What To Do If You Get a Computer Virus

Everyone dreads getting a pop-up notification stating that a virus has been found on their computer. However, you don’t need to panic the moment you get one of these dreaded notifications. Instead, you should follow these simple steps.

Step One: Isolate the Virus

computer virus cleanupFirst, you should isolate the virus from other computers by unplugging your network connection. When you see a virus notification pop up, the immediate reaction should be to remove your computer from the network it is on. Unplug your computer’s network cable or disable your wireless network card immediately. This will prevent the virus from spreading to other computers on your network or transmitting data to the Internet.

Step Two: Carefully Read the Notification

There are two reasons to carefully read the notification that pops up. First, you want to make sure that it is really your virus scan software that detected something. Then, you will need to know what exactly your software did to the threat. If the notification window wants you to purchase software, that should be an immediate red flag.

There are many viruses out there that appear to be virus scanning software and alert users to a threat found on their computer. Then, it directs you to purchase software that will remove the virus. Unfortunately, this is a nefarious scam, where a virus tries to trick people into paying for a fake product. In this situation, you will need to download a real antivirus product to remove the fake one.

Step Three: Determine if your Antivirus Removed the Virus

After verifying that it is really your virus scan software that detected something, it’s important to know if your software has removed or neutralized the threat by itself. Often, your virus scan software will be able to detect and remove minor malware infections, viruses and other unwanted programs on its own. If it shows the virus was removed or deleted, then you should reboot your computer and run another full scan. Unfortunately, many times a computer will appear to be clean, but the virus will reappear after the machine is rebooted.

Step Four: Know When to Call Tech Support

If your virus scan software cannot successfully remove the virus on its own, then it may be time to call for help. Some antivirus vendors offer phone support to their customers, and this can be an excellent resource for removing stubborn virus infections. Additionally, IT support services offered by companies like The Geek Squad or local computer companies can also help you successfully recover your computer. While it may not be fun to pay a professional to clean up your computer, it is the best way to insure the virus gets removed and your data is salvaged.

Prevention is the Best Cure

When it comes to dealing with viruses, prevention is truly the best cure possible. Even IT professionals cannot always remove a virus without losing data on your computer. The best way to avoid the frustration of dealing with viruses is to avoid downloading them completely. Good habits like avoiding malicious websites and refusing to open emails from senders you do not know are excellent ways to avoid the majority of computer viruses.

Additionally, if a virus does unintentionally get downloaded, antivirus software can prevent it from running and damaging your machine. Always run a trusted brand of antivirus software, and ensure it is kept up-to-date.

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