"I Have a Virus - Now What?"
How to Remove a Computer Virus

Your computer is acting strangely, and you suspect you may be dealing with a virus. You know this could be damaging for your data, and for the system as a whole. You want to act quickly to eliminate the issue, but you're not sure where to begin. Start with a good anti-virus program and remember:


    1. Stay Calm - Don't Overreact
      In many cases, a computer users overreaction to a virus can lead to damage that far exceeds what the virus would have done if left to its own devices. In other words, don't panic. A virus is - generally speaking - quite simple to isolate and remove. It's usually not necessary to reformat the entire computer; a drastic step many are tempted to pursue. Not only is this time consuming, you are also putting your non-infected data at risk of being lost.


    2. Locate and Isolate the Virus
      Unless you are knowledgeable enough to be able to distinguish viruses from other types of hardware or software problems, an antivirus software scanner should have detected the virus for you. Once it has done so, be sure to write down the exact name of the virus, as different viruses have different removal methods.

      If your scanner detects either a "Bloodhound" or "Eicar" virus, you can safely delete these, as they are actually not computer viruses. Instead they are files installed by your antivirus software to ensure it's functioning properly.


    3. Remove the Virus
      If possible, viruses should be deleted upon detection - particularly if they are attached to an executable (.exe) file. If the file is one you need and do not have backed up, it is possible to disinfect the file, although this does not always work and could negatively affect your computer.


    4. Double-Check Your Work Is Done
      It's not enough to simply assume you have eliminated the virus. Instead, it's necessary to have your antivirus software rescan your computer. In fact, it is recommended you have two (up-to-date) antivirus programs run scans on your computer, as they are known at times to find viruses the other one doesn't.

Of course, the best and most reliable method of ensuring your computer is rid of viruses is taking preventative measures - most important of which is always practicing safe computing.


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