Removing a Virus From A Computer

Posted: 1/21/2016

So it finally happened, you have a Virus. Trojan. Malware. Spyware. Whatever it is called, you caught it, and now it is crippling your computer.  Some Viruses can range from annoying to REALLY bad. The recent trend within organized crime is the Cryptoviruses – where you get an alert that they have encrypted your entire hard drive and if you don’t pay them they will wipe everything out in 48 hours. Is it a bluff? Perhaps (not usually). But did you back your data up recently? Probably not. So they are banking on the fact that your important documents are worth paying to save , maybe next time you will read my blog on Backing up your Data!)

Prevention is, by far, the best cure (see my blog on Computer Security 101) but we are past that point so now the question is whether or not the computer can be saved.

Some Viruses can be successfully removed, some leave back doors which make your machine “at risk” for more viruses in the future, and some are a complete loss (such as Cryptoviruses).

Easy Removal

There are a variety of no-cost or low-cost options on the market to assist. Please note that searching the internet for these tools is just as likely to GET you a virus than an ANTIVIRUS program. They prey on the uninformed and you can take a bad situation and make it worse. Stick to the name brands – Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro, Kaspersky, or MalwareBytes.

The first thing to do, however, is a system restore (for Windows machines).  If you go to Start menu and type System Restore, click on the icon and walk through the wizard.  Hopefully there will be a “recent” restore point to go back to.

System Restore for Microsoft Windows

 Select it and complete the wizard. This DOES NOT impact data (files, photos, etc) but any programs you may have installed between then and now – they will be removed and you will need to reinstall.

Next, run n antivirus program. The one we recommend at the moment is Malwarebytes (https://www.malwarebytes.org/) – there is a free version which anyone can run, install, and scan.  Whatever it recommends to remove, remove.  They have a pay version as well, which runs all the time (preventing infections) whereas the free version only helps you remove them after the fact.

Once you have completed the removal this would be a good time to check and make sure your antivirus program is up to date. Chances are it is not. Make sure you didn’t let the renewal lapse, this is very often the problem. Renew it and put in the newest version.  Also review the Computer Security 101 post and do those things!

Difficult Removal

If you go through the above steps, at this point you need to call a professional or skip to the next step. We are happy to assist in the virus removal (starting at $95/hour) and our trained professionals have many tricks to do our best to remove even the trickiest viruses.

There is always a balance between the cost of repair and cost to replace. If the machine is more than 4 years old, we would suggest you consider a new machine. The cost to repair some deep infestations could exceed the cost of a new computer.

Complete Loss

In the case of a complete loss your best bet is to back-up the data (except for Cryptovirus, it is too late at that point) and either replace the computer or wipe and reload it from scratch.

Either way we are here to help your business with either onsite repair or drop off (Depot) service at one of our locations. We strongly recommend drop off for viruses to minimize your repair costs. Call us at 847-348-3900 or contact us online to discuss your options.

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