Adware, Spyware, and Virus Removal

Documentation in this section covers adware, spyware, virus, and other malware removal. When removing hostile programs, there are two basic types of removal methods which are.

  • Automatic Malware Removal
  • Manual Malware Removal

Whether you remove the malware automatically or manually, caution is strongly advised and you should follow a set procedure in doing this.

Cautions and Recommended Malware Removal Procedure

It is wise to be cautious when removing malware because many times malware may modify your system so when you remove it, your system will be crippled. Not being careful could result in the necessary re-installation of your operating system. The following phases for the removal process are recommended.

  1. Identification phase – During this phase, you only want to identify any malware or hostile software that may be running on your computer. You can run your anti-virus program, anti-spyware, anti-adware, or whatever product you choose to identify any infection on your computer. You must be sure to set the product to only identify malware on your system and not to remove, delete, or quarantine it. You can also look through your process list to locate possible hostile malware. See the article called Processes to learn how to do this.
  2. Information gathering phase – Gather information about any hostile software running on your computer. Determine whether the uninstall tool for that software may work (some adware or spyware is removable and written by somewhat reputable companies). Find out how the software changes your system. Does it change file associations or make your system require the software to run some executable programs? You can usually find information about processes running on your computer by doing one or more of the following:
    • Search Google or your favorite search engine for the name of the process, product name, or company that made the program
    • Search your anti-virus manufacturer or anti-spyware manufacturer website to find more information about malware you have and possibly find removal instructions.
    • Search your hard drive for the name of the file required to run the process and look at that file\’s properties to see who created it or to determine whether you should be more suspicious.
  3. Removal phase – Based on information found in the last phase decide whether it is safe to remove the software manually or automatically.

Automatic Removal

If you choose automatic removal, it is reasonably easy. Just allow your removal program to do the work, but be sure your system is not dependant on the malware program you are removing.

Manual Removal

Follow any the removal instructions that you may have found during the information gathering phase. You may need to edit your system registry, rename files (Initial renaming is recommended in case you need to restore a file to get your system to boot), or manually kill processes. You may need to get an IT professional to do this depending on your level of expertise.