Basic Spyware Cleanup

Duration: about 6 hours depending on the speed of your computer and the number of files on it.

In this self-help section we'll be using our free disc of antispyware tools to clean spyware, viruses, and other Internet nasties from your computer.

The goal of this section is to provide a general spyware cleanup process which most users can use to successfully clean their computers of basic virus and spyware infections. If you have an advanced infection or need help with these instructions please call us to schedule a professional spyware removal.

Step 1 - Back up your important files

Before we begin it is important to back up your important files. The easiest method is to copy all your family photo, financial, tax, business, resume, and other important files to an external hard drive or large USB thumb drive. The safest method is to copy your entire hard drive to a new one just in case critical Windows files are damaged or removed during the spyware cleanup. You'll need a program such as Norton Ghost or Acronis TrueImage to do this.

Step 2 - Uninstall ALL your existing antivirus programs

There are several reasons why this needs to be done which we won't go into here. For now just use Add/Remove Programs to uninstall any antivirus programs you have. Be sure to reboot your computer when done. After your system is cleaned with these steps you'll have a more current version of antivirus installed.

Step 3 - Use your free disc of antispyware tools

Insert your free disc of antispyware tools. In the following steps we'll be using the utilities on this disc to find and remove infected files on your computer.

3a. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

The goal here is to remove the bulk of the easy infections and allow subsequent scans to run faster with less interference.

  • Install Malwarebytes and let it update itself.
  • Run a Quick Scan and remove all nasties it finds.
  • Reboot when done.
  • Uninstall Malwarebytes.

3b. SuperAntiSpyware

Next we'll do a full scan with SuperAntiSpyware to pick up and remove anything missed by the quick scan.

  • Install SuperAntiSpyware and let it update itself.
  • Run a FULL Scan and remove all nasties it finds.
  • Reboot when done.

3c. Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE)

Now we need to do another full scan with something other than Malwarebytes or SuperAntiSpyware. We recommend MSE, but you could use avast!, Avira, or AVG instead.

  • Install MSE (or alternative) and let it update itself.
  • Run a FULL Scan and remove any nasties it finds.
  • Reboot when done.

Final check with Malwarebytes

By now your computer should be 98% clean. Repeat Step 3a but this time run a full scan. This should find and remove the final 1% of infected files. If Malwarebytes doesn't find anything during this scan then you're done!

Wait, that's only 99% !

Truth be told, you simply can't expect 100% infection cleanup with free tools and limited experience. This is where professional spyware cleanup comes in. If you're concerned with that last 1% or need help with these instructions please call us to schedule an appointment. Our professional virus removal is MUCH more thorough with more advanced tools and includes preventative measures to mitigate future reinfections.