How To Clean an Infected Computer

Viruses and malicious software have become a very serious problem. There are hundreds of different viruses and more are being developed all the time. Anyone who connects their computer to the internet can fall victim to these threats. Having security software installed is a good start but being able to recover from an infection is even more important. When an infected computer is detected, there are a few steps to take that can mitigate damage.

The first thing to do is isolate the infection. Network connections should be unplugged or shut off. This will stop the virus from spreading and keep any spyware from uploading data to the web. Any shared folders should be separated to prevent files from being shared once the computer is reconnected just in case the virus is still present.

A full system scan will be needed. It’s likely that the software on the computer has been compromised since it didn’t detect the virus right away. The best method is to use a live boot of another operating instance to scan the system. Windows and Linux both offer this option. Although, a Windows live boot may require a few extra steps.

Once the scan is complete the files and folders will need to be restored. If there’s an external drive the computer uses to store files it can be connected. Some operating systems have a built-in option to restore system files. Cloud drives are a great option for this, but they require a live internet connection to download the files. System administrators can help determine the best course of action for this.

Once the computer has been cleaned and restored, the best thing to do is to run one more scan just to be safe. This can help destroy any traces of the virus before it’s reconnected to the network. The computer will need to be monitored to make sure the virus is completely gone. A single trace of the virus will allow it to infect other computers and do damage to the system. If all traces are gone, the computer should be ready to safely use once again.