Recovering From & Eliminating Computer Viruses
There’s a common misconception about computer viruses. Many think that they’re in some way magical, or can be received if you don’t actively have ten anti-virus programs scrubbing every file every minute of the day. Realistically, computer viruses are just programs. Actually, a certain respect should be had for them. They’re harder to make than most programs, as the best virus is one you never know is there. Also, computer viruses are astronomically rare unless you go looking for them, intentionally or not. As always, the best cure is prevention.
Avoiding a virus is easier than dealing with one, so first some info on that. Most viruses are obtained simply by visiting questionable or shady-looking websites. A poor or outdated internet browser like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer will more than double your risk of infection. The best browsers, like Firefox or Chrome will warn you before even allowing you to visit a dangerous site. Should you proceed to the website, both browsers will still do their best to block malicious scripts and attacks. Don’t count on it, though. Visiting that shady-looking site you saw on the last page of your search results isn’t worth it, even if you absolutely have to see the next unaired episode of your favorite cooking channel. Surf with caution.
If you’re computer already has a virus, you should take immediate action. Unplug your computer’s ethernet (internet connection) cable to prevent the infection from spreading through your network. If you’re using Wi-Fi, either unplug the wireless modem in your house, turn your computer’s Wi-Fi switch off, or do your best to manually disconnect from the internet. A lead-lined room should do the job, at least for now. Once you’ve made sure you’re offline, the next step is to diagnose the issue. How’d you get the virus? Was it a website? Program you installed? Not sure? Regardless, find the nearest flash drive or DVD and copy everything of extreme value. If you’re confident trying to remove the virus, uninstall whatever program or utility you downloaded. If you’re being prevented from doing so, try booting into Windows Safe Mode and doing it again. See our article about Windows Safe Mode for more information about that.
If you have no idea what you’re doing, the next step is to call up your local computer shop. Milford Computer Service has you covered if you live in the general Milford or Nashua, New Hampshire area. So, get in touch! We're always happy to help.
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