Virus and malware removal is rarely a simple process. Occasionally you will get a piece of software that behaves badly but is easily removed through the “uninstall programs” process built into Windows. This is the exception to the rule.
Removing misbehaving software is often a complex process that can involve system reboots, multi-step file deletions and editing of the windows registry database. With severe infections it can even require a complete system restoration, meaning a reformatting of the hard-drive and re-installation of the operating system and legitimate software, and a restoration of your data and files.
With over thirty years of experience “operating” on the insides of computers, computer programs and peripheral systems, The Computer Doc removes dozens of these infections every week and stays up-to-date on latest threats and the best way to handle them.
If you find yourself with a bad virus or malware infection and don’t feel confident tackling it yourself, please give us a call (859) 935-1666. The Danville Computer Doc will be happy to help you.
Do-It-Yourself Virus Removal and System Repair Tips
We admire and support those who want to go it alone to make repairs and tweaks to their computer systems — and we provide all the support we can to get you started and to help you if things go awry.
If you are planning to clean your own machine of any virus or malware infections, we can offer the following suggestions and things to remember. Before attempting this process you need to:
- Realize this process is not for the faint of heart and is not for the novice.
- Backup any files you don’t want to lose on an external hard drive.
- Make sure you have copies of all system software, including the operating system and drivers, etc.
- Make sure you have access to the programs which may need to be reinstalled.
- Locate all registration information and keys/codes for the software you plan to reinstall. (Refer to your computer system documentation and print out any codes and information needed for online downloads)
- If you don’t know all the programs currently installed on your computer, be sure to check the “Add Remove Programs” potion of your computer’s Control Panel before beginning any repair process.
You can re-install software from backup media, but should be sure you have access to activation key codes for all of your software — especially your operating system.
A Little About Editing Your System Registry
If the virus/viruses your machine contracted invades your system registry, you will need to repair that as well. If you are not familiar with the Windows registry, please proceed with caution. Always, always, always:
- Backup Your Registry. This is a critical step. You can use a specialized tool for this, or the built-in Regedit tool (Open up Regedit, select the root key, click file and export. Name the file and select your location for the backup.)
- Export the Registry Key (or the Registry Branch). In addition to a full registry backup, you should export the key or the branch you plan to change before making any changes and then use a text editor (even Notepad) to review the key for any necessary changes. Once you have located the problem (or suspected problem) and have made the necessary changes, you can import the changes back into your registry.
- Find What You Need – If your registry is particularly complex, you may need to use the “Find” function to locate the key or the branch of the registry you suspect is causing a problem. Do so by shortcutting to the Find feature by typing <ctrl> and the letter “F” on the keyboard.
- Be Careful and Pay Attention – Making a mistake when editing the registry of your operating system can be catastrophic. This is not the time to guess, or take chances. This is not the time to have distractions. You want to be sure you make the CORRECT changes to the registry so your virus issue doesn’t become a full-blown operating system failure.
After the system registry is clean, you will need to track and repair any other damage done (or check for commonly experienced damage) by the particular strain of virus (or viruses) your computer contracted.
Once You Have Cleaned And Made All Necessary Repairs
Once the system is clean, it’s always a good idea to make a copy of the system in this state as a backup. Then you can re-install all your software packages, drivers, and update the key codes to be sure things are working properly. Then pull another backup. It’s always better to be overly safe than sorry (and have to start all over again!)
If you didn’t have to wipe the hard drive and re-install everything from scratch, be sure to run effective virus and malware tools to insure all infections have been identified, removed and any necessary repairs have been made.
Protect Against Future Problems
Be sure you are using a recommended virus software (we recommend Kaspersky Internet Security) to protect your computer from future infections, and keep the definitions up to date. Some of the other more commonly known virus protection software has become rather lax in protecting systems and often is operating system invasive — which results in slowing down the performance of your computer. We do not recommend McAfee or Norton.
If You Run Into Trouble
The Computer Doc often helps repair damage done by new do-it-yourself owners and by well-meaning, but less-experienced, technicians. If you find yourself in either of these situations, give us a call to get your computer back up and running like new.