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How to eliminate a virus

By Patrick Stafford
Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Tech TricksIt’s a computer user’s worst nightmare – you click on a harmless-looking link that actually turns out to be malware that completely crashes your machine.


Viruses are everywhere these days and you need to remain vigilant. But if you happen to get a computer virus, there are a few general steps you can take.


Firstly, don’t attempt to do anything complicated if you aren’t an experienced computer user. Don’t change the registry on a Windows machine, don’t delete any files in the Windows folder and definitely don’t attempt a format of the hard drive without backing up your data. There are easier steps to take.


First, try and run some anti-virus programs, such as AVG. Other regularly updated programs such as SpyBot are good for getting rid of harder-to-find viruses, and Malwarebytes is also a good, free alternative. You should probably run all three of these programs, in case one misses a bug.


You should also attempt to clean your hard drive with a program such as CCleaner.


Many times you can often call the manufacturer of your operating system – particularly Microsoft which has a dedicated help line – and staff will be able to help you delete any nasty pieces of software.


Once you’ve done these, restart your computer and see if the virus has been eliminated. In many cases, the bugs will be so simply that these free programs will get rid of them.


However, if you are still experiencing problems, make sure you back up your data in at least two separate places – such as two separate external hard drives – and then take your computer to a professional to have it looked at. Better to get some expert advice than attempt a risky repair by yourself.

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