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Recovering from a Spyware or Virus Infection

In my previous post (Preventing Spyware or Virus Infections) I explained how to help protect yourself from virus and spyware infections. If you still do contract a spyware or virus infection, there are a few things you can do to clean up your PC or laptop.

  • Install updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software and fully scan your machine with each. If you don’t already have a working anti-virus software you can download VIPRE Rescue for free. This is a free download which will allow you to run a deep scan on your system and automatically quarantines anything it finds suspicious. For anti-spyware software, I tend to use Malwarebytes these days, but there are many great software titles out there such as: PC Doctor, Spybot S&D, Ad-Aware, and many more.
  • Clean up Windows Startup Process. In many cases infections plant themselves in the Windows startup. Luckily there are a few tools which can make it easy to clean up the Windows startup processes and services.
    For more information see our post titled How to Combat the Feared Blue Screen of Death.
  • Roll Windows back to a previous state. Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 all have the ability to create snapshots of your Windows system state. While this won’t recover a lost Word document you accidently deleted, it may help restore Windows to a point in time where it was functioning properly. For more information see our post titled How to Combat the Feared Blue Screen of Death.
  • Reinstall Windows. Windows and all of its systems have become so complex over the past decade that there are too many places for infections to hide to be sure that any system is completely clean. If you are still in doubt then the only way to be sure you have an absolutely clean PC is to delete your existing disk partitions and reinstall Windows. This is usually a last resort since it is so time consuming to reinstall Windows and all of the software, but if your computer has access to sensitive data, the more cautious route may be warranted.

About the author

Robert Borges

About Robert...

I have been in the IT industry since 1993 focusing mainly in networking. Though I got an early start as an amateur computer enthusiast, and wrote my first database app at age 12, I started my professional career working in the MIS department of one of the largest liquor distributors in the northeast. I started out there as a systems operator on the company’s two mainframe systems. From there I moved into PC support, and help design and implement the company’s first client-server network… This was back in the days of Win NT 3.51. I also worked on my first migration to NT 4.0 back then.

From there I went on to work with Novell 3.x and 4.x along with Windows domains and active directory environments. Working my way up from technician, to specialist, to administrator, and eventually all the way up to Sr. Engineer. I spent many years working for consulting firms, 9 of which I owned and operated my own firm.
Over the years, I have worked with (at an expert level) various versions of: Windows client and server operating systems (including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2);various virtualization technologies (Hyper-V, Virtual Server, Virtual PC, VMware, etc…); MS-SQL server 6.5- 2008 R2; Exchange 4-2010, and much more.

I am now Director of Information Systems at Bay State Integrated Technology focusing on cloud computing and IT service, with expertise in: IT Infrastructure & Architecture, IT Security, and Cloud Computing platforms & technologies (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS).

I am in a constant state of learning about new products, and new versions of products. Many of which we end up implementing in lab environments and sometimes for our clients. I have a pretty broad range of expertise and experience. It is my goal to share some of this experience on this blog to help enrich the IT community.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2012/05/it-security/recovering-from-a-spyware-or-virus-infection/

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