How To Remove Spyware, Malware or Any Computer Virus?

by Guest Blogger on 2010-03-0729

Would you know how to remove spyware, malware or any computer virus off your machines? Revanche of A Gai Shan Life shares her stories and questions on the matter of keeping one’s computer clean! For more of her delightful anecdotes on life and finances, you can subscribe to her RSS feed.

The pop-ups and virus alerts were off the charts for me yesterday.

When Avast and Microsoft Defender both failed to trace which nervy little bugger was causing Internet Explorer, the bane of my browsing existence, to pop up with nonsense and Failed 404 error pages, I did what any savvy netizen would do: I emailed my young cousin, the family tech geek.

It was a much easier diagnosis than usual. He promptly (for a footloose and fancy free college student) emailed back with his suggestion. The free anti-malware du jour, he said, is found at Malwarebytes, a program that his private college uses in their tech department. I had some trouble initially downloading and running the purportedly free program, but I eventually worked it out and was presented with a list of infections discovered in my computer (most of which I recognized from the invasive IE pop-ups) along with a Paywall to fix them.


Intrepid cousin did a few more evaluations. I then ran the nearly hour-long scan for a thorough check. This time, the program came through with flying colors, finding and repairing all points of infections. We’ve been running a clean ship ever since. I highly recommend the Malware program as an adjunct to your primary virus protections.

remove spyware

What anti-virus tools do you use? Here are a few popular ones:

Some of these products allow for free trials.

How To Remove Spyware, Malware or Any Computer Virus?

The quick and free (but for family favors) service got my wheels turning. I almost always have the benefit of a family or family friend’s expertise when it comes to IT maintenance; the one time I used paid “experts” at the local Best Buy, I sorely regretted the experience.

In short, when it came to having “professionals” work on my computer, I did without my machine for two weeks whilst they “diagnosed” the problem and called me back to the store with a regretful, “We can try running a [insert unintelligible test here] but it’ll cost $200 and then the repair will be extra. Oh, and you’ll lose all your data whether or not we can fix the problem.”

Thanks but no thanks! Here’s what I ended up doing: I took my neglected machine home to find that the Geek Squad had left their mark in the irreparably broken brightness function. Robin managed to salvage the machine AND my data, but we co-existed with eye strain for another three years (always with a touch of resentment that my precious Vaio had been violated).

The late lamented CompUSA was always a decent resource for new parts and somewhat informed advice, but where does one go now for good IT and computer hardware assistance? Other than cultivating your very own Family Geek, do you have a reliable resource for troubleshooting? Would appreciate your thoughts!

As an aside, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for computer downtime. Check out these articles on this subject:

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamel Rose March 7, 2010 at 5:30 pm

For me, I would suggest NoAdware V5.0.

As far as the NoAdware V5.0 review from the users is concerned it is quite good in removing virus from your system. Plus, NoAdware V5.0 is one of the fastest and most effective anti-virus software available in the market

Mr Credit Card March 7, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Aside from just using Windows defender and Avast..the best thing to prevent viruses is not to visit porn sites or any sites which try to put malaware on your computer. Avast will actually alert you to this.

Also, put your files and documents in a second harddrive and your program in another.

back it up with acronis

Have a mirror copy of your program file so when there is a virus, just delete the harddrive and use acronis to get your computer up in no time!

Eric March 7, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Well it’s a common known fact that you should never trust those big company tech support teams. They deal with quantity over quality and rarely give the personal attention your computer would need.

From your article, you tech skills don’t seem very high so it’s a great thing you have someone in the family to rely on. I, myself, am my family and friend’s go-to person for anything (and seemingly everything) computer or technology-related.

Malware Bytes is a must-have program and is widely known in the IT community. I’m not sure why you would have problems downloading and using the program. I have never ran into any problems and it has been my weapon of choice on dozens of computers (until the next excellent program comes along of course!)

Chris March 7, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Not trying to be a smartass, but using Internet Explorer in the first place doesn’t help. 🙂

Try and ditch IE.

basicmoneytips March 8, 2010 at 5:25 am

I have used Spybot Search and Destroy in the past and it seems to do fairly well. I will admit I do not follow software much, so I have never heard of the packages mentioned here, so I will make a note of them. Thanks for the tip.

Golf Versicherung March 8, 2010 at 5:43 am

Thanks for sharing this program! I searched for something like that for quite a long time. You definitely run such kind of check every few weeks.
@Mr Credit Card: maybe those site you mentioned have a higher risk – but in these days you can get infected nearly everywhere. Unfortunately.
And yes – backing up frequently is really a good advice. My dad just lost his whole hard disk data because he didn’t.
Hmmm, should I ask him which sites he visited?! 😉

Credit Girl March 8, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Thanks for the site! It’s cool how they show you every single virus that your computer may have…

Barbara Miller March 9, 2010 at 1:15 am

I haven’t tried this yet but plan to right away. I also posted it to my blog so that my friends can benefit with the easy instructions. Thanks A Gai Shan Life and Digeratilife

Revanche March 9, 2010 at 2:33 pm

@Mr. Credit Card: I promise I haven’t been visiting porn sites, it’s just that I keep up with lots of random news and such and occasionally you click on a bad link. It happens.

@Eric: No, I’ve never been intuitively techy like some friends and family, so I learn what I can and ask for help in any other case. It’s safer that way. I have other family-friendly skills (like PF!) that I can share in exchange. 🙂

I’m pretty sure the problem I had was just a glitch, not a big deal. I included the note about it because if it happens again, I wouldn’t want someone to think they should give up on it.

@Chris: LOL, I hate IE and usually use FF and Chrome. The malware was starting up the IE based pop-ups, that’s how I was certain something was wrong.

@basicmoneytips, @Golf Versicherung, @Credit Girl: Hope it helps!

J Sanderz March 12, 2010 at 6:29 am

I swear by SuperAntispyware and Avast. SuperAntispyware is free and is hard to beat. However if you want real time protection you need to pay $19.99 for a lifetime subscription which is not bad for what you get. I also agree that you should back up your computer at least monthly so that if you do get a virus, you can always restore.

kt March 12, 2010 at 10:42 am

i agree with chris. i think that you should use firefox. ie is really fake

Woody March 14, 2010 at 1:00 am

Hey I like your choice of malware protection. I too use Malwarebytes and find it quite fast and thorough. My story is much like yours execpt I was afforded the luxury of running the program before I noticed any problems. I think I had something like 46 malwares on initial run. There’s another spyware program I like as well called SpyZooka. I find it a little friendlier than MalwareBytes but I think both are great products. I just wonder how these guys make money when they give the product away for free??


The Biz of Life March 15, 2010 at 6:40 am

Running an OS other than Windows will save a lot of time and trouble in this area. I run Linux on my PCs and have never looked back. Malware, spyware, viruses….. have yet to experience them on this platform.

Barbara Marlow March 21, 2010 at 9:23 am

can anyone help….I am trying to UNINSTALL program from my programs. I had two there. One I removed. The other won’t. I am afraid to get this info from the website as I don’t trust it now that I have learned some things.


Silicon Valley Blogger March 21, 2010 at 9:47 am

Hope you get the help you are looking for. But now I’m curious as to what issues you’re having with I actually like what they offer and have gotten a lot of great deals through them! So it would be helpful to hear what you’ve experienced.

Patrick March 26, 2010 at 5:19 am

I always use Kaspersky Internet Security because this software does not slow down your computer when searching for spyware, malware or any virus. You also can use freeware but I think they are not as fast as Kaspersky.

Grant April 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm

A combination of MalwareBytes and SuperAntiSpyware will remove most basic infections. Using Google Chrome or Firefox over IE is also a good starting point.

And although you need a bit of tech savvy, Hijack This is also a nice way to remove anything that has hijacked your browser.

@Eric. Some of the newer malware variants are blocking access to Malwarebytes and other programs. Even if you already have some antispyware installed it blocks it updating to the latest definitions by using a proxy server or edits the host file. Sometimes it won’t install but renaming the .exe sometimes solves this.

Mike McNulty April 3, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Thanks! This is some great information, and it really helped me. I found some similar information on other sites, but most of it was too complicated to understand. You made it not only simple, but also helpful.

PRASTmoz April 22, 2010 at 12:01 pm

i use McAfee Total Protection 2009 for 1 year.

Sunclair May 18, 2010 at 8:29 am

Thanks. It’s always good to read what others are using to solve their computer problems. Every now and then you stumble upon something new which helps you well. I also use Carbonite over the last few years and like it very much and I am not afraid anymore that my computer might freeze or crash.

karzanik June 8, 2010 at 9:29 am

Every time I turn on my computer, all these advertisements for antispyware software pops up. I exit them but they always keep coming back. I also get an anti spyware icon on my taskbar that I can’t get rid of. How do I get rid of these annoying popups and remove these icons?

vinith July 21, 2010 at 4:49 am

To remove a virus, I feel that a basic anti virus should be sufficient. However the more dangerous ones like spyware, adware or pimpware require more care, and using a separate program for it is necessary.

Michael Collins August 16, 2010 at 9:28 am

In most cases we use Malwarebytes which 90% success rate when dealing with a PC with a virus or spyware. A tip which should apply to all PCs is to only assign your local Windows user account with user access only and not administrator permissions. And instead create a local administrator account which will only be used when needed to install new applications. This way, spyware and virus cannot write to the required parts of the C drive and registry and therefore, it’s not needed to solely rely on AV.

Thomas September 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Spyware is infecting nearly 90% of Internet connected computers. Internet is becoming a scary place to be. I think having several security programs in your computer is a must these days. I also like malware anti-malware very much. You can also try Spybot and Superantispyware. Both are free.

David Lee November 23, 2010 at 12:54 am

Hi Revanche,

I enjoyed your story, particularly on the part about about getting professional help vs do-it-yourself. I normally advice my friends and relatives when they shop for PCs to buy from a reputable company that provides repair service like Dell so they can help you with the more serious support issues (eg. if my motherboard gets fried). For the not so major issues, it’s good to have a utility software for a quick D-I-Y cleanup. I personally use Registry Mechanic from PC Tools and it works like a charm.

Billy December 16, 2010 at 7:32 am

The best I often get asked how to remove a virus or spyware is, I tell them to backup files and reinstall windows. This makes your computer much faster too. Only downside is you lose any software for which you don’t have CD’s for. Just my 2 cents on removing spyware. Good post mate.

Kevin Clarke February 26, 2011 at 10:07 am

I agree you can save time and money by scanning your computer free if you want to know the root problem.

BWP March 5, 2011 at 6:39 pm

For antivirus, I recommend antivir free edition. For spyware, I recommend spyware cleaner. I feel satisfied with the performance of both software products.

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