Malware penetrates your computer and collects personal data, gains access to programs or networked computers, and prevents your computer from working effectively. There are indications that your computer is infected with malware and actions to detect and remove. In this article, we will show you how to detect and remove malware.
Method 1 of 2: How to detect malware by computer behavior
Step 1. Update your operating system
Updating your system regularly can be tiring, but remember that updates contain important fixes against security vulnerabilities. If you suspect your computer is infected with malware, update your system.
- You can update Windows in the Update & Security section of the Options window.
- To update your macOS system, click System Preferences from the Apple menu, and then click Software Update. In older versions of macOS, the system is updated through the App Store.
Step 2. Observe how many pop-ups you see
If there is malware on the computer, it will open many pop-ups and advertisements. Do not download programs that are advertised in pop-ups. Even if it is an advertisement for antivirus or anti-spyware. Download software from trusted websites.
Step 3. Find new toolbars and icons
If you find unknown toolbars, browser extensions, or icons that you did not install, your computer may be infected with malware.
Step 4. Watch if you are being redirected to unknown web pages
If your browser home page has changed automatically, or if you go to an incomprehensible web page, your computer may be infected with malware.
Step 5. Observe if the computer is running slower than usual
Typically, malware runs in the background, which means it consumes computer resources. If your computer is running slowly even when no applications are running, it might be infected with malware.
Step 6. Check if your antivirus software and firewalls are disabled
Some malware temporarily disables antiviruses and firewalls without your knowledge. Check if your antivirus software and firewall are working.
Step 7. Watch how often your computer freezes
Some malware deletes or damages system or program files that are essential for the stable operation of your computer. If any programs or operating system freezes, runs slowly, or closes abruptly, your computer may be infected with malware.
Step 8. Check if the computer hardware responds to commands
Some malware blocks access to your mouse, printer, and keyboard, and may disable certain features. If you are unable to use standard system functions, your computer may be infected with malware.
Step 9. Watch for strange error messages
Sometimes malware corrupts files, resulting in unusual error messages when you try to run certain programs. Frequent error messages can indicate that your computer is infected with malware.
Step 10. Check if your mailboxes and social media accounts have been hacked
If you notice a letter (in a sweat drawer) or post (on social networks) that you haven't written, your computer may be infected with malware.
Method 2 of 2: How to detect malware with built-in utilities and third-party software
Step 1. Do not enter passwords or personal information on your computer
Many malware can intercept anything that is entered from the keyboard. If you suspect your computer is infected with malware, do not use it to do banking or shopping, or enter passwords or personal information on it.
Step 2. Boot Windows into Safe Mode
To boot Windows 8/10 in Safe Mode, follow these steps:
- Click on "Start" in the lower left corner.
- Click on "Shutdown".
- Hold Shift and click Restart.
- Click "Troubleshoot".
- Click on "Advanced Options".
- Click Restart.
- Press "4" when Windows restarts.
Step 3. Click on "Start"
and enter Disk Cleanup.
The Start menu is in the lower left corner of your screen. The Start menu appears. Enter Disk Cleanup so that it appears in the Start menu.
Step 4. Click Disk Cleanup
Disk Cleanup starts.
If asked to select a drive, select the drive where Windows is installed. This is usually the "C:" drive
Step 5. Check the box
next to "Temporary Internet Files" and "Temporary Files".
These options are found in the Delete the following files box in the Disk Cleanup window.
Step 6. Click on Clean up system files
It's at the bottom of the Disk Cleanup window. This will delete temporary files.
You may be prompted to select a drive. Start with the Windows system drive (C:) and then repeat with other local drives
Step 7. Click on Ok
When the process of deleting temporary Internet files is complete, click OK to close Disk Cleanup.
Step 8. Go to a website where you can download a malware scanner
Such a program will scan your computer and find malicious programs, including those missed by the antivirus installed on your computer.
- Computer security experts recommend installing the following malware detection and removal programs: Malwarebytes, BitDefender, SuperAntiSpyware, and Avast
- Alternatively, you can use the built-in Windows malware removal utility - open the Start menu, type Windows Security, and then click the utility from the menu. Make sure Malware Scan is enabled and then click "Quick Scan".
Step 9. Download a program to find and remove malware
Click the Download or Download (or similar) button on the website to download a program to scan your computer for malware. Now click on the downloaded file (EXE file) in the download folder to install the software. In most cases, an installation wizard window will open - follow the instructions in this window to install the program.
If the infected computer does not have access to the Internet, download the program on another computer, copy it to a USB drive and transfer it to the infected computer
Step 10. Run the malware scanner when you install it
Do this through the Start Menu.
Step 11. Update your malware scan program
Before running a system scan for malware, select the option that will check and install program updates.
Step 12. Run a quick scan of the system with a malware scanner
In most cases, a quick malware scan will take less than 20 minutes. A full scan can take several hours, but such a system scan will be much more thorough.
Step 13. Remove the found malware
If at the end of the scan a window opens with a list of detected malware, select the option that will remove or neutralize them.
If no malware is found, run a full system scan. Remember that it can take at least an hour
Step 14. Restart your computer
Do this when you find and remove malware.
Step 15. Make sure your antivirus is enabled
We recommend that you install and run reliable antivirus software. Scan your computer regularly for viruses and malware.