The digital world has brought many challenges for average PC users. We all work hard to keep our data secured against information theft, protect our PCs from Trojan and malicious attacks. As all of us know, regularly backing up data, downloading good Antivirus software and keeping it up-to-date with latest definitions, might be helpful. However, at times, we end up getting our PCs infected as malicious files slip through the cracks. This article is intended to help Windows 10 PC users to deal with this critical problem.
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Alternative manual troubleshooting steps are given below:
Top 12 Sings of an Infected Windows 10 PC
- PC stops booting at all. An error appears saying one or more system files are missing
- PC runs slow; takes longer time to load programs, boot and shutdown
- Windows 10 crashes, displays Blue Screen of Death, or even restarts automatically without warnings
- Antivirus displays notification that an unknown program or process is running
- Regular annoying pop-ups, advertisements on your Desktop
- Browser automatically redirects to advertising sites, phishing sites or unwanted search engines
- You discover that default home page, default search engine have been changed, and some junk, unwanted toolbars are installed in your browser
- A removable storage such as USB flash drive, external hard drive, plugged-in to your PC, gets AutoRun.inf file at the root directory with instructions to load an Executable File (.exe) every time you connect the drive.
- Any removable media connected to your PC gets filled with random files (01.exe, 02.exe); executable files that pretend to be documents (Document1.doc.exe, Document2.doc.cmd, Image.bmp.bat), and so on.
- Excessive bandwidth usage dramatically increases as some viruses leak your personal information and transmit it over Internet.
- Task Manager, System Restore, System Configuration, Registry Editor, Windows Update, Group Policy Editor and other important diagnostic tools stop loading.
- And obviously, there are so many other signs that we cannot cover up in a single article.
Step # 1: Log-in Windows 10 in Safe Mode
The Safe Mode loads only minimal system drivers making it difficult to load malicious files at startup. Simply open up System Configuration tool through Run dialog and activate this feature.
1. Open up Run dialog by pressing Windows Key + R; type “MSCONFIG” and press ENTER.
2. In the new dialog that opens, click Boot tab and check-up “Safe boot” checkbox.
3. Select “Minimal” option, and then click Apply | OK.
4. You’ll be prompted to restart your computer. Go ahead, and the next time Windows boots in to safe mode, you’ll notice unwanted pop-ups, slower speed, excessive bandwidth usage problems are temporarily stopped.
Step # 2: Delete Malicious Files
Now that you’ve successfully logged your PC into Safe Mode, it’s time to clean up temporary directories where the malicious files are usually stored.
1. Double click This PC icon on Desktop.
2. Delete all files, sub folders from the following locations:
- C:\Windows\Donwloaded Program Files
- C:\Windows\Offline Web Pages
- Open up Run dialog again, type “AppData” and click OK.
3. Delete all contents from following location:
Alternatively, you can also use Disk Clean-Up utility in Windows by right clicking system partition, selecting Properties and then choosing “Disk CleanUp” under General tab.
Step # 3: Delete Malicious Startup Entries
The virus registers startup entries to load itself every time your computer boots up. Typically, the information is stored in Run and RunOnce strings located in following Registry sub keys. Simply open RegEdit with Run dialog and delete random, suspicious strings from below sub keys.
Step # 4: Delete Malicious Data from Registry
A virus or malware typically recreates its copies on several locations — both hard drive and removable storage. Have you ever wondered where does it stores the data? The answer is simple, Windows Registry. This data may contain-
- File paths to malicious files that the virus intends to copy to other locations
- Keystrokes and other data gathered from your computer; including private and financial information, saved passwords, browser history and form fill-up data
Thus, it is important to clean up malicious Registry entries. to delete all malicious Registry entries, invalid references to missing files and suspected data from the Windows Registry. A system reboot is required after completion.
Step # 5: Set Automatic Scheduled Scans
Now that you need to download a good Antivirus software to keep the PC safe and secure against latest threats and malicious attacks. Download an Antivirus and full scan your hard drive, and later on, schedule periodic scans to ensure maximum safety. Schedule scan option is typically found in Antivirus settings.