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PC Security: Removing a Virus

No matter how secure your system is, or how careful you are, you may still get a computer virus. Once you have a virus of any type, it must be removed, and removing a virus isn't always very easy. 

Some viruses are basically harmless, and mostly just irritating. They may deliver a silly message, and then quietly go away on their own. Unfortunately, most viruses do not behave so mildly, and will destroy files and even operating systems.

In some cases, virus removal is easy. Your anti-virus software can easily do it for you once it detects a virus. The tricky part is to make sure that your virus definition file is always up to date, and that the program is constantly running. Of course, this prevents viruses, along with not opening email attachments from people that you do not know.

However, some newer viruses can still get through, because virus definitions have not yet been written for them. If you think you have a virus, the first thing you want to do is to make absolutely sure that you have a virus, and identify it.

Start by using the Internet to search for information concerning the newest viruses. If you have not yet fully determined that you have a virus, or if you have, but do not know which virus you have, you may have to read the symptoms of the newest viruses to see if these are the symptoms your system has.

Once you've found similar symptoms, you can search the files and folders on your system to look for the file name of the virus in question to see if it is there. Make sure that you search the memory, as well as the hard drive.

Once you have identified the virus, and found it on your system, there may be many steps involved to manually remove viruses. The Symantec website usually offers detailed step-by-step instructions for manual virus removal. When you find the instructions, make sure that you print them out!

Most virus software, such as McAfee VirusScan and Norton System Works, will give you the ability to create anti-virus boot disks when you first install it. Make absolutely sure that you do this! If your system becomes unusable due to a virus, you will need these disks. If you don't have them, you can count on doing a complete system restore. If the system is usable, and you are running windows, you can also try to get rid of the virus by doing a system revert to the last known good configuration, although this often does not rid the system of the virus.

When removing files, it is important to know which files to not remove. Removing core system files is a bad thing! If you are running windows, check the Microsoft site for a list of the operating system files for your version of windows. Print this list out or copy it down so that you can be sure to leave these files in place. However, you will need to look at the dates of these files, to make sure that they all match. Often, on an infected system, the kernel32.exe and lsass.exe file dates won't match the other operating system file dates. These two files are common virus targets. If this is the case, you can download the right files (with the right dates) from the operating system's website, or reinstall them from your operating system disk to overwrite the infected files.

Viruses will often corrupt the registry. It is a good idea to install registry cleaning software before you get a virus. However, you can also install software such as registry mechanic, or search for free registry repair software to repair a damaged registry.

If the virus is only affecting a particular program, such as a word processor or email client, simply uninstall that software and reinstall it. This will often wipe the virus out, and makes getting rid of it much easier.

  PC Security: Index
  PC Security: Internet Browsers
  PC Security: Spam
  PC Security: Stopping Spam Part 1
  PC Security: Stopping Spam Part 2
  PC Security: Spam Scams
  PC Security: Email Security and Spam
  PC Security: Email Security
  PC Security: Computer Viruses
  PC Security: Protecting Computers From Viruses
  PC Security: Worm Viruses
  PC Security: Trojan Horse Viruses
  PC Security: Rootkits
  PC Security: Removing a Virus
  PC Security: Virus Hoaxes
  PC Security: Server Viruses
  PC Security: Home Network
  PC Security: Cell Phone Viruses
  PC Security: Spyware
  PC Security: Firewalls Part 1
  PC Security: Firewalls Part 2
  PC Security: Parental Control Software
  PC Security: Malware - Spyware and Adware
  PC Security: Data Backups
  PC Security: Pop Up Windows
  PC Security: Safe Public Computer Use

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