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How do I remove a virus and malware from my computer?

Tip: If you're concerned about a specific file being a virus, see our verifying if a file is a virus document.

Virus detection and removal

Computer VirusIf you believe your computer is infected with a virus, the best method of detection and removal is to run an antivirus scan on the computer. Open your antivirus scanner through the Windows notification area or through the Start Menu and run a full system scan to scan all files on your computer for a virus.

If you're unable to boot into Windows, boot the computer into Safe Mode and run the scan from within Safe Mode.

Removing detected virus

If the antivirus program detects the virus, a prompt to either move the virus to the virus vault or delete the infected files will be given. Both options are a good way to remove the virus from the computer.

I don't have an antivirus program installed

Tip: If you are running Windows 8 or Windows 10 on the computer you may be using Windows Defender as your antivirus.

If you do not have an antivirus or Windows Defender, but still believe a file is infected with a virus, try running an online virus scan. These websites will scan your computer hard drive for any infections. You may also consider installing a free antivirus program on the computer.

Note: It is not recommended to manually find and delete files on your computer that you suspect to be infected with a virus. Deleting the wrong files could result in errors on your computer, or cause the operating system to become unusable.

No virus has been detected

Unfortunately, many non-virus related issues are often blamed on computer viruses. Nine times out of ten, a computer problem is a software, driver, or hardware related issue and not a virus. If after running the antivirus, no virus is found, it's very likely the computer is not infected. If you still believe your computer is somehow infected, you may also consider running an online virus scan and scanning the computer with a malware protection program, as mentioned below.

Malware, Spyware, and Adware detection and removal

We'd also recommend running a malware protection program on the computer, such as Malwarebytes. Malware can be the cause of computer errors and other problems as well.

How to scan the computer or get software if Internet is not working

If your Internet is not working you can download Malwarebytes or other antivirus software from another computer, copy the download to a USB flash drive, and then install the program from the flash drive on your infected computer.