The thing with viruses, is that once a virus has control of your computer, you can’t trust anything that the computer does. It may turn off AntiVirus programs, and it may block access to AntiVirus sites on the internet. And crucially, it may hide itself from AntiVirus software.
Even after a virus is removed, sometimes it has made so many changes to the computer that even once it has been removed, the computer still doesn’t work properly.
This makes it very difficult to remove a virus without using another machine to clean up the infected one. Sometimes it works, sometimes (mostly) it doesn’t.
Of course, what I am saying here, is that you’ll almost certainly need professional help.
How do I get rid of a virus?
Why do people write viruses?
Some viruses use the computer that they have taken over to send Spam emails. Other viruses use the computer to overload web sites, and they can use the threat of this to blackmail the web site owner. Still others will record passwords and send them back to the virus writers.
Free Anti virus programs
There are free AntiVirus programs available for non commercial use. Here are two of them
These two programs both come from companies that sell AntiVirus software. I think they are just as effective at protecting your computer against viruses as the paid version. The paid versions include other functions such as spam filters that these free ones don’t.
The down side is that both these companies offer the free AntiVirus software in the hope that they can sell you their paid version. This can be quite intrusive, but then you are getting a free service.
My view now is that AVG Free at least, is so intrusive, you are probably better off biting the bullet and paying for your AntiVirus software upfront.
How can I reduce my chances of getting a virus?
- Do not open emails from people you do not know.
- Be sceptical about email from people that you do know, especially where the email appears out of character. Ask yourself “Why are they sending me this link?”
- Avoid web sites that contain pirated music/games/films.
- Run an up to date AntiVirus program on your computer.
- Don’t install any software unless you NEED it. A toolbar to show you the recipe of the day might sound harmless, and most are, but……
Following these rules won’t stop you getting a virus, but it will reduce the risk.
What do I do if I can’t get rid of a virus?
Here’s where I come in. I will disinfect your computer for you. Here’s what I do:
- Take a back up copy of your computer
- Extract just the data files you want to keep (pictures, documents, music etc).
- Run AntiVirus programs to disinfect them. Because none of the AntiVirus programs are 100% effective, I do a triple scan using Norton, Kaspersky and AVG.
- Reset your computer to its factory state
- Install all of the appropriate Microsoft updates for your computer, including all the security fixes.
- Restore the disinfected files
- If you have an AntiVirus program, I will reinstall it.
This leaves you with a machine that is clean and has up to date versions of all the software it needs to run. Typically this costs £112.50.