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Ask the Readers: Share Your Tips for Defeating Viruses and Malware

We’ve shared some of our best tips for dealing with malware over the years, and now it’s your turn! Share your favorite tips for protecting against, or getting rid of viruses and other types of malicious software.

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Unfortunately, if you’re a PC user it’s a given that you have to play defense against various forms of Malware. We’ve written several articles showing how to get rid of viruses and other forms of malware over the years using various strategies.

We have some excellent articles explaining how to get rid of Advanced Virus Remover, Antivirus Live, Internet Security 2010, and Security Tool – all of which disguise themselves as legit antivirus apps.

Now we turn it over to you to share your favorite tips and tricks for defending against malicious infections. If your computer has been infected, what steps did you take to get rid of it and clean up your machine?

Leave a comment below and join in the discussion!

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 03/10/10

Comments (122)

  1. Phlad1934

    Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware + Spybot – Search & Destroy + ESET Smart Security = BEST SECURITY FOR YOUR PC! ;)

  2. labota

    Just not using Microsoft Windows

  3. NaeNae

    use a Mac ;)

    I’ve always used Avast on Windows machines and I like it just fine.

  4. Matthew

    Malwarebytes is great for removing stubborn viruses that normal antivirus programs are unable to remove.

  5. Gary Shapiro

    Grab Sun’s VirtualBox (or similar) and look for your Porn and Warez in a virtual machine.

  6. John

    Remove the hard drive and connect it to another machine, either via an external enclosure or directly to the motherboard and scan it that way. Then no matter how bad it’s infected, the virus(es) have no affect on the running version of Windows that you are using to scan and clean the drive.

    Occasionally this will make a drive unbootable so the safest way is to do a custom scan on folders likely to be infected but not related to the OS, mainly the “documents and settings” or “users” folder. If you scan the Windows directory just be careful what you remove.

  7. Matthew Lucas

    Where is your followup to the Spybot Search&destroy?
    I was looking forward to seeing the Adaware and Malwarebytes one

  8. Chris

    Remove Windows and install Ubuntu

  9. Tarun Iyer

    As important as having a solid Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware software installed, nothing beats common sense. I’ve found that the best way to avoid having your PC infected is to just be carefull as to what sites you visit and what you download. Ideally you’d avoid Bittorrent or P2P altogether to reduce the risk, but if you insist on torrenting movies or the like, check the comments section for the torrent before you download and then run a virus scan when its done.

    You also might want to consider running dodgy stuff within a sandbox, I’d reccomend the free and awesome Sandboxie

  10. David Luttrull

    I use a program called rkill (just google it) to stop all of the excess processes from running. Then, I run malware antibytes to find all of the junk and remove it. Not surefire, but it works pretty well.

  11. John

    Getting a little off topic guys… I use Linux too, and use VM’s if I have to run Windows; but the question is not how to prevent infections but rather how to remove them once infected.

  12. sam

    the new fraudware stuff is including some executable prevention stuff in their program, but it appears to be pretty weak and can be stopped simply by booting into Safe Mode + Networking and running Malwarebytes.

  13. Kevin

    ~know how to use Hi-jack this…I prefer to check my log againsta an on-line log file analyzer that agregates..and allows u to comment on various processes, and settings…http://www.hijackthis.de/…it’s in German, but the comments and everything in ur report r in english…

    ~I check my system files once a month unless I had a suspected intrusion……cmd(run as admin if vista or higher)…type…..
    sfc /scannow
    btw sfc = system file checker
    vista and earlier = need the OEM = original equipment MFG. disc in the drive
    windows 7 needs not the disc in the drive to run this process, and it only usually takes bout five to ten minutes…

    7-zip file manager, and eraser help get rid of files that normal means sometimes don’t

    know and trust ur security software…
    I use adaware…avast home…hijack this..A2 free..defender..& spybot search and destroy…
    keep ur definitions and programs/OS updated and u should b runnin just fine
    of course u would never install a spyware ridden tool-bar, and ur files r de-fraged regularily, and registry cleaned once in a while so I bet ur system is secure and stable just like mine…:D

    I also wish to say that people need to quit blaming windows for operator error…they just need to start RTFM…more friggin often…ROFL

  14. Eric

    1. Switch to Linux.
    2. If #1 isn’t an option, switch to a Mac.
    3. If #2 isn’t an option, use a combination of malwarebytes and panda cloud.

  15. vlad

    best of the best is SOPHOS anti-virus i used for a long time…no problem with any type of threats u can see at all the VB is number 1…very fast easy to use take low resources …not a lot of people heard about it…

  16. John Mack

    Unfortunately, once the virus is in your machine (at least Windows), it’s really impossible to get rid of it, unless it’s a mild virus. The best protection, as someone mentioned, is being careful what you download and what sites you visit. The way to buy some time to back up any necessary data before the virus completely takes over your machine is to have something that will give you a clear picture of what’s running on your machine. The problem with the Microsoft utilities is they are not particularly user-friendly so some other software should be used. I myself use AnVir Task Manager but there are others.

  17. Agustín

    Your worst enemy: yourself.
    Your best ally: yourself.

    Don’t blame the programs and Windows if you have virus or something related. Blame yourself for letting them get to your PC.
    I have never came across a virus on any Windows that I used, and all I had was an AV. Never need of any extra program, although I ran SpyBot a few times, just for testing porpuses, it never found a threat.

  18. Mrrix32

    I was going to be “That Guy” and suggest linux, but I see people got there before me.

    Prevention is better than cure so:
    • Install Avast
    • Don’t do anything stupid like opening “bigboobs.avi.exe”
    • Show file extensions (Also helps with previous point)
    • Don’t pirate anything

  19. AlienDK

    I use this awesome thing called “common sense”. Unfortunatly, it is not available for everyone. I use both Windows and Ubuntu and so far it has worked just fine :).

  20. Jairo

    Don’t run under Administrator all the time. Run with an account that doesn’t have admin scope on your system and use the runas to install apps by right – clicking.

    Doing this and having an up-to-date AV will not get you infected.

  21. Ivan

    - Use Mozilla Firefox with NoScript and Ad-Block Plus add-ons (haven’t had a virus in years ever since I used Firefox.)

    In addition:
    - Avoid using IE
    - Avira Antivirus
    - Use OpenDNS and enable malware/botnet protection, phishing protection and suspicious responses.

  22. Trevor Bekolay

    On my Windows machine, my biggest defense is using Firefox rather than Internet Explorer — of course, things have changed in that respect since IE8 came out (even IE7 to some extent) but it still means that I’m not in the most-attacked group.

    But yeah, I use Firefox and a very minimal firewall on my router. Other than that, I run ClamWin every now and then, especially when my computer’s acting weird. Haven’t been infected with anything in some time, but it’s certainly happened.

    Actually, somewhat recently (maybe a year ago) I got a trojan because the computers at the University I go to were infected such that when you plugged in a USB drive, it would autorun a program to infect the drive, which of course I plugged in at home. Since then I’ve been a bit more discerning about what I’ll stick my flash drive into. So to speak.

  23. Mysticgeek

    We are partial to Microsoft Security Essentials here at How-To Geek.
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/4714/week-in-geek-the-microsoft-security-essentials-is-excellent-edition/

    When I clean other people’s PC’s I use SuperAntiSpyware Portable and it usually does a great job of getting rid of the worst infections.
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/9283/superantispyware-portable-is-the-must-have-spyware-removal-tool-you-need/

    Of course good old fashioned common sense is a must. If all else fails, a lot of times it’s easier to reformat and do a clean install.

  24. Kent

    For Windows XP, the most effective defense is to browse from a limited user account. It is theoretically possible to get an infection in a limited account, but those vulnerabilities are quite rare these days. No computer running as limited user has ever, in my experience, gotten any kind of malware. This is the best defense against lack of updating and zero day vulnerabilities. If you don’t like fast user switching to an admin account, run your browser in a sandbox(ie).

    For Windows 7, I run in admin mode, because UAC protects against process elevation, but I confess I keep Microsoft Security Essentials up-to-date on my Win7 systems.

    I curse Norton and McAfee. Fie on them! I snub Trend Micro and turn up my nose at all the others. Phbbt!

  25. Matthew Guay

    As Brian said, we do like Microsoft Security Essentials. I have found it to be both lightweight and powerful at detecting viruses and worms before they infect the system.

    This may be more of a preventative tip than one on how to remove viruses, but the biggest problem I’ve seen recently is worms on flash drives. If you put your flash drive into a computer that is infected, it will often put the worm on your flash drive and then try to autolaunch on your computer when you reinsert it. The good thing is that UAC on Vista/7 prevents it from automatically running (without your permission), and then Security Essentials has always caught them in my experience. So remember to scan your flash drives when you insert them into your computer before using them!

  26. Eric F.

    Well, what has worked for me in the past has always been Malwarebytes…I absolutely love that program. A couple months ago, I fixed someone’s computer who had a fake antivirus program running, and, while this isn’t the norm, I first used Revo Uninstaller free version to uninstall it (it was one of the nicer ones) and used Revo to get rid of any other .dll’s or .exe’s (to keep it from coming back) that it left behind. Then, I ran a couple Malwarebytes scans and removed whatever was still there on the computer.

    Me personally, I have paid AVG (which seems like I only use it for live protection, as I scan with Malwarebytes) and I also have Super Anti-Spyware installed as well for the occasional scan.

  27. Stueycaster

    I use ESET Smart Security, Windows Defender, Spyware Blaster, Firefox with NoScript and AdBlock and a Hosts File. I haven’t had any malware for years. ESET products are the best for not slowing down your system.

  28. Seth

    Enable DEP (OptOut).

  29. Nivekian

    ThreatFire
    Avast!
    Spybot

  30. Lowlander

    Well! You have provoked a pail of worms here! Mysticgeek. (maybe a pun intended). Your comment on common sense is the most relevant. I have been on the ‘net since the start & before that on BBS. In that time I can honestly say I have had 1 Virus (kak back about 2000 which I isolated) and 1 Trojan (msmedia about 2003 – setting up a Laptop which had W2K to XP, it was in, in about 30sec. but I noticed it was connecting to an IP address in Russia). I do not and never have run a resource hog anti-virus but a good Firewall is essential. For POP3 email make sure you can delete on the server – Popman will do the job but for more automatic deletion of crap Mailbox Dispatcher is the works, then use your client. Web mail comes back to the common sense angle, do not know of any successful control method. Keep up the good work.

  31. Konchok

    Microsoft Security Essentials
    Malwarebytes
    Comodo Firewall

    Sophos Anti-Rootkit
    SpyDLLRemover v3 from Rootkit Analytics

    Because I’m usually clean I haven’t found anything with the last one, but it looks quite useful. Two other processes worth mentioning for protection are Sandboxie and uploading any suspicious files to Virus Total (I use their right-click app) before launching. – As many have pointed out though, nothing beats common sense.

  32. zoro

    - Start Windows in Safe mode with Network connection
    - Update my Antivirus programs (AVG, Antivir, Spybot, Ad-Aware…)
    - Scan whole pc
    - Restart

    Btw. AVG and Spybot is a very good combi for me. Free and powerful. In years just some trojans (<5) catched by AVG. Just automatic update AV programs and scan your pc at least 1 time/ week. And update your browser, too.

  33. Chronno

    The best way to get rid of a virus IS not to get one in the first place. A good virus protection and smart surfing habits are a must. Linux and Mac use is not invulnerable.

    As to the inevitable removal, we use AVG for little things then we move on to Malwarbytes and SpyBot for bigger things. For the nasty things I use Ultimate Boot CD for Windows (ubcd4win.com), it boots a copy of windows from a CD that can’t be infected by what’s on the drive and has several built in repair tools. The last thing I always run after the really bad ones is a program called Trojan Remover (simplysup.com), it’s a pay program and can be really annoying when you don’t need it, but not only will it remove those stubborn malware programs, it will also reset the restrictive security polices that they can put in, like disabling the task manager or the run box.

    The absolute last resort is a wipe and reload.

  34. Col

    BUY windows and use the default settings for all microsoft crapware to be installed and grind your computer to a crawl and still be at risk.

    BUY a mac (£250 for the logo alone) and use the default settings for all mac crapware to be installed and grind your bank balance out of existence, if you have anything left over to start with.

    FREELY Install linux on any pc or laptop knocking around and do what you want when you want without the others bullshit.

  35. nakul sharma

    another vote for Microsoft security essentials. although when fixing people’s computers for removing infections it has been malwarebytes + spybot + kaspersky virus removal tool (which runs as portable)

  36. mickeyblue

    i run MSE and Super anti-spware real time protection, and NEVER get a virus/OS problems.

    oh and yeah common sense, is a must.

  37. Christhepcguy

    At our shop about 90% of the PC’s that come in have that fake AV on it.
    Combofix + Malwarebytes (in safe mode) usually takes care of it.
    If we can’t get them to run, either connect to another PC and clean it, or boot from a Kaspersky rescue CD. It will update and scan the drive. Then combofix and malwarebytes, remove restore points, reset IE settings update thier AV if it still has subscription, otherwise install and full scan with MS Security Essentials.

  38. at0mic

    in 6 years i’ve only been infected once, my fault not windows. you could install something as useless as linux if all you’re going to do is check email. other than that ignore all these “SWITCH TO LINUX” comments. thats the dumbest thing you could do. it doesn’t run, completely useless. just pay attention, windows runs the world, why use an inferior product, ie, mac, ubuntu, etc…
    mse, spywareblaster, ccleaner, and mbam. i’ve never had anything more than a tracking cookie found on my computers.

  39. DigitalGeekery

    Microsoft Security Essentials. It’s free and it works.

  40. at0mic

    back on the topic, how to remove infections. i use superantispyware in a flashdrive. it works well enough to install malwarebytes which i’ve changed the name of the .exe file. depending on which antivirus/security apps they’re running i use revo to get rid of it because it obviously didn’t work. install mse. not all are alike or i would go on all night

  41. Agustín

    @at0mic

    You are so wrong about your believes.
    Linux inferior product? I will tell you one thing: the 99% of the webs you visit and enjoy everyday is hosted on a Linux server… oh, yes it’s a completely useless platform you say :)
    Mac inferior? Ask Microsoft whats the first OS that they look when they start to work on a new Windows.

    Every OS has is pros and cons, and every one of them are designed for different kind of peoples. If Windows is the best for you, then you should not blame the others because they don’t do the job as you would expect.

  42. Chris

    I prefer Combofix, malwarebytes and lately have had to use a reg fix to allow windows to run executables

  43. Asian Angel

    What I use in order along with a good dose of Safe Mode when needed:

    1.) Antivir or Avast
    2.) Spybot Search & Destroy
    3.) Malware Bytes
    4.) Super Antispyware
    5.) Ad Aware
    6.) Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool

  44. calebstein

    1. http://archlinux.org/
    (not for everyone)

    2. common sense
    (not that hard)

    3. good antivirus and at least 6 other antispyware programs

  45. Alex

    Getting a Mac, or installing Ubuntu is not a fix to stopping Malware and spyware. Macs and Ubuntu don’t get virii because no one WANTS to write a virus for 5 people in the whole world.

    Microsoft Security Essentials
    Spybot
    Hijackthis
    CWShredder
    Google.

    Its about all you need really. I havent had a virus on my machine in a long time.

  46. nozz

    use dual boot

    linux for internet

    windows for others

  47. John

    What has always worked for me is a three pronged attack:
    Malware Bytes, Spybot S&D and a-Squared from EMSI software.
    With these three any and all virii, trojans and malware get detected
    and gotten rid of ! ! !!

  48. Aulo

    Acronis TrueImage or similar.

  49. NoNameFace

    The best choices for me thus far has been blocking that stuff from downloading to my computer in the first place.

    Hostman (blocking unwanted nasties with a custom host file)
    OpenDNS

    Daily scans:
    AVG
    Super AntiSpyware
    CCleaner

    And for more serious surfing…. VirtualBox.

  50. Zach

    I use Avast and Mallwarebytes. Great combination

  51. SDreamer

    First of all, avoiding, is different from defeating :P I’d advise to make backups constantly, check them for viruses often, and if your computer does get infected, do a total reformat, and restore from a clean backup. Nothing better than having that clean feeling. I’d recommend using MSE, and a firewall (for outgoing connections; router works, but I use Commodo just to throw a little more in (a bit easier to configured for outgoing than Windows’s default)). Also, just safe the web safe, it’s unlike to have a drive by infection. And more importantly, READ before you click.

  52. Dinesh

    I use Hitman Pro, Malware Bytes and Norton 360 V4.

  53. KBPrez

    Norton Internet Security for real-time protection
    Malwarebytes and SUPERAntiSpyware
    Common sense

  54. CPJames19

    1. Avira AntiVir
    2. SUPERAntiSpyware
    3. Malware Bytes
    4. Use Firefox w/v AdBlock Plus

  55. Ashutosh Mishra

    1.I primarily use Microsoft Security Essentials. It is very unobtrusive and does its job well! And it catches almost anything you throw at it.

    2.I have the free version of Malwarebytes’ antimalware, with which I scan my computer every 5-6 days (after downloading those rather big updates, of course!). It helped me a lot in the days when I was stupid and used to install rogueware more often than not. I’m wiser now, but you never know what’s waiting for you!

    3.Earlier I also used AVG LinkScanner, which is handy to notify you of bad websites.

    4.Due to Chrome’s extra security features, there is no good password syncing extension available for it. So I still use Firefox to store my passwords (which are then synced through Weave), and I use Chrome’s importer to import the passwords from Firefox every 2-3 days. I use a long master password in Firefox, which provides basic security to those stored passwords.

    5.I download software only from their home pages, or from trusted third-party sites like filehippo.com, download.cnet.com and softpedia.com.

    6.I abusively ignore/hide/delete/block any links/photos/farms that my friends send me in Facebook. 99% of such links come from all those God awful, spammy applications they use, and are sent without their knowledge. Facebook is so huge that its impossible to keep malware under control over there. So better be safe and secure.

    7.Over the past four years, ever since I started using Internet, I’ve learned the hard way that you should never, ever believe anything that says you’ve won ten million dollars, or that you’re the 9999999th visitor to a website, or that you’re in dire need of some lovely looking smileys, or that you need some uber codec to play an extraterrestrial kind of movie file.

    8.Oh I use a genuine version of Windows 7, and always let it install all updates. That’s a very important thing to do, IMO.

    :)

  56. Iszi

    Two words: Live CD

    Malwarebytes, Avast, and Spybot are my defensive line. Some (if not all) of these can be loaded onto a Live CD, which is the *only* safe way to clean off the hard-core stuff.

    Of course, when in doubt, back-up and re-build.

  57. Manny DiPresso

    Hitman Pro and then anti-malwarebytes

  58. Chewie063

    Avast AV (free version)
    Comodo Firewall
    Regular CCleaner scans

    Spybot
    Malwarebytes
    SuperAntispyware
    (also have portable versions of these 3 for running on other people’s computers)

    WOT Firefox plugin (Web of Trust)
    Adblock Firefox plugin

  59. Fred H

    A lot of good and some bad tips here. Why not try to make this little survey a little bit more useful?
    Make a poll, giving all the proposals found here. Present the reults and links to suppliers.

    And, remember, saying use Unix/Linux is not a relevant choice. That is like sayng use a truck/lorry instead of your citycar. Not always possible or wanted.

  60. Enigma

    +1 for using common sense. I haven’t had a single virus or malware on my own computer in years by being careful. I’ve been using Microsoft Security Essentials for the past few months and it’s now my favorite AV. For removing infections, I prefer Malwarebytes, Ad-Aware, and Spybot.

  61. Twistee

    I practice redundancy. I use Malwarebytes and Spybot S&D for adware spyware and cookie cleaning. Both are free programs. Often a nasty will be detected by one and not the other. I do manual weekly deep scans with both (not at the same time) and do not autostart them or leave them running. In addition I use the free version of AVG to do scheduled scans and give real-time browser protection. I also use the free version of Zonealarm as my software firewall. I run this same combination on all my home systems and have been protected so far.

  62. Anthony

    We all know what to do in the event of a malware infection Windows or Mac and I’m here to tell you that the number one virus to any system is the user themselves because it’s what you do that invites the infection to begin with. I find that the number one thing that anyone can do initially is to not be logged in as Administrator and then go online…this will in fact invite malware to run with your Admin credentials.

  63. orbit138

    Malwarebytes and Microsoft Security Essentials. These two will usually do the trick. I will usually run malwarebytes from safe mode first and then run again in normal. Works great! I rarely have to go straight to the registry anymore.

  64. alex30

    There is no point in trying to get rid of a virus infection once it is there as you can NEVER be 100% sure you have cleaned it. So first is prevention but then if your machine is infected then putting on a CLEAN disk image is the only sure way of returning to a clean machine.
    I made a disk image of my new machine before I went on the net after installing executables that had been saved on an external drive. After a month of using the machine,during which time I made notes of any changes I made and also saved the executables of any new programmes that I had installed, I put that image back on. This involves an automatic reformat of the disk and hence ALL viruses and malware are nuked. Even, of course , the ones you and your anti malware programmes are unaware of. I then bring my PC up to date using my notes and the saved executables and before I go on line I take another clean disk image for use a month down the line. This system also negates a lot of software rot which is caused by bits and pieces of shrapnel which are left behind when you use your PC. You also have no need of a registry cleaner , your PC will remain in good shape until you get a virus at which point you can put your recent clean image on and be sure the PC is clean.
    To start this regime you may have to resort to your insallation media but it is well worth it. All the effort of trying to clean infections is stupid.
    I use the free version of Macrium Reflect to handle my images and it is superb.

  65. Victor

    I’m not proud of this but I download a lot of porn. Also I use Limewire for music. Since the Geeks had the article on Microsoft Security Essentials, I switched from Avast and have had no problems since. Porn and P2P are two of the easiest places to pick up a virus.

  66. Grant

    If you can avoid it, don’t use Windows. It is not only infected because it is popular, but also because it is easy. If it were popularity, web servers with Linux would be more infected than Windows ones, but they are not.

    If you cannot avoid Windows, avoid IE. ActiveX coupled with setting execute permissions by file name rather than actual file system permissions gives quite the target. Don’t surf for free smut. Don’t install that “codec” so you can see the naughty videos, it is a Trojan. Only install software from trusted sources, but realize that even that might not work (recent Energizer issue, malware shipped on MP3 players, etc.)

    Be vigilant. Realize that the Internet is a bad neighborhood, and act like it. In South Side Chicago you lock your doors, and keep aware of your surroundings.

  67. Grant

    @at0mic

    I use Linux for everything. I do a little word processing and spreadsheets, a lot of desktop publishing, software development, audio and video editing, a few games, the web, email, educational stuff for the kids, etc.

    I am curious what Linux does not do that Windows does. I would agree that the games are not as prevalent, but I have 5 consoles (one is an Atari 2600) which all play better than a Windows machine, so I don’t miss that. I am required to use a Windows machine at work, and it seems more limiting than my Linux machine at home, so I would have to say that it is a matter of point of view.

    Perhaps I am the dolt here, and I just fed a troll.

  68. john

    I use Linux so I don’t have to worry about malware and viruses. It is always up to date and I don’t have to pay Microsoft for a less than perfect product.

  69. ron

    Advanced system care free version is a very good product.
    It does not tease you with a fake free download only to fix 2 of 486 problems.
    I was so impressed with how much the free version does i upgraded to the paid version.
    Also IObit 360 is great too, it has defensive blocking and windows update features (both true one button software) If windows update gets hosed up and is not completing all updates this program does will download needed patches and install them efortlessly.
    And Process monitor to figure out what process is running with what program when your system gets infeckded.
    also noscript for firefox help keeps interscum at bay.

  70. cam

    I use Panda Cloud anti virus,Malwarebyes,Spyware Blaster and Windows Defender and have had no problems on Windows 7.. However I dual boot with Ubuntu which is more stable and more secure so I’m not often into Windows.

  71. John Mack

    One note about Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). When you install it, it will turn on Automatic Updates if you have it turned off. It’s not necessary to have Automatic Updates on in order for MSE to work or for MSE to update itself.

    Just wanted to mention that if people want to control what exactly is downloaded from Microsoft.

  72. CK

    In my opinion, the irony of recommending Linux or Mac on a grand scale, is that for everyone who takes that advice, that platform is one tiny step closer to being less secure. I’m not going to say every OS is the same in regards to security, because they clearly are not. But invariably the most popularly used OS will be the biggest target for viruses/malware, and therefore the least secure because of the number of attempts to exploit it.

    I agree that it has become fairly easy to exploit windows. However, I’m not so convinced that it’s strictly a design problem, like many people seem to be of the opinion. The vast number of sophisticated tools that have been developed to implement exploits are a large reason. No one has to be a hacker to hack a computer anymore. You just load up some easy to use software, set the bait, and let it go. These have been developed over the years by the hacker community, and the same thing would happen on other platforms like Linux & Mac.

    I’m not saying don’t recommend Linux or Mac, nor am I saying we can’t do better in general. I’m saying that it’s foolish to think that if the majority of computer users simultaneously switched to Linux or Mac, that would somehow resolve the issue. I’d almost be willing to guarantee that within 1 year you would see a consistent number of exploits and viruses start circulating on Mac or Linux if it was worth the time & efforts of criminals.

    But getting back to a personal pragmatic level, switching to Linux or Mac is a completely valid approach to mitigating your risk for at least the foreseeble future (though Mac has been growing very well).

  73. Kurt

    Microsoft Security Essentials as the antivirus for my own PC. when I go to fix a customers PC i bring with me malewarebytes and hijackthis. there has been next to nothing i can’t stop with those 2 tools. and if really hit the fan i have had to manually remove some things from the registry before.

  74. Justin

    The best solution I’ve found (especially for those #$*@! rouge AV programs) is to pull the hard drive, attach it to another via USB which has SuperAntiSpyware, MalwareBytes, SpyBot, and a decent AV program (Forefront for work and Security Essentials for home in my case) on it. Then scan the attached drive with all 4 programs, check the logs and make sure everything is removed.

    That way there can’t be any files running that have attached themselves to processes like winlogon.exe which would then prevent them from being deleted.
    Lastly I also would check the registry and system32 folder for hidden system files that don’t belong. In the registry I usually check HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Run as that is where they’ll usually hide.

  75. Bobbylight

    #1 defense use your brain

    Avira free edition

    Spybot search and destroy – I run it once a week

    &

    Secunia PSI for software patches – run twice a month

    I think people freak out to much about interest security and they they need all this software to protect them. I only download from trusted sites scan every folder before opening, and there is plenty of free software out there so no need to download cracks.

    Haven’t gotten a virus in over 5 years.

  76. nozz

    i’m using freecommander to delete virus manually from my pendrive or portable hddsk bcoz most antivirus sometimes fail to detect the virus.But b4 that i scan the pendrive first with the antivirus.

    i use avast+malwarebytes+wot in firefox for better internet security.

    other great tools=ninja pendisk and panda usb vaccine.

    work great to me since i’ve used pirated windows.

  77. Midway

    If it was to happen to me (and it hasn’t since I went to Vista/7) I would restore from my trusty WHS machine. UAC/Protected Mode has saved me on occasions–they are like the last line of defense in whatever gets by the AV. Understanding the purpose of standard/elevated privileges in UAC goes a long way in defeating malware, especially drive-by downloads. The only time I have ever had to use the WHS Restore was on some experimenting I performed.

    As others has mentioned I have cleaned malware out of people’s machines by pulling the HDD out and hooking up a USB adapter to it to scan for malware from another machine.

  78. 1fastbullet

    I’ve had some experience cleaning up machines people have brought me with variations of AV ’08, ’09 and ’10. Recently a guy brought me his laptop that was infested and the virus was somewhat improved over previous examples. It would not allow me to use any anti-malware tools I had on either CD or Flash drives. It also redirected anything I tried to connect to on the ‘net.
    I was sitting here staring at the monitor, wondering what to try next when It dawned on me that there was about a 20 second lapse between when Windows booted and the pop-ups began. When I finally noticed this small window of oportunity, I was able to use it to my advantage by starting the AV tools during that short timespan. It worked and I was able to defeat the garbage that had infested his laptop.
    If you pay attention to those first few seconds after Windows boots, maybe you will also find the lapse I discovered before the virus started and be able to beat it to the punch. It took me a number of restarts before the pattern bacame obvious, so don’t give up.

  79. SquareWheel

    Always running Microsoft Security Essentials with Malwarebytes as a backup if you’re afraid you’ve contracted something.

  80. Ron

    I know, I know……….quit saying “switch to Linux”, but the fact is, this topic is one of the primary reasons why I did investigate and ultimately switch to a Linux OS. I am not a geek. My system at the time (Vista) was suffering from Windows degradation after a couple years of use and was a bloated nightmare – about 60 gigs and growing. This was a simple home computer – no huge programs installed…..Well, except for Norton, because I didn’t know any better).

    I was running anti-spyware programs up to about 20 hours a month and STILL found crap every week. Through research, I learned a fresh install was best for ridding my rig of this stuff and it would also eliminate the degradation all Windows operating systems suffer from. The problem? I didn’t get a clean install disc with this computer. No, I got Window’s and HP’s version of an operating system. And it wasn’t even a disc. Just a recovery partition. I’m quite sure I paid enough for a clean disc but Windows doesn’t work that way. So, IF recovery worked, I would have a new Vista OS, all Microsoft’s “extra” software and all the crap HP throws in. Why relive the same nightmare twice?

    I began using Linux and after a few months of trial, error and learning it became my favorite OS and I still feel that way two years later. I still have Windows (Win 7 – Vista is dead to me) but, honestly, I rarely, if ever boot into it. Windows 7 is a huge improvement over Visa and XP and even though I’ve learned enough over the last couple years to avoid the “20 hours a month cleaning regime”, I still can’t use Windows as my primary OS. With Linux, I simply get to use my computer, not spend hours cleaning it.

    Ron

  81. John Mack

    The downside of Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is it is a heavy consumer of memory. My computer has definitely slowed down. I like the protection but I have to see whether it’s worth the loss of performance.

  82. alex30

    I keep reading that people claim to have cleaned machines using this or that method. Please everyone get real. You will NEVER EVER be 100% sure to have cleaned the machine completly no matter what programme you use. So make a CLEAN disk image and after an infection put that on. When the reformat of your machine is done as part of the process you WILL BE SURE that you have got rid of the infection and it is the ONLY way to be 100% sure you have done so.

  83. Terry Hollett

    My procedure for getting rid of a Fake Anti-Virus Program

    I’ve had to clean out a few computers over the years that had one form or another of this type of infection – here’s my procedure for getting rid of a fake anti-virus program:

    First I start up the computer in Safe Mode with Networking. Restart your computer and keep pressing the F8 key on your keyboard. It’s a bit tricky but when done right you will be taken to a screen that has a menu with a number of options like safe mode, safe mode with networking, safe mode command prompt, and so on.

    Safe mode with networking gives you internet access in safe mode, comes in handy for updating anti-virus and anti-malware programs.

    When presented with the login screen choose the Administrator account. A info box will pop up eventually giving you the option to continue using safe mode or use system restore. Click yes to continue in safe mode. Clicking No will start up the system resore wizard that will allow you to reset your computer to an earlier point but it to may be infected. When ready….

    First lets reset Internet Explorer – works only with version 7 or higher:

    Open up Internet Explorer, click on Tools then Internet Options. When the Internet Options box appears. Click the Advanced tab. Under Reset Internet Explorer settings, click Reset. A box opens up – Then click Reset again. When Internet Explorer finishes resetting the settings, click Close then close again. Restart Internet Explorer. Then ….

    Download theses 2 programs. I have them burned on CD and just copy them over in safe mode.

    1.) RemoveFakeAntivirus
    2.) Malwarebytes

    Before doing any scan I like to delete all Temp and cache files. I usually like to use a program called CCleaner to do this.

    Of course you can just click on Start then run and type in cleanmgr – in Vista, just click on Start then type cleanmgr in the search menu. This will start Windows built in disk cleaner. I like to check all options except to compress old files. Then click on OK

    I just don’t like wasting the time it takes for any scanner to check hundreds even thousands of garbage files. Then on to the scanning.

    I like to use RemoveFakeAntivirus first. Just open the program and click on Start. After it’s finished it will request you to restart. Don’t! Not Yet! Then Install, Update and Run Malwarebytes. Do a Fullscan rather than a quick one.

    I also like to take notice of the name of the fake program and do some research online to find out make sure all associated files are removed.

    Before starting up, one more thing, checking out what’s running and starting up using a program called HijackThis.

    HijackThis requires a bit of knowledge and understanding to use. It doesn’t automatically delete anything but shows you just about everything that is running on your computer giving you the option to manually delete anything you don’t want running.

    Then I would restart the computer normally and do another scan with a program called SUPERAntiSpyware – again update and do a deep or full scan.

    The people who write this Fake Crap are always trying to find ways to work around your security programs. So in the future this may not be enough, but for now…

  84. dennyhalim.com

    prevention:
    * always login as limited user account (non-admin)
    * download only from trusted sites (filehippo.com)
    * never use msie, msoe, ym, live. use alternative apps.
    * use noscript firefox addon and only allow script on trusted sites.
    * opendns.org

    cleaning:
    * disable system restore
    * remove all temp folders, recycled and system restore folder
    * scan using updated antivirus. preferably from linux (livecd)

    more on these topics, see my wiki.dennyhalim.com

  85. Cambridge Computer Repair

    Malwarebytes is designed to run in Normal mode, not Safe Mode

  86. MadMan

    To those who have commented on switching OS, grow up. We all have our OS of choice, and all of them have their own lovely vulnerabilities to specific virii, worms, and trojans. The goal here is to share information and tips on removal and possibly a dash of prevention. That being said…

    1) If you got infected, it is time to re-evaluate the effectiveness of your security software. Prevention is by far the best way to go. The best setups make it difficult to even intentionally become infected. “Half a pound of cure is surely worth half an ounce of cure prevention.”

    2) Determine the nature of the infection and the value of the uptime of the system involved. In most cases, DO NOT reboot the system. The most common trojan horse infections use reboots to further damage the OS. If you cannot take the system offline, the next thing to try is to install one of many programs for removal. From personal experience, Spybot combined with a fast on-access/on-close scanning AV works very well. This allows Spybot to do some of the detection work for the AV while handling its own scanning/removal process. Be sure to use the advanced section of Spybot to check for browser plugins/BHOs and take extra care to watch for entries that repopulate. Also use Spybot to check the system startup entries and watch for repopulation as well.

    3) If uptime is not critical, pull the plug of the infected system. The chance of damage from sudden power loss is typically much less than the damage that many infections can cause over a short period of time. At this point, your best chance of removal is to hook the HDD from the infected system to a clean system for offline scanning with an AV. Alternately, you can use a live bootable disc to do the scanning, but I prefer a running system as the AV is more likely to be more up to date.

    4) In all steps, it is critical to remember that time is important! You want the infected system to be running as little as possible. There are many trojan horses which can do massive levels of damage to the OS within seconds. (I saw one case where the person got infected, saw it happen, pulled the plug in under 10 seconds, and the damage to the OS was enough that the system was non-bootable upon cleaning) Also, keep in mind that there are many cases when removal of infection will render the system non-bootable. In these cases, backup of data and full clean install is best. I have attempted many methods of repair install and upgrade install, but they are ineffective in most cases.

    5) Google is your friend! There are many cases, especially with zero-day or near zero-day infections, in which the infection on a live system “morphs,” creating new files on the fly with different file attributes and often in different locations. Use google to look up the infection, take note of the major files. Watch for patterns. We’re getting into the tougher stuff now. Now is when you will use Spybot’s process list to find the infected files. They’ll be running under another process as a module. Hope and pray that they are running as an explorer.exe module, or a simpler process. In every case that I have seen in which the module is running under a process such as winlogon or lsass (logon and security-based processes), the damage is already done. In these cases, cleaning invariably renders the system non-bootable. These are the particular situations where you need to re-evaluate your current security posture.

    6) Don’t forget the forums. There are tons of forum sites out there aimed at helping those with problems. Ask for help, you might just get the tidbit of information you need. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends online either.

    7) If you are using Norton or McAfee-based security systems, expect that the infection will severely damage the OS. These products are known to have issues with removing critical syste files that become infected instead of preventing infection or cleaning it. Consequently, the system usually can’t boot without those key files.

    8) My personal security combination: Spybot, Spywareblaster, MS Security Essentials, AVG free, Pest Patrol (old version from when it was still from Pest Patrol Corp.). With this combination, I have tried to intentionally infect my system with no success. As long as everything stays up to date and nothing gets manually turned off, the worst you can do is install filesharing apps (which pest patrol will promptly rip the guts out of during its next scan).

    9) Final note for those who hate Windows…get used to it. The numbers don’t lie. Windows ~ 90%+ global marketshare. Mac (including iphone) ~ 10%- global marketshare. Linux ~ 2%- global marketshare. These figures vary slightly depending on the report you look up, but generally remain very close to this. So, Windows is a fact of life. That being said, use what works for you. Everyone likes things different. I use a combination of Windows and Linux in various boot combinations on multiple systems and with multiple versions of each OS. I switch machines based on need and want. I also use a LOT of VM’s.

  87. Andyboy

    Boot into Safe Mode, run rKill, run Malwarebytes, reboot. Done and done.

  88. John Mack

    I have a question for “HowToGeek”

    Does Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) have its own error reporting service to Microsoft separate from the operating system’s error reporting service? The reason I ask is I got a dialog box I’ve never seen before asking me if I wanted to send some error reports to Microsoft. It gave several options including never sending error reports but like I said I’ve never seen this particular dialog box before.

    Just curious.

  89. John Mack

    Update:

    The Win XP computer I was running MSE on had error reporting disabled but I had selected being NOTIFIED of critical errors. I’m sure the dialog box I saw is different than the normal Win XP error dialog box. Also, the error dialog wanted to send my IP address to Microsoft. Now why would they want that?

    I use MSE on several different computers, one of them has an always on broadband connection. The computer I saw the error dialog box on requires a manual connection to the Internet. Obviously, the error reporting service tried to contact Microsoft but couldn’t since I hadn’t dialed in to the Internet. When I was connected, something (MSE?) sensed I was connected and then asked to send an error report.

    I couldn’t find anything in MSE that allows for the setting of error reports.

    Puzzling.

  90. Strider

    Disable System Restore, Autoruns, Process Explorer and Combofix.

    Done, done & done. Of course theres a bit of a learning curve for the middle two… :) But if you learn those, you’re set.

    Oh, and then install Antivir for protection.

  91. Strider

    Sorry, that should have read: “Disable System Restore then use Autoruns, Process Explorer and Combofix.”

  92. Anh Tuan

    As I go through the replies to this topic all I see is people telling others to switch OS, use their common sense and the likes. I see it that most of the replies are just personal bias towards this and that and they aren’t really helpful, but of course there are also many helpful replies. Anyways, lets put all that aside, and get to the main topic.

    I would like to give my share of info as to how to prevent viruses and the likes:
    1 – It doesn’t really matter what web browser you use to surf the internet, but you should remember to use pop-up block and ad-block for your web browser.
    2 – Use add-on WOT (web of trust) (available for IE, Firefox, Chrome). This add-on gives page ranking and security level of websites when googling and visiting a website.
    3 – For those who have high-end CPU (duo core; quad core), you can use a virtual environment such as sandboxie when surfing the internet.
    4 – Always use an Anti-Virus and Firewall.
    Recommendations for live protection:
    a – AVG
    b – Avast
    c – Microsoft Security Essentials
    d – Comodo
    e – PC Tools
    f – Outpost
    g – Kaspersky
    h – Eset NOD32
    Recommendation for sub-protection:
    a – Malwarebyte’s
    b – Super Anti-Spyware
    c – Ad – aware
    d – A Squared
    e – TrendMicro Hijack This
    f – Spybot
    g – Win Patrol
    h – Spyware Terminator
    5 – Never download anything from an untrusted website.

  93. EddieA

    I have had two computers that I worked on with this pain in the neck worm, virus or whatever you want to call it. I attacked each with SUPERAntiSpyware, Malwarebyte’s ,Microsoft Security Essentials and AVG 9.0 One computer came back after a reboot with a blue screen and the seconded locked me out of all user accounts. I finally just dban the disk and reloaded the machines ,, It was a lot easier than wasting time for me. Each one of the computers had outdated anti-virus software on it and each one looked for free stuff and pulled down rogue anti-virus software. I was lucky with both of these computers cause they had backups beefore they got infected.

  94. John Mack

    When you download a file from the internet, Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) scans it for viruses. Just based on my brief experience, I can say already that you can’t rely on this initial scan. Whatever you download, you should upload to VirusTotal for a scan.

    Also, the Quick Scan feature of MSE, while quick, is very incomplete and a serious virus can escape its detection. You’ll have to perform a full scan if you want to be confident there are in fact no viruses on your system. On my machine, a full scan took an hour.

  95. Dave

    Seventy Five percent of people that bring me infected computers have a trial version of Mcafee or Norton that came preinstalled on their machines. The trial versions are good for 60 or 90 days, so when someone brings in a Dell they got in 2005, that loaded with junk from Limewire and they ask me, “how did I get this virus?”, I have to bite my lip and try to be real nice and explan that if your AV software hasn’t updated in 3 1/2 years, you are going to get malware.

    Also, For all you folks out there that have a Dell Dimension or an eMachine or other computer with a Bestec 250W or 300W Power Supply. Your Bestec Power Supply is going to die soon, and it going to take your MB and CPU with it. Go find a good after market PSU on line $25 to $50 with at least 120MM fan, before it’s too late.

  96. Kalle

    I use:
    Microsoft Security Essentials
    SuperAntiSpyware
    Malwarebytes’ AntiMalware
    MRT

  97. John Mack

    MSE requires more than 1 GB of RAM otherwise it slows down your system noticeably. MSE is only really useful when it performs a full scan otherwise it’s not much protection. Quick scan won’t necessarily find viruses and the scanning of downloaded files is ineffective (I suggest uploading any file downloaded to Virustotal). In my opinion MSE is not customizable enough. For example, I would like to run MSE’s full scan occasionally but otherwise have it not running. Microsoft won’t let you do that. You can turn off the monitoring of your system, but MSE will still be running in the background. If you use Task Manager to stop MSE, it will after a minute or 2 reload itself and start running again. In this case, I’ve used a commercial task manager to prevent MSE from relaunching itself. That is the only way to keep MSE installed on your system without it running itself. Otherwise, you have to completely uninstall it.

    I hope “How-to-Geek” has enough independence from Microsoft to publish this post.

  98. Vineet

    Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware + Spybot – Search & Destroy + ESET Smart Security + Superspyware
    but still malware found its way sumhow:\
    bt now m runng all f d progrms at d same time to avoid any more malwares:)

  99. calebstein

    Actually, FreeBSD instead of ArchLinux

  100. adam

    i use firefox +hostfiles +bootable live cd

  101. Whitey

    Don’t be stupid with what you download. Always keep UAC on if you’re running Windows, and keep a good firewall with a very good custom policy running at all times. That way if you get a keylogger it can’t send your shit back home. COMODO is a very good firewall that I personally use.

  102. Bob

    Don’t use Windows all the time, do one of the following:
    1. Install a Linux distro (I recommend Linux Mint. Ubuntu if not possible for some reason) and install WINE, and then install your Windows programs. If (some of) your Windows programs don’t work, install Sun VirtualBox, install Windows inside it. Now you can use Linux which has no/very few viruses ‘in the wild’ and you can use your Windows programs as well! (Be sure to try out all of your hardware in the live CD, though, just burn the iso and boot it up. ;) )
    2. Do a dual-boot between Linux and Windows. One (Linux) is for surfing the internet and the other (Windows) is for using your Windows programs.
    3. Use a Mac (although the prices are too expensive, you still get a lot of benefits)
    4. Stop using computers! (Highly not recommended lol :D )

  103. eko haryanto

    Avira Antivir Personal 10 + Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware + Spybot – Search & Destroy = THE BEST SECURITY FOR YOUR PC

  104. Tyler

    I usually boot into safe mode, install malware bytes and super anti spyware and copy rkill into the startup folder. Then reboot and scan away (one program at a time). I’ve always found that running the actual scan in safe mode takes quite a bit longer than just a normal boot. Rkill does a great job at stopping those fake antivirus programs from disturbing your virus scan.

  105. Billy

    I have for the last year used a combo of AVG 9.0 Pro and Malwarebytes AntiMalware. I have not had a single problem other then with AVG mail plugin for Outlook causing Outlook to crash about 25% of the time. I recently switched to Avast Pro 5 and now Outlook works flawless….. Hope the software does too as I never would have switched had the AVG not caused problems with Outlook 2007.

  106. Billy

    I also use Ad Block Plus with Firefox. I do not use IE as Firefox blows it away. Anyhow, Avast Pro, Malwarebytes AntiMalware, firefox with AdBlock Plus and I’m in pretty good shape. I also keep SuperAntiSpyware on for an occasional scan.

  107. Judy

    Malwarebytes is awesome! I have successfully removed rogue anti virus programs from at least 5 different computers this past month alone, all running different AV programs. I recently switched to Microsoft Security Essentials on 2 of my computers at home and highly recommend it. I have been installing it on all my friends computers when I work on them, and all are very satisfied.

  108. kibox

    people, i do bussines. make money of this, my tool is “Hitman Pro”.
    ps, it work only on infected machines.

  109. Tony

    I HAVE HAD BOTH OF THESE VIRUSES. FIRST ONE WAS THE INTERNET SECURITY 2010. FORTUNETELY I HAD TO REINSTALL EVERYTHING BECAUSE ONCE YOU SHUT DOWN YOUR COMPUTER YOU CANNOT COME BACK ON. U HAVE TO REFORMAT YOUR HARD DRIVE AND START ALL OVER. NOW SINCE THEN I LEARNED MY LESSON AND WHEN I GOT THE OTHER VIRUS…ADVANCE VIRUS REMOVER….(AV SECURITY) IT WAS EASY TO GET RID OF! I LEARNED BY MY OWN COMMON SENSE NOT TO SIGN UP FOR VIRUS PROGRAMS BUT THIS…….1. GO TO AND PRESS YOUR START BUTTON ON BOTTOM OF SCREEN AND GO TO AND ENTER “RUN”. TYPE “MSCONFIG” GO INTO STARTUP AND DESELECT ALL THOSE PROGRAMS YOU ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH AND THEN SOME. TRUST ME YOU WILL SPOT THEM. ALL THE WHILE I AM DOING THIS I AM IGNORING ALL THE MESSAGES THAT THE VIRUS IS PUTTING ON THE SCREEN OR JUST TELLING IT TO ALLOW ME ACCESS TO MSCONFIG. AFTER ALL THIS UNHOOK YOUR INTERNET LINE FROM MODEM AND SHUT OFF COMPUTER. REBOOT NO PROBLEM AND WITHOUT ANY VIRUS MESSAGE AGAIN. BUT I DID A COMPLETE CHECK OF MY SYSTEM AFTERWORDS WITH MICROSOFT ESSENTIALS AND FOUND ALL INFECTIONS AND IRRADICATED THEM. MY COMPUTER IS FINE NOW. I HAVE WINDOWS XP…..THERE ARE ALWAYS EASIER WAYS TO DO THINGS

  110. KRIS

    I USE ADBLOCK PLUS, THREATFIRE, SUPER ANTISPYWARE, SPYWARE BLASTER AND FORTICLEANT. FORTICLIENT IS ONE OF THE BEST INTERNET SECURITY SOFTWARE. CHECK IT OUT http://www.fortinet.com/products/endpoint/

  111. Alexander

    It’s pretty easy to not pick up a bug. You could do a little system hardening if you like. For example don’t operate in a administrative account. But that’s no fun. You could use Comodo Internet Security and be nearly 100% safe, but the HIPS part might bug you. You could do everything inside a sandbox, either with Sandboxie or something like ShadowDefender or Returnil. But who wants to worry about moving the stuff you want to keep out of the sandbox? You could always scan regularly with products like MBAM and SAS, which isn’t too much trouble. But you want real-time prevention/protection. Popular paid options are Norton and KIS but you should be able to protect yourself for free. Gizmo’s freeware site has a huge list of free security software you can browse. It’s fun to see what’s out there.

    But what do I use? Do I pair up a AV with something like Threatfire or Immunet? Nope. I just use Avast. It’s quiet, only tells me when I’ve got a bug. Doesn’t squak when it needs to update, does that on its own. It has layers so I don’t have to layer things up myself. It’s a great free AV. My firewall is a little more hands-on; Comodo. Mostly makes noise on outbound connections. And I do any dangerous internet surfing that I might want to do inside of Sandboxie. I also use Noscript in my everyday browser just in case. So Avast, Comodo, Sandboxie for dangerous stuff, and noscript if I stumble into something bad. All removable media gets scanned by Avast so I don’t have to worry too much about where my Flash Drive has been.

    And of course the cure-all is to backup everything. If you get some malware on your system then either restore from a clean image or re-install Windows. But that’s not the best option because the silent malware might be sneaky and snag some passwords, so it’s best not to get malware in the first place. Speaking of passwords, LastPass is just the ticket for paranoid people who want their passwords secure but also want accessibility. I used to toss all my passwords as a text file into a TrueCrypt volume but LastPass integrates with nearly everything and it also operates as a off-site backup.

  112. sam presley

    My way to prevent infections that stick does work out just perfect.

    1) Purchase and install Shadow Defender
    2) install avast 5 (free version)
    3) tell shadow defender to allow to write to real os on real drive c:\ for avast 5 (free)
    4) set up your pc to use opendns dns server ip #’s for faster dns doings.
    5) at this point if your avast 5 misses detecting a virus and your shadow defendere protected system gets infected then you can just simply reboot your pc and the nasty infection will be totally removed.

    Shadow Defender has saved my bacon a few times since it uses a copy of the os from a file instead of from the real os on real drive c:\

    might sound like a lame waste of time to do it this way but it seems to work for me and hasnt caused any problems except for the occassional slowdown of the compaq deskpro en 866 mhz p3 computer due to shadow defender but on a p4 chip running at 1ghz or higher then you wont see any slowdowns with shadow defender.

    im quite happy for the time being running shadow defender on this old pc untill i get my new one which will have 1 gig ram and windows 7 and p4 core cue 2 cpu running at 1.75 ghz. Ill probably throw shadow defender on their as well since it does work under windows 7.

    my way totally doesnt prevent messups of the copy of the os from mistakes you make or programs you install and whatnot but everything that you dont tell shadow defender to perm write to original c:\ with original windows os on it will be wiped out when you power off and or reboot your pc…

    including viruses and trojans if any present on your system will be perm wiped out as well from the copy of the os.. just remember it is also suggested to have your fav av installed so that it can detect any masties trying to write to the copy of the os so you dont have to reboot and if your av does detect a infection then for a test you can have your fav av not remove it and plainly reboot your pc then rescan and youll see the infection doesnt exist anymore…

    hope this helps you all out there… and yes it has made using windows a much better experience…

  113. Rob

    Malware bytes clean temp files 1st no sense scaning them if ya dont need em then install avast.I like avast because its lightwieght and also has the boot scan option for 32 bit systems.

  114. Jeeva

    It’s best 4 home made PC, If u switch to Ubuntu or Kubuntu – Itz very flexible 2 avoid lot program running on ur m/c.

  115. Andrew

    1. Boot into safemode.
    2. Run GMER to stop rootkits.
    3. Kill any processes that don’t belong.
    4. Remove any startup processes that don’t belong.
    5. After researching each process that you killed, proceed to delete the file of the process.
    6. SOMETIMES I will run a Malwarebytes scan to fix all of the registry leftovers.

    If you have to rely on an antivirus program to protect your computer, you are just a sitting duck. I have been a blackhat for a while now and know how to create viruses that aren’t in you AVs signature DB yet. Of course, they will be added some day. For now, I am free to roam through all of your files.

    Basically, learn your OS like the back of your hand. Treat it like a life. If it gets sick, FIX IT.

  116. chris

    i dont like the mentality of the linux people. its great for some things, just like windows is great for some things.

  117. GTecH

    Best free security pack according to me :

    1. Avast ! antivirus 6 : Avast really contains awesome features just try it guys and best thing i like about it is that there is no change in perfomance of my pc after installing this antivirus and there’s no falsedetect .

    2. Private Firewall 7 : A simple free firewall for a average user for protecting his or her system from unauthorised access of a program via internet which may cause system failure or identical theft.

    3. Malwarebytes : A free malware , spyware and all these kind of stuffs removing program it can remove any kind of threat which cannot be removed by any other antivirus program .

  118. Mike

    If you are trying to clean an already infected system and do not want to lose everything you have a few choices. Most likely the malware will try to block you installing a solution so cleaning is the order of the day.
    For cleaning a windows machine first try Microsoft’s newest option, System Sweeper https://connect.microsoft.com/systemsweeper
    If that doesn’t work then download and burn a copy of Ubuntu live CD. It has a virus scanner on it. Boot from it, do not install. Update the virus signature file and scan and clean the drive with that.
    While I use Linux on most of our home systems Windows is still useful, (kids play Sims) so Linux is not the end all some people would like to think it is. It’s a tool and being realistic I am one Linux and FOSS developer that doesn’t want to make the whole world run Linux, besides if everyone ran Linux we would have to make a new more geeky OS to prove we are superior wouldn’t we?

  119. dcanada34

    I use Bitdefender total security 2011 (one of the best security suites on the market) I keep this up to date and i manually scan regulary. I also use what microsoft gave us with disk defragmenter and cookie removal to help improve speed. I use malaware bytes for malaware and super anit spyware for added spyware protection. These two programs are free from c-net.com. Along with scanning your hard drive for errors your machine should run at optimal speeds with little cost.

  120. Xynar

    All of this Linux, Mac and Windows fighting is pointless. Primarily, the operating system isn’t targeted for infection. Your other applications are the target. Flash, Java, Acrobat Reader, Quicktime, etc are more of the problem areas than your web browser or operating system. Net vagrants target vulnerabilities in those secondary “required” programs in order to bypass anti-virus protection. So let’s get back on track.

    It is always best to clean an infected computer hard drive with a known clean computer (virtual or physical). I find that Microsoft Security Essentials is a good starting point and they now have a LiveCD version (still beta) specifically for cleaning infected systems. Then I run Malwarebytes to get the other pieces that MSE missed.

    After the drive has been returned home and boots, I run Super Anti-Spyware portable in the infected profile just to make sure files are cleaned out that were locked or inaccessible.

  121. Hisa

    @Xynar
    Well said.

    @Everyone Else
    Linux and Macs are just as vulnerable to infection as Windows. The difference is, Windows is more popular so it is targeted more often (LOTS more often). Incase you haven’t noticed, the makers of Linux and Macs recommend using antivirus software on their machines as well. It is only a matter of time before the hackers expand their operations to hit Linux and Mac machines they way they hit Windows machines.

    And before we get all crazy, I use Ubuntu at home. And yes, I have ClamAV installed on it and run it. And no, I have never gotten a virus on my Linux machine, but then again, I had an XP laptop, had a Vista laptop, and currently have a 7 laptop, and none of those machines ever got infected either. I run Comodo on Windows machines fyi.

    For infected machines, to be back on topic, I use Comodo, SuperAntiSpyware, Malwarebytes, and Sophos Anti-rootkit. I have never come across anything that any one of those couldn’t take care of. For infections that prevent the installation of AV programs, I use a live disc or give the owner flowers ^^

  122. joe bob

    You shouldnt even have a virus on your system anyway thats why you PAY for an anti virus system and then find it dosent work. and you end up paying 50 $ for somthing that the programme should of got rid of in the first place

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