So, your computer is running slow, you have rogue popups, or worse you can’t connect. Hmm, how are you reading this…no matter. Don’t get discouraged, there are many ways to get your computer clean short of reinstalling your operating system or even more extreme, purchasing a new computer. There are two major steps, clean and protect your computer.
I'm infected, grab the surgical mask!
Your computer's infected with viruses, malware and/or spyware and has become useless. What can you do to get it back, to that window to the Internet that you love so dearly? Well obtaining cleaning tools is step one. There are many tools out there but in a lot of cases, when your computer's infected, the infection won’t let you install those tools. So, what can you do now? Try going portable!
The Way of the Portable.
First step, you will need a portable drive (thumb drive, USB drive, SD card), it doesn’t need to be big, 1 GB will do fine. Although you can use any available portable drive, you should try to get one that will allow you to turn on/off write capability. Why, you might ask? This is so that you will be able to keep you portable drive safe from getting infected by any computer you plug it into, once switched to write off. PQI makes a USB thumb drive that has a manual switch that will allow you to turn off write function. However keep in mind that they’re a bit pricier than the standard USB drives. Alternatively, you can get an SD card like the ones you might use in your digital camera or smart phone. However, unlike the USB drive, which you can easily plug into any computer, you will most likely need an SD card reader to connect it to your computer.
Grab Your Gun and Ammo
Now that you have the portable drive, you’ll need to grab the portable cleaning software. There are a few out there, but one of the best at the moment is “SupreAntiSpyware Portable Scanner”, http://www.superantispyware.com/portablescanner.html?tag=SAS_PORTABLEFOLDER. This software tool is not only FREE, but has outperformed many of its competitors. All you need to do is download it from the link above, and then upload the file to your USB drive. It would be best if you can do this on a clean computer, if one is available to use. You will notice that the file is named SAS_xxxxxx.com, and not SAS_xxxxx.exe like most programs and applications. The reason for this is, a lot of the spyware and malware are looking for the anti-spyware programs “.exe” files and will keep them from running/installing.
Now you are ready to kill the spyware and malware. Grab your write protected USB drive, of course turning write protection on, with “SupreAntiSpyware Portable Scanner” and plug it into the infected computer. Your computer should detect the drive, map it and allow you access to the files, click on the SAS_xxxxx.com file it will popup a window and then click the button, “click here to start”. It will ask you for your language preference select and click “ok”. Then you are brought to the scanning window. Before you do any scanning make sure to check for updates! Once they application has updated, click on “scan your computer” select the drives to scan and your off and cleaning. It may take a while to scan, so start it before bed or your favorite TV show or movie and check it periodically to see the progress. Once the scan has completed you are presented with the results and allowed to remove any spyware and malware it finds. Once they are removed if prompted to reboot, reboot, if not, close the program and reboot. Once you are back up and running, run through the entire scanning process again and if you feel the need by all means do it a third time.
Frankly Scarlett, I'm Clean!
Now your computer is hopefully clean of spyware and malware, what’s next? Some helpful tips to stay that way are as follows.
- Install an antivirus program, keep it up to date and scan regularly. Microsoft Security Essentials is decent and free.
- Keep your Operating System patched, turn on auto-update or make sure to check Windows Update regularly. “Patch Tuesday” would be best.
- Surf the net wisely, if the link or site don’t look right, leave!
- Don’t open ANY emails or links in emails from unknown senders. However, even family can infect you too, so be wary.
Hopefully the portable cleaning solution has helped you get your computer back into shape. If you follow the simple rules above you can rest assured that you will have a happy and fruitful Internet experience.