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Old 12-20-2010, 02:11 PM   #1
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Default My Brief 1 Page Guide to Cleaning Up an Infected Windows Computer

My Brief 1 Page Guide to Cleaning Up an Infected Windows Computer
*Not responsible for any data loss or for any damage done to the computer*
1. The first step to cleaning up an infected computer is to backup all your important data.
- Find all of your Documents/Pictures/Emails.
- If you use webmail for your email (ie, you go to the Internet and access your ISP's website) then you will not need to worry about backing up your emails. If you use Outlook Express or another Email Client, search on Google as to where to go to back up the necessary files.
- Copy all this data to a CD/DVD/Flash Drive.
***It's not a bad idea to do this backup weekly/monthly anyway so that you have your data in the event of a computer crash***

2. Now that your data is backed up you can proceed. I use 2 programs --both free-- to remove any viruses/spyware/malware on my computer. Depending on how bad of a virus you have you may or may not be able to access the Internet. If you can't you will need to do the following steps from another computer and save the installation files to a flash drive or CD and then run them on the infected computer.
- The first program you will want to download is called MalwareBytes Anti-Malware. It can be downloaded from: malwarebytes.org (choose the free version). Once you have downloaded the program, you will want to run the installation and then update the program.
- Then restart your computer into Safe Mode. Pressing F8 as the computer turns on will give you the boot options and allow you to choose Safe Mode.
- Once in Safe Mode, open MalwareBytes and run a full system scan. Remove anything that it finds.
- Restart the computer (regularly) and see if the virus is still infecting the system.
- If not, congratulations! If so, continue.
- The next program we will try is called AVG Free AntiVirus. It can be downloaded from free.avg.com (again, choose the free version). Please be advised that you should not have 2 antivirus programs installed so that if you already have one, use that program to perform the system scan.
- Follow the same steps as above.
- Install, update, restart into Safe Mode, Full Scan, Restart and see if virus is removed.

3. It has been my experience that these two programs will find and remove most (if not all) viruses that I've run into. If they won't do the job, the next option is to format and reload Windows. This is an advanced step and deserves a guide in itself, however here's a brief overview of the process.
- Make sure you have all the data you want backed up.
- Make sure you have all of your program disks (any program that you've loaded onto the computer will be gone).
- Your computer should have come with a Restore CD. You will need this to continue. It will restore the computer to factory settings.
- Insert the Restore CD into the CD-Drive and restart your computer.
- You will be prompted to boot off of the CD. Do so and follow the on screen directions to format and reload Windows onto your computer.
- Reload any programs you previously had.
- Restore your data from the backup you've made.
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Old 12-20-2010, 02:32 PM   #2
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Default Re: My Brief 1 Page Guide to Cleaning Up an Infected Windows Computer

nice guide thanks, + you can use free programs
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Old 12-23-2010, 08:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: My Brief 1 Page Guide to Cleaning Up an Infected Windows Computer

Just an opinion having worked with computers for about 4-5 years professionally now: I hate AVG. I find that avast! catches a lot more than AVG will. If a computer comes in with AVG installed, I always uninstall it and send the customer away with Avast. Never had one come back for virus/malware trouble with Avast. However, as much as I dislike AVG and how it seems to hog resources in the background, Norton and McAfee are hands down the worst. 75% of the PCs that come in to my shop have one of those two installed. Complete and utter crap.

Again, just an opinion. Nice guide. As a side note, when I reinstall, I always partition the C:\ drive separate from the data drive (therefore, when Windows loads, I move all "My..." folders to the data (D:\) drive. This way, if there's ever a "next time" or if something happens to the C:\ drive (corruptions, etc., etc.), their data is "virtually" safe (I say virtually because it's still the same physical disk).

And, a few more to add. If MBAM and avast! don't wipe out the infection, I typically will run Spybot S&D as well as Ad-Aware. And in addition to anything I do, I almost always run ATF-Cleaner and/or clear all cache/temp folders (depends on what version of Windows). Lastly, I always check to make sure the hosts file is clean, as everything may be wiped off as far as viruses go, but if you don't check the hosts file, you may still get re-routed when connecting to the net.
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Old 12-27-2010, 11:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: My Brief 1 Page Guide to Cleaning Up an Infected Windows Computer

Good points. I did forget to include ATF Cleaner in my guide. I do use it most of the time.

I've never used Avast, but I've never had problems with AVG. The next rebuild I do I will try Avast instead.

I have found that in MBAM and AVG don't fix the virus, it's easier just to reload it at that point. In my experience MBAM finds things that Spybot and Ad-Aware don't. I haven't used either in a long time though.

I partition the C: drive as well in most cases, however that was going beyond the guide I was trying to write. That deserves it's own guide.

I've never looked into the hosts files before. Thanks for the info. I will start doing that now.
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: My Brief 1 Page Guide to Cleaning Up an Infected Windows Computer

nice guide reminds me of my friend who knows nothing about computers. (i didnt know him at this time) the shop he took it to for repair said that they cannot repair it as the virus was purposely installed... and they kept the actual computer (obviously him or his parents thought it was useless). I kind of told him that the shop was either lying or utterly and completely stupid, and then told him of solutions XD
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:26 PM   #6
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Default Re: My Brief 1 Page Guide to Cleaning Up an Infected Windows Computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by dude_56013 View Post
Just an opinion having worked with computers for about 4-5 years professionally now: I hate AVG. I find that avast! catches a lot more than AVG will. If a computer comes in with AVG installed, I always uninstall it and send the customer away with Avast. Never had one come back for virus/malware trouble with Avast. However, as much as I dislike AVG and how it seems to hog resources in the background, Norton and McAfee are hands down the worst. 75% of the PCs that come in to my shop have one of those two installed. Complete and utter crap.
I cant say I have ever had an issue with AVG or its resources or virus detection. I have used it and my wife uses it and many of my clients use it and none of them have had issues like they had wiht mcaffee or norton on their machines.

By the way this is a good guide which i think we should build on and keep updated over time as tools change and processes are updated.
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: My Brief 1 Page Guide to Cleaning Up an Infected Windows Computer

Thank you. I do plan on keeping it updated on my end, so I can come back and post any updates that I find here as well.
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: My Brief 1 Page Guide to Cleaning Up an Infected Windows Computer

Cool post. I learned a lot today. Thanks for the effort... ^_^
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