Updated : Feb 12, 2020 in Write for us

How to Remove Malware from Your Computer

Malware has become pretty common nowadays. And even though it can cause some severe damage, if caught in time, it is pretty easy to remove. Malware, in general, is a malicious type of software that runs in the background and has a task to collect user data. There are many different forms of malware, including:

  • Trojans
  • Ransomware
  • Adware
  • Spyware
  • Worms
  • Viruses

Some are less serious than others, but nonetheless, you should remove them as soon as possible. 

Adware, for example, is a less dangerous form of malware. It has the purpose of forcing different ads on you. Ransomware, on the other hand, is a much more severe threat. It can hijack your files, or forbid access to the computer until you pay a ransom. 

How do you know whether your computer has been infected? Let’s find out.

Has Your Computer Been infected?

If you aren’t careful when opening email links and attachments, don’t use a VPN, an antivirus, or a combination of both, the chances are that there’s malware on your computer. But every computer shows some symptoms when infected, including the following:

  • A computer is acting slow and sluggish
  • Random pop-ups appear out of thin air
  • It crashes more often
  • The homepage looks different
  • You get frequent error messages
  • Suspicious icons appear on your desktop
  • The computer gets overheated easily
  • You notice a program that you can’t uninstall for some reason

As soon as you notice any of these signs, don’t ignore them. Even though it can seem pretty harmless, you’re never fully aware of the actions that are happening in the background. Sometimes, also when using antivirus, the computer can still get infected. Not all antiviruses can detect all sorts of malware. 

Don’t worry, though; it can take only 10-15 minutes to fix it. Follow the guide below to learn how to remove malware from your computer. 

How to Remove Malware From Your PC

Below you’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to remove malware from both Mac and Windows computers.

macOS

Step 1: Download preferred antivirus software and disconnect from the internet.

Step 2: Enter safe mode. You can do that by restarting your Mac, and once the loading page appears, press and hold the Shift key. Once done, you will see the Apple logo. 

Step 3: Release the Shift key once the login window appears.

Step 4: Don’t type in any passwords unless necessary. Many types of malware come with keylogging features, which trace what the user types. It is a standard method of stealing sensitive information.

Step 5: Run a malware scanner. If you already had an antivirus solution prior to this step, then use another antivirus to perform the scan. Your current solution is likely unable to detect this type of malware.

Step 6: Next, check your browser. Malware tends to infect the homepage, so the user would get re-infected, even if they had removed the malware before.

Step 7: Lastly, clear your cache:

  • If you’re using Chrome, then go to History > Clear Browsing Data > Time Range > All time > Clear Data
  • If you’re using Safari, then go to Preferences >Privacy >Manage Website Data > Remove all.

Windows

Step 1: Download preferred antivirus software and disconnect from the internet.

Step 2: Enter safe mode. You can do that by restarting your PC, and once the sign-in page appears, press and hold the Shift key. Select Power > Restart.

Step 3: Once done, you will see the “Choose an option” page. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings. Then, press the restart button.

Step 4: A menu will appear with different enumerated options. Select option 4 or press F4 and your PC will start running in Safe Mode.

Step 5: Don’t type in any passwords unless necessary. Many types of malware come with keylogging features, which trace what the user types. It is a standard method of stealing sensitive information.

Step 6: Run a malware scanner. If you already had an antivirus solution prior to this step, then use another antivirus to perform the scan. Your current solution is likely unable to detect this type of malware.

Step 7: Next, check your browser. Malware tends to infect the homepage, so the user would get re-infected, even if they had removed the malware before.

Step 8: Finally, clear your cache:

  • If you’re using Chrome, then go to History > Clear Browsing Data > Time Range > All time > Clear Data.
  • If you’re using Internet Explorer, then go to Tools > Safety > Delete Browsing History.

What’s Next?

If the steps above don’t help, you can try the steps again with yet another antivirus or antimalware software. If that doesn’t help either, and you’re 100% sure you have malware on your PC, it may be time to ask for professional help.

Once the computer is free of malware, make sure to adopt good cybersecurity habits to prevent it from infecting your devices again:

  • Invest in a premium VPN service to protect your connections to the internet.
  • Don’t cheap out on antivirus software — only the best ones will catch all malware before it gets out of hand.
  • Be careful when opening links and downloading files — you can never know whether they contain malware.
  • Always update your apps and operating system — you may be missing out on critical security patches otherwise.

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