Warning! Your PC is under attack from viruses! Update Antivirus – Do you get messages like these? They can be in the form of annoying popups. The truth is, it could be malware trying to get you to download more malware.
Sounds strange, doesn’t it? But, malware and viruses are pretty tricky things. They can act like pacified elements, and suddenly, you find yourself in a mess.
That’s why you have this ultimate guide for Windows 10 and 11 users. Here you will find how you tell if you have malware or a virus. Then, you will learn how to diagnose and solve the issue.
Finally, you will receive some tips to keep your system secure. We will have some FAQs in the end to clarify anything that’s missing. So, this is your ultimate guide on how to remove malware from Windows 10. Let’s begin!
How To Know If Malware Is On The Computer?
If you frequently visit insecure websites, you are more prone to malware infestation. Unauthorized and untrusted websites run the risk of infiltrating your system.
You will run the risk if you download anything from unknown locations and websites. This goes for any unknown antivirus, maintenance tool, games, and such. Visiting pirated websites has been the leading cause of problems.
Apart from these, here is a quick insight on various symptoms that can be linked to malware:
- You don’t have system-extensive apps, but the system consumes excessive resources.
- The system has slowed down significantly. That even the basic tasks take time.
- Your web browser hangs or crashes frequently.
- There are too many pop-ups appearing on your system or web browser.
- Too many personalized advertisements. These are too personal for your good.
- Frequent warnings and pop-ups for virus infestation malware threats.
- Your files are corrupting. You end up with errors on various applications, games, and such.
- The computer or laptop is heating up too frequently. It is also consuming more power, or the battery runs out faster.
Remember that these points just prove the possibility of malware. It is not a surefire thing. There isn’t an accurate way to learn about Malware or Virus infestation. The only way to do that is by using an antivirus.
So, you can run a Quick Scan and see if you come across even a single threat. If you do, you can go ahead and follow the guide below.
Solutions To Prevent Malware Infections In Windows 10
- Check For The Windows Updates
- Check For The Antivirus Updates
- Disconnect From The Internet
- Reboot In The Safe Mode
- Fix Your Web Browser – Clear Data And Cache
- Delete Temporary Files
- Run The Security Program
- Try An Offline Scan
- Use A Premium Malware Protection
- Restore Windows To Previous Point
How To Remove Virus And Malware From Windows 10?
This is a step-by-step guide. Each method is according to the priority or a ‘follow’ list. In other words, the first method is what you should try first. Then the second one, and so on.
You can skip the steps if you want, but this is the best way. By following the complete guide in a systematic way, you will solve the issue. It is the most efficient way to remove malware from the PC. With that being said, let’s begin:
1. Check For The Windows Updates
The first step for you will be to check for Windows Updates. Nowadays, a Windows update isn’t just about fixing bugs and glitches. It doesn’t just introduce new features.
Virus, malware, and other similar elements are consistently evolving. Companies like Microsoft also keep up the pace to continually release security patches. These security patches come in the form of Windows updates.
That’s why updating Windows 10 is necessary. It reinforces your security and gets rid of the malware in most cases. So, the first step should be to check for updates:
- Go to the Start Menu button in the bottom-left corner. Right-click on it, and it will open a menu.
- Select Settings from the menu. You will find ‘Updates & Security’ in the settings.
- Click on it, and then you will come to the Update Page. Click on ‘Check For Updates.’
Make sure that you have an active internet connection. Once it downloads the updates, move on to the next step. You might have to reboot the PC for the update to complete.
2. Check For The Antivirus Updates
Like your Operating System, Antivirus also needs updates. As mentioned, malware and viruses are consistently changing or updating. By necessity, antivirus databases also have to keep records of new harmful agents. Some might even need a new feature to protect you. That’s why Antivirus comes with updates.
If you’re using a third-party antivirus, make sure to update them. The good news is that they are only good if you’re using premium versions. The latest Windows 10 and 11 come with a built-in defense program. It is popularly known as ‘Windows Defender.’ In the latest versions, you can find it as ‘Virus & Threat Protection’.
Windows Defender has eliminated the need for most antivirus and maintenance tools. So, if you’re not using a premium (subscribed) version of antivirus, stick to the defender. Here’s how you update it:
- Go to the Search Bar next to the Start Menu button on the Taskbar.
- Type ‘Virus & Threat Protection.’ Launch it.
- Scroll down, and you will see ‘Virus and threat protection updates.’ Click on the action button to check for the updates.
- This will automatically download and install the necessary directory.
For any third-party antivirus, you use, follow its manual or guide to update it.
3. Disconnect From The Internet
Once you’ve followed through with the first and second steps, you won’t need the internet. Why should you disconnect the internet? There are plenty of reasons:
- Most harmful agents like malware and virus work with the internet today. They need the connectivity to spread or multiply.
- If you have spyware and ransomware, they will disconnect. Thus, it will protect your valuable information.
We are in a new digital expansion age. Internet connectivity has become indispensable. That’s why disconnecting from the internet will contain any virus or malware on your PC. It won’t spread out. Ensure to not connect any flash drive or access cloud storage during this.
- Access the Wi-Fi settings of your PC or laptop. Turn it off.
- If you use a dongle or ethernet connection, disconnect them.
- You can also choose to turn off the router.
- Don’t forget to turn off the Bluetooth option on your device, as well.
Once you’ve entirely disconnected your device from other access, it’s time to purge.
4. Reboot In The Safe Mode
The Safe Mode has always been a handy option in Microsoft Windows. It allows you to boot up the entire PC with necessary programs and services. Thus, it will prevent any third-party software or file from activating.
Safe Mode is a great way to limit your system. Unless you launch the program or file, it won’t affect your PC in Safe Mode. But, it is a little tricky to launch Safe Mode in Windows 10 or 11. Back then, you could do it from the boot menu. Now you have to:
- Go to the Start Menu button and find the Power Button Icon.
- Click on it, and it will show you all the options: Shut Down, Sleep, Restart.
- Press the Shift button on your keyboard. Then, click on the Restart button while holding Shift Button.
- This will load the Boot options for you.
- Next, you will see Troubleshooting on the list of new options. Click on it. Then, find the Advanced Options.
- In some versions, there’s no troubleshooting but advanced options. Both are the same thing. So, click on it.
- You will find a restart option there. Click on it and select the Safe Boot option. You don’t need networking, but you can choose Safe Mode With Networking. Like that, you can access the internet if you need it.
Proceed with the reboot after that. Your PC’s performance will increase in Safe Mode. After all, it is running on essentials only. If you notice too significant a difference, probably a malware infection.
5. Fix Your Web Browser – Clear Data And Cache
Your web browser is often the leading cause of malware infestation. Most things branch from there. You could’ve accessed an untrusted or insecure link. There could be some unknown extensions, spyware, cookie, and many other elements. In short, the Web Browser is the source of most problems.
So, after entering Safe Mode, fixing your browser should be the first thing to do. For that, follow these steps:
- Open your Web Browser. Go to the Extensions and Add-Ons. Check the list to see if there is any suspicious one you don’t use. Maybe one that you didn’t install. If there are too many, uninstall them.
- Next, go to the History of your Browser. Find an option to Clear Browsing History. It comes with options like Clearing Cache, Data, and such. It is a good idea to delete everything from the beginning of time completely.
One of the sure-tell ways to determine malware infestation is a change in Browser. There could be a change in the default home page, default browser, and many other things. So, it is a good idea to fix your browser.
6. Delete Temporary Files
Temporary files are the cached files in your system. They help by loading certain functions faster. In most cases, they don’t make much difference. They are not essential, and you can delete them without harming your PC.
Often, cleaning temporary files can boost your system’s performance. As a result, your virus scans will be faster and more precise. So, it is a good idea to clear our temporary files. There are two ways for you to do this:
- The first step is to launch the Run command. Press Windows + R key and type:
%temp%. Hit enter and select all the files in the folder that opens up. Then delete them. Make sure that nothing remains in the Recycle Bin, either. Empty it.
- Another method is by using Disk Cleanup. After purging the temporary files, use the Disk Cleanup utility. Go to the Search Bar and search for Disk Cleanup.
- Then everything else is easy to understand.
See if you notice any significant boost in the system’s performance. Next, it is time to get to the main job.
7. Run The Security Program
The time has finally come for you to use your antivirus or antimalware tool. Go ahead and launch it to run the scan. Given below are the guidelines to use Virus & Threat Protection. If you use some other antivirus, find and follow their guides.
- Launch Virus And Threat Protection by following the previous steps.
- You will see a Quick Scan option. Below is the ‘Scan Options’ button. Click on it. This will open a range of options.
- Find ‘Full Scan’ in the options. Select it and then scroll down. You will find the ‘Scan Now’ button. Click on it.
- Let your PC scan for any viable threat.
Remember that this entire step might take plenty of time. A full scan will go in-depth to find any problem. We hope you have updated the tool as mentioned in the previous steps. That will ensure the best performance and results.
8. Try An Offline Scan
Whether you found something or not, there’s another brilliant feature. You might have noticed an option for ‘Offline Scan.’ When you expanded Scan Options in Virus & Threat Protection. It is not related to the internet connection.
The Offline Scan works by rebooting your system. It is better than Scanning in the Safe Mode. How? Even the essential programs aren’t working in Offline Scan.
Thus, Virus & Threat Protection can scan your entire system. It is a deep-rooted scan and takes place during a reboot. Once your PC boots up, it will show you the scan results.
So, if you found nothing by running a Full Scan, use the Offline Scan option. You can also run it even if you found something in a normal scan. That way, you can secure your PC further, just in case.
9. Use A Premium Malware Protection
This step is optional, and you can skip it. There’s no doubt that Windows Defender, Virus & Threat Protection, is brilliant. It has put many antivirus and maintenance tools out of commission. Windows 10 is featureful and comes with a lot of tools. But, some things can use premium protection.
Microsoft doesn’t have an option for you to ‘buy’ anything for Virus & Threat Protection. They believe that protection shouldn’t cost, and they try to give you the best they can. But, there are some premium Antiviruses with better features or better capabilities.
Some even have better ways or ‘instant’ solutions to new threats. As a result, it is not a bad idea to use premium malware protection.
If you found no result in the previous scans, there might not be a malware infection. But, if you want to be 100% sure, and reinforce security, opt for better antivirus tools.
Then, you can resume and scan the entire PC.
10. Restore Windows To Previous Point
If you have a habit of creating system restore points, it is about to pay off. But, even if you don’t, the good news is if your Windows have at least 1 Restore Point. It is an automatic point the PC makes after undergoing a drastic change. The change could be an update. So, you can use it:
- In the Search Bar, find ‘Create A Restore Point.’ Make sure to launch it. A small window will open up.
- You will see a ‘System Restore’ section and a button of the same name. Click on the Button.
- This will launch the Wizard. Now, if you have previous restore points, it will show you. You can choose them and restore the PC.
Restoring the system is one of the last resorts. If none of the options worked to help you so far, you could try it. It is highly unlikely but possible. In these cases, System Restore Point can help you out. If you remember any point that is virus-free, try it.
This won’t change the files and save data. But, it is a good idea to back it up.
Final Resort – Reinstall The Windows
So, you’ve tried everything else. Yet, you didn’t get rid of the symptoms mentioned earlier. There can be various reasons for this to happen:
- You might not have Malware, Ransomware, or viruses. It could be corrupted system files or something else.
- You might have rogue software, programs, and such that are causing the issue.
- Maybe the Malware, Spyware, and such are too advanced. There hasn’t been any solution for them yet.
The best that you can do in these cases is to Reinstall The Windows. It is easier to do on Windows 10 or 11. There is a Reset option available. For that, you have to:
- Go to the Search Bar, and find Reset This PC.
- You can use ‘Advanced Startup’ to try a couple of things.
- If not, you can go ahead and click on the Reset button.
- You will now have the chance to reset the PC conveniently
- Follow through with the Wizard.
If resetting doesn’t work, use the Media Creation Tool. It will enable you to download Windows 10 by using a separate device.
Tips To Keep Yourself Protected Against Malware Infections
You’ve learned to take care of your system. Now, you can purge the Malware or any other harmful content. But, there’s still a matter of keeping yourself safe. How can you keep yourself protected?
Well, the first step would be to always keep your system up to date. This goes for Windows, Antivirus, and applications. That way, you will have lesser threats to worry about. Apart from those, here are some tips:
1. Check For The Doubtful Files
If you have downloaded any content from unknown or unsafe sources, check them out. Always scan a file after downloading it from the internet. This will save you a lot of trouble.
This also goes for checking the files and attachments of an email. If you don’t recognize the sender, always scan. You can choose not to open the attachment.
2. Remove Software You Don’t Recognize
Some harmful contents hide in the form of applications or extensions. So, it is a good idea to check the Apps feature of your Windows. It will show you all the apps installed.
- Uninstall any app that you haven’t used in a long time.
- Uninstall any app which you don’t recognize.
Repeat the same step for extensions on your internet browser.
3. Use The Task Manager
Press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC button to launch the Task Manager. There, you can see and check various services and programs. You will find complete information like RAM, Processor, Network consumption, and so on.
In case you suspect anything, right-click on it and go to the Source Directory. If you can’t find the source directory, it could be malware. You can also Google it and see if you can find some answers.
4. Always Use Authentic Sources Online
Try to reduce the access and use of unknown and insecure websites. This goes for pirated websites, as well. Download apps and programs from known sources like Google Store and Microsoft Store. This will save you a lot of trouble.
If possible, don’t fall for free programs, maintenance tools, and such. Don’t click on the pop-ups, and always use trusted sources. To check the trust factor, you can also check the reviews and such.
5. Run Timely Scans
Always run a couple of scans on your PC. The best practice is to run a Quick Scan every weekend. You can also run a Full Scan once every month. This will keep your system well-protected and secure. It is a great way to enhance your PC’s security.