As a San Diego computer repair shop we know the best PC virus removal tips for protecting your computer. After all, we’ve seen the damage that viruses can do! We’ve also perfected the methods for removing all types of viruses.
Like the viruses that infect people, computer viruses get into your computer and attack the data or the system itself. It is introduced as a piece of code that copies and spreads throughout the system quickly. The sooner the virus is removed, the less time it has to damage and corrupt your computer.
The virus attaches to a file, program, or document where it lies dormant until you do something that causes the computer to execute the code. For example, if the virus is delivered through an email attachment, it remains dormant until you open the email attachment. Until you do, there is no way to know it is there.
Once the virus is active, it goes to work stealing data, logging data, obtaining your passwords, and a lot more. It also has the ability to spread to other computers on the same network as yours. Funny cartoons that you share on social media, downloads from unknown websites, and certain email attachments are all potential viruses.
Viruses are more sophisticated today, finding their way into your computer in many ways. Even your mobile devices are at risk from viruses that you download as apps. Viruses can also be spread through text messages.
Virus vs. Malware: What’s the Difference?
One of the first PC virus removal tips offered by the computer repair shop is to know which type of virus your computer has. The term ‘malware’ refers to any software that is malicious including computer viruses but it also includes any other software written for the sole purpose of infecting and harming a host computer. A virus is a type of malware but there are others such as worms, Trojan horses, and adware.
Most of us use the term ‘virus’ for any type of infection on our computers. Although there are some distinct differences between the different types and some is more destructive than the rest, there’s no such thing as a good virus or malware.
Some common types of malware include:
Worms – This type of malware replicates itself and spreads to other uninfected computers. It destroys the operating files and data stored on a drive. At the same time, it remains active on the infected system. A worm uses parts of your computer’s operating system that operate automatically and aren’t seen by you. You probably won’t notice its impact until your computer slows down.
Adware – Hackers use this software to generate revenue by publishing advertisements on the screen. It examines the internet sites you visit frequently and then presents related advertisements on your screen. The biggest problems with adware include slowing down your system and annoying you while you try to work.
Spyware – This software does exactly what its name implies. It spies on you and tracks your activities online. Once it gets information about your internet habits and your system, it provides them to the hacker. Spyware can be very difficult to detect because it is so good at staying hidden. There are also spyware programs used by employers to monitor their employees’ internet use.
Trojans – As you might gather from the historic story of the Trojan Horse, trojan viruses hide behind the image of something safe so that you will use it. Once you run them on your computer, they can steal your personal information, including bank account numbers and passwords. Sometimes writers create trojans to shut down entire networks.
Ransomware – Again, the name of the malware says a lot about what it does! Ransomware literally holds your computer system for ransom. You can’t get back into it until you pay the ransom to have the restriction removed.
Antivirus Protection: Does It Really Work?
The most obvious tip the San Diego computer repair shop can give you is to protect your computer in the first place. The problem is that the average Joe doesn’t know enough about viral protection to know what works and what doesn’t.
For starters, never install any free anti-virus software you find online. Even if it is just for a free trial, it could easily be the introduction the virus needs to get into your computer. Instead, look to a reliable source to find the right program to protect all of your computers, laptops, and mobile devices. It’s worth the cost to protect your big investments and keep your data secure.
That said, there is no guarantee that even the best anti-viral software will protect your computer against the next big threat. The people who develop malware have a vested interest in making it work. They are also smart enough to know that they have to keep changing their methods to get past the anti-viral software that is out there.
Common Signs of a Computer Virus
As mentioned in some of the descriptions of different types of malware, it isn’t always obvious that your computer has a virus. Some things to look for include:
- Your computer starts running slow.
- The sound of the hard drive working never goes away.
- Computer programs startup that you don’t recognize or that you didn’t start.
- Pop-up messages begin to appear from nowhere and are difficult to get rid of.
PC Virus Removal Tips: DIY or Computer Repair Shop
As soon as you suspect a viral infection, it’s time to take action. Even if it exhibits only one of the signs above, it’s safer to err on the side of caution. After all, you have a lot to lose if you let the situation run its course.
Unless you have a lot of tech skills and understand the different types of viruses and how they work, it’s better to take your computer to a virus removal expert. If you decide to try and remove the virus yourself, follow the tips below carefully.
- Start in Safe Mode – Turn your computer off and then on again. As soon as something appears on the screen, repeatedly press the F8 function key. This should bring up the Advanced Boot Options menu. Select Safe Mode with Networking and then press Enter. Do not connect to the internet.
- Delete Temporary Files – From the Start Menu ˃All Programs ˃Accessories ˃Select System Tools ˃Disk Cleanup ˃Files To Delete ˃Temporary Files. This process helps speed up the virus scanning process once you start it and can get rid of the virus once you reboot your computer.
- Download a Viral Scanner – These come in two forms including real-time and on-demand. Again, be sure you choose a reliable brand like AVG AntiVirus Free. This real-time scanner scans for viruses in the background while you use your computer. Microsoft Safety Essentials is an example of an on-demand scanner that works on older versions of Windows. You need to run this type of system manually. Since you started your computer in Safe Mode with Networking, you may still be able to download the Microsoft Safety Scanner without connecting to the internet.
- Run a Virus Scan – Start with the on-demand scanner and then the real-time scanner. Between the two, you should be able to identify the virus and remove it. If it doesn’t, the next option is to remove it manually. You should only attempt to do this if you are an expert at removing computer viruses.
If the virus removal appears to be successful, it’s a good idea to reinstall any programs the virus damaged. In addition to keeping your antivirus software up-to-date, you should also get into the habit of backing up your data. Store files on a different hard drive where a virus can’t damage them the next time your computer gets infected.
Mac Virus Removal
Although Macs are often thought of as an alternative to PCs, they are still personal computers used in the home and office. Many users think their Macs are invulnerable to the same types of malware and viruses as other kinds of PCs. The fact is that although Macs are far less likely targets from viruses and malware, there was a significant increase in types of Malware used to target Macs in 2017. Although the PC virus removal tips differ for Mac users, it is still important to know how to identify threats.
Some previous examples of Mac-targeted malware include MacDefender, MacSecurity, and MacProtector. Many Mac users thought it was viral protection for their computers when they were actually getting malicious malware programs.
One thing Mac users should look for are messages signaling a problem with your Mac. In most cases, this is really an invitation to download malicious malware, not protection to keep it at bay. Always ignore these messages.
Once you’ve already downloaded anything from the site where the message occurs, quit your browser and go to the Downloads folder. Drag any new items there into the Trash and then empty it. Stay away from the website to prevent future infections.
If your Mac is already infected, you may see pop-up messages asking for your Apple ID or credit card info. Quit the app or software you are using and launch your Activity Monitor. Search for the app in question. Once you locate the malware, select Quit Process and quit the Activity Monitor. Go to the Applications folder and drag the malicious software into the Trash and empty it.
Keep your Mac software and apps up-to-date and install all of the updates and OS fixes from Apple. If you don’t know how to keep your Mac or PC protected from viruses, take it to a reputable computer repair shop. They are experts in virus, spyware, and malware removal. They can offer expert advice on the best practices and programs to protect your laptop, PC, or mobile device.
When to Take Your Computer to the San Diego Computer Repair Shop
When the devices you rely on every day start to show signs of trouble, it’s often too convenient to just ignore the signs. One reason you don’t want to deal with the possibility of a computer virus is that you have work to do and a deadline to meet.
Failing to understand computer viruses and their symptoms gives you even more room to make excuses. You can blame yourself for putting too many documents on the desktop or trying to download files that are too large. As long as the computer keeps moving at all, you hang with it and keep on typing.
The one takeaway from this article that you can’t afford to ignore is that time matters. Once a virus infects your computer, the virus or malware of any type will keep going like the Energizer Bunny! The longer you leave it on the computer, the more risk there is to your operating systems and your valuable and sensitive data.
One of the most valuable PC virus removal tips to follow is to always stop using your computer at the first sign of a virus. If following the tips listed here don’t resolve the issue, take your computer to a professional who knows what to look for.
More PC Virus Removal Tips
If you rely on your computer for work, school, finances, or anything that requires ongoing, dependable use, always have a backup system. Never leave your fate in the hands of a single computer. A backup computer doesn’t have to have all the bells and whistles that cost a fortune. It just needs the same programs and apps that you need to accomplish what you need the most.
Keep all your files saved on an external hard drive and back everything up daily. Keep the viral protection on your computer up-to-date and perform on-demand viral scans regularly. The more steps you take to prepare for an infection, the less impact it will have on you and your computer.
Contact San Diego Tech experts for same day expert service for virus removal, malware removal, and spyware removal you can trust. We’re San Diego’s number one choice for computer repair.