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Computer Virus Cleaning Guide – Software, Procedure, Steps, and Instructions

Summary. Sometimes even when a computer is protected with up-to-date antivirus software it’s still possible to get a computer virus. This can happen, for example, if someone mistakenly gives malware the permission to install.

CNet Warning. The instructions below suggest downloading software from the Cnet.com website (also known as Download.com). Be warned that although the Cnet.com website is very reputable, they permit a deceptive advertising practice of having multiple “Start Download” buttons on their software pages. Some are for the product you intend to download, but others are for advertised software. This is confusing for many consumers and can result in the wrong software being downloaded. Only click on the green Download Now button as shown above.


Cleaning. Here are some steps you can take to attempt cleaning up your computer. Some of these steps may require restarting your computer.

  1. Create New User Account. Sometimes it is difficult to remove a virus from within the user account that’s infected. Creating a new, clean, user account with administrative rights can help. Do this by going to Start > Control Panel > Users > and create a new user. A good name for this new user account would be Maintenance. You may also want to setup a limited user account called Visitor for guests to use. This can help limit the possible spread of a virus infection by someone else using your computer.
  2. Use New User Account. Restart your computer and login using the new user account created in step #1 above. Your existing antivirus software may have been corrupted or turned off by the virus/malware. Follow the instructions below to begin the lengthy process of scanning and cleaning your computer.
  3. Spybot Search & Destroy Portable. Download, install, and run Spybot Search and Destroy to find and remove virus and malware from your computer. [Download Page]
  4. Malware Bytes. Download, install, and run Malware Bytes to find and remove viruses and malware from your computer. [Download Page]
  5. Microsoft Security Essentials. For versions of Windows prior to Windows 8, you can download, install, and run Microsoft Security Essentials to remove viruses and malware from your computer. [Download Page] Windows 8 already includes Windows Defender antivirus software.
  6. AVG AntiVirus. Download, install, and run AVG AntiVirus to remove viruses and malware from your computer. [Download Page]
  7. Avast AntiVirus. Download, install, and run Avast AntiVirus to remove viruses and malware from your computer. [Download Page]
  8. Repeat. You may need to conduct multiple scans and cleanings with the above software programs. Keep going until nothing is found.
  9. Remove. Once done. Remove all but one antivirus program. Some scanning programs do not continue to run when installed, but increasingly trial versions are offered for free, and these tend to run all the time.

Support. If you have further questions, feel free to call our hotline at 319-621-4911.

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com