: Make a list of ways your computer is showing signs of abnormal operation. Satisfy yourself that these signs are not due to hardware failure or problems with attached equipment. Sometimes people misdiagnose software problems (such as bugs in Outlook Express or printer drivers) as virus activity. Also, problems with the Registry can be a source of errors, this happens if you install and uninstall lots of programs.
* Run your virus-scanner, but beware, many modern viruses can circumvent (or hide from) common anti-virus programs. Norton Antivirus and Mcafee have both been seen to exhibit this weakness, or seem unable to remove certain strains.
2. Check access to System Restore & the Internet.
1. Check computer for system access - Try to disable System Restore - right-click My Computer and select properties. Turn off System Restore on all drives.
2. Download and install new Anti-Virus. Both AVG Free Edition and Avast! are highly acclaimed programs. Install one of them (see External Links). Update the program's virus definitions. Don't scan for viruses yet.
3. Install Spybot Search & Destroy or Webroot Spysweeper (see External Links), and update its definitions. Don't scan for malware yet.
4. Install Adaware Personal Edition (see External Links) and update its definitions. Don't scan for malware yet.
3. Reboot into Safe Mode - Restart your computer and press F8 before Windows loads. Press F8 several times if you need to. Select Safe Mode from the resulting menu. Safe Mode disables much of the startup routine (including some common Malware hiding places).
4. Run your Anti-Virus - Run the freshly installed Anti-Virus. And Heal or Delete any references to Malware.
5. Run your Malware Scanners - Run both the scanners sequentially, deleting any references found.
6. Reboot and turn System Restore back on.
7. Enjoy your sanitised computer.