Spyware/Viruses: Detection and Removal

It is often important to detect and remove spyware and virus programs as soon as possible, but this is not always the case; anti-virus scanners can only remove those that it can find, so if your anti-virus program (if you have one) does not have updated virus detection files, you might as well not have an antivirus. New ones and variants of old viruses come out many times a month, and so updating your anti-virus is definitely a must. However, sometimes even an updated anti-virus program will not do, and you will continue to have an infected computer after several attempts of cleaning it, or the antivirus is not capable of removing a virus it has detected. "What do you do?" you might ask - well, there are many things that may purtain to this situation you are now in.

  • If you know the location and name of the virus in question, first, try your anti-virus program, and check on the internet to make sure your anti-virus program will actually remove it entirely. Google is a good search engine for getting information about computer viruses, how to remove them, and other information. You usually can get whatever you need to know about it in short order. If either you are unable find enough information to remove it, or dont know how to do what they are suggesting to do, either look somewhere else for an application that will automatically remove it (get it from a LEGITIMATE source, so you know this application isnt infact a virus itself!), or you can try to locate the files yourself and delete them or whatever.

  • If you know the date and approximate time the virus got into your computer, perhaps you can run a file search on your computer, an advanced search in and version of Windows 9x/NT/2K/XP, Mac, etc. will usually be able to let you pinpoint where the virus has taken up residence on your computer.

  • Many simpler to remove viruses these days involve many components, they might have links in your registry to load the virus on startup, they may be set to run as a windows service in Win XP/2K, they may exist in a new directory named similar to a system directory, they may exist as .exe files in your C:\ or its "System32" folder, it may be simply stored in your temp files in your user settings, e.g. in Win XP/2K, in C :\Documents and Settings\(username)\Local Settings\Temp directory, or other similar directories. Many viruses will do these things, usually all of them, and if you miss so much as one of them when trying to remove they will come back the next time you start windows.

  • ***If you have Windows 2K/XP which use System Restore, if System Restore has made a savepoint at a date when your computer was infected, the virus might be backed up in this savepoint, so if you try using System Restore to undo some major changes a virus may have done to your system, the virus will still be there. Anti-virus scanners do not have permission to access the directories these files are stored in, so you have to disable System Restore to prevent this. Often it is a smart move to delete many such savepoints to prevent this from recurring when you run System Restore.

  • If you have a serious virus that is either too hard to remove, or has infected system files that you cannot delete without rendering your computer useless, you might want to call a professional, or let a computer geek you know take a look at it, but make sure they know what they are doing and dont let them do anything they are unsure of as it might screw your computer up worse.

  • Good practise in general is to update your anti-virus every two weeks, scan every two weeks, stay away from suspicious websites, warez sites, porn sites, etc because many of them will make your browser download and run malicious programs that will often download and run viruses on your computer. If you do find a virus, i recommend you look info about it on the internet, it might not be removeable by your anti-virus properly, or your system might even be in great danger if it is extremely dangerous. Taking any chances on such a thing and merely leaving it to the anti-virus and assuming it will clean it up is not good practise in this case.

    Windows Directories many viruses often save in:

    C:\documents and settings\(username)\Local Settings\Application Data
    C:\documents and settings\(username)\Local Settings\Temp
    C:\documents and settings\(username)\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files
    C:\documents and settings\(username)\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\content.ie5 (Hidden Directory!)

    *I may add more information to this site in the future, such as good websites to look up virus related information, but this site is still under construction whenever i get time!

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