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Friday, February 19, 2010

How To Remove A Trojan Horse Virus

Viruses are ubiquitous and dominant on the Windows platform. No matter how careful you are, there is always a chance that your computer gets infected with a virus that just won’t go away.
If you are facing a similar situation, here are a few steps you can take to make sure you get rid of the Trojan horse/virus and most of its ill effects if not all.

Scan thoroughly with the antivirus

Sounds trivial right? Why would you get infected in the first place if your antivirus could detect the virus? Well there can be a few reasons, make sure you get them out of the way. It will save you a lot of trouble:
  • Update the antivirus to the latest version, and update the virus signature database.
  • Harden the scan options, check on heuristics, potentially dangerous applications, early warning system or whatever fancy names your antivirus uses. Set the antivirus to scan within archives and choose wisely when you specify items to exclude from the scan or leave everything out for scan.
Now perform a system scan, this way you give your antivirus a better chance to detect newer viruses.

Scan the system in safe mode

Very important to do this once before you get into manually removing the virus and its effects. Sometimes the infected files might be locked by the operating system when working in the normal mode. So to increase your antivirus’ odds to detect and clean the virus, you should restart the computer, boot into safe mode and then perform a thorough scan of your system.
Keep in mind the above mentioned points as well. You can generally boot into safe mode by pressing the F8 key during boot up and choosing the safe mode option.

Use special virus removal tools

Various antivirus manufacturers offer special tools for removing viruses once your system has been infected. Try McAfee’s Stinger or Microsoft’s Malicious Software removal tool or Kaspersky’s Virus Removal Tools. These are special tools that do a great work of removing certain infections.
So once your antivirus has detected the infection, make sure to Google it, this way you can easily find specialized solutions, removal tools and advice on your situation.

Take things into your own hands

There are times when, due to various reasons, none of the above methods works. Even in such cases everything is not lost, you can still rid your computer of viruses and Trojan horses by manually deleting the offending file and attempting to nullify the effects that it caused.
The effects vary from changing mouse/keyboard settings to infecting all files in RAM, to infecting all files using a particular library to corrupting the MBR and so on. Your ability to rollback these effects no doubt depends upon how much of a computer nerd you are, but with Google, various forums and Twitter there is a good chance you can make things work for you without having to make that call to your technician.

Here are some tips that may help you:
  • Check what processes are currently running. Use task manager, make sure to show processes from all users. If you see any suspicious process name or description just Google the name and you will get all the information you need. Make sure to prevent it from running again if you think you found the problem. You can use msconfig and manage startup items to do so.
  • Use HijackThis to diagnose a problem and create a log in case you want someone else to help you with your problem.
  • Try to find the nomenclature various antivirus products use to refer to the type of infection you have on your computer. Once you know that, you will be able to find detailed step by step instructions provided by various antivirus vendors to get rid of it. It also makes it easier to search for specialized tools to get rid of the Trojan horse/virus.
All of these methods will surely help your cause. However, your ability to completely rid your computer of a particular virus would depend on how early you are able to detect it, the type of the virus and the harm it was intended to cause (sounds a lot like cancer, isn’t it?).  Always take regular backups in case something goes wrong while attempting a clean up.

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