Removing Spyware and Malware
Follow the instructions below to clean up your computer and keep it secure.
The best way to scan a computer for viruses is to boot the computer in safe mode. Safe mode only loads the drivers needed to operate windows, so any potential viruses will not load in this mode.
To boot in Safe Mode in Windows 10:
- When you first start your computer and you get to the sign-in screen, hold down the Shift key while you select Power -> Restart
- After your PC restarts to the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> Startup Settings -> Restart
- After your PC restarts, you’ll see a list of options. Select 4 or F4 to start your PC in Safe Mode. Or if you’ll need to use the Internet, select 5 or F5 for Safe Mode with Networking.
- You can also boot from recovery media stored on a USB drive. See below for instructions on creating a recovery drive.
To boot in Safe Mode for Mac:
- When you first start your computer, hold down the Shift key
- Safe mode is only necessary if initial scans fail, in most cases Safe Mode is not required to clean a Mac
System Restore and Time Machine
Windows uses a restore utility that automatically backs up selected system files.
- Select the key on the keyboard.
- Type Restore in the search box.
- Select System Restore.
- From the list you can select restore points to a state before you were experiencing the problem.
Mac has Time Machine that allows you to back up your entire Mac, including system files, apps, music, photos, emails and documents. Used with an external storage device, if anything happens to your computer, all of your files will be recoverable from the external drive. It also keeps multiple versions of your files.
- Connect an external hard disk to your Mac and turn it on.
- You’ll be asked if you want to use the disk to back up your Mac. Click Use as Backup Disk.
- Follow the instructions in Time Machine preferences.
- To open Time Machine Preferences, go to the Apple Menu -> System Preferences -> Time Machine.
Run OS Updates
The best way to keep your computer secure is to run the latest software.
More information about Windows Update can be found online: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-update.
To make sure you are informed about Mac updates, note the notifications and number of available updates displayed in the icon of the App Store.app in the Dock. When new updates are available, mac OS sends you a notification. Just accept the updates and they’ll download automatically. Whenever new software updates are available, install them promptly.
Scan with Malwarebytes: Anti-Malware (MWB)
Download Malwarebytes at http://www.malwarebytes.org/. Follow the instructions on Malwarebytes website to install the software.
- Malwarebytes should automatically update the database when launched.
- Go to the Scan tab at the top and select Threat Scan.
- Once the scan has finished, you can review the list of found items and select them for Quarantine.
- Once the files have been quarantined, you may need to restart the computer. Restart in Safe Mode.
- If there were no infected files detected on the initial scan, then you are done.
- If you removed files, then select Threat Scan again to make sure they are all gone.
**It is advisable to run the Malwarebytes weekly to help remove malware from your computer**
Scan with CCleaner
CCleaner is an application that is helpful in freeing up space on your hard drive by finding and removing the large amount of temporary files that accumulate through normal computer use. The amount of space taken up by these files can be significant, from several hundred MB to several GB depending on the size of your hard drive. While this can be done manually, CCleaner is a much faster and easier solution for most people.
Download CCleaner at http://www.ccleaner.com and follow the installation instructions below:
- Select your preferred language and click Next.
- Everything in the next menu will be checked by default and can be left that way, then click Install.
- Once the program installs, run it and click Analyze to scan for temporary files.
- After reviewing the files it plans to remove, click Run Cleaner to permanently delete those files.
NOTE for Windows users: CCleaner also contains a registry cleaner and several other utilities. While better than many other registry cleaners that are offered on the Internet as paid software or shareware, these programs tend to create more problems than they solve. Making changes to the registry of a working operating system can change user settings as well as cause various functions to stop working properly. When problems occur that involve the registry, often it makes more sense to back up your data and then perform a clean install of the operating system. Information Services recommends avoiding registry cleaners in general, particularly any that are advertised through pop-ups, ads or warnings.
More Tips and Information
Visit the site http://staysafeonline.org for additional information on keeping yourself and your devices safe.
To create a recovery drive for Windows 10:
- Type “Recovery” in search box and press Enter.
- Select the option to create a recovery disc and follow the prompts to create a recovery disc.