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How to Remove a Computer Virus

Wikipedia's article on scareware



Bleeping Computer - Home Page



A sample uninstall guide



Bleeping Computer Discussion Forums



Bleeping Computer's New User Orientation



Bleeping Computer's Preparation Guide for Use Before Requesting Help



Thomas Computer Services Web Site
There are some nasty computer viruses going around now, known as “scareware” because they give you any number of fake security alerts, and try to get you to pay for the removal of these fake problems.  Further, they hide your files, your desktop picture is erased and you lose control of your computer in the normal sense.  About all you can do with an infected computer is restart and shut down, and go to its My Computer window.  Access to another (uninfected) computer is essential in removing these viruses, and you will need a USB flash drive for transferring and installing downloaded files to the infected computer.  Follow these steps to get rid of the problem:

• First of all, DON'T GIVE ANYONE CONNECTED WITH THIS VIRUS YOUR CREDIT CARD NUMBER, and don't even think about paying them as they suggest.  Instead, make a note of the name of the virus program as it presents itself on your screen.  It will be something like “Windows XP Recovery,” or “Security Central.”

• With your uninfected computer, browse to bleepingcomputer.com.  Bleeping is a community devoted to helping beginning and average computer users with popups, spyware, scareware and other malware infecting their computers.  Guides are provided for specific virus programs, and if the guide fails or if you have issues following it, you can get help in the form of individual instruction from a bleeping volunteer.

• At bleeping, use their search function to do a search for the name of the virus.  If a guide exists, read it carefully and fully, and then follow it.  It will have you download some free programs.  At the very least, you will need the latest version of a free anti-spyware program called Malwarebytes to get rid of the virus, and a little program called Unhide to make your files visible again.  These were all I needed for the three such viruses I've encountered this spring.

• If there's no guide, you will need to read and follow their “Preparation Guide for Use Before Using Malware Removal Tools and Requesting Help.”  It will have you download some programs that catalog all the files in certain folders in the infected computer, and then produce logs of those catalogs.  Next, browse back to bleeping and click the Spyware Removal tab on their web site, and read down to where it says, “Have a computer problem and would like to ask us for help?  To learn how to ask your question, click here.”  Read that guide.  It contains links to the cataloguing programs and complete instructions for posting the logs in a new thread in one of bleeping's public forums.  Within a few days, a volunteer will respond to the thread and begin to lead you through the removal process.

Among the links at the left is one that points to the Wikipedia article on scareware, and another that points to the public forums so you can read accounts of bleeping's volunteers helping folks.
June 11, 2011

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