How to remove malware from Windows 10
Getting malware on your Windows 10 device, however unlikely it may seem, is still possible these days. New malware is getting created every day, and the number of potential threats to your device and information is getting higher by a minute. One wrong click, and your PC gets infected with a virus. In turn, your files and security get compromised.
Detecting and removing malware from your device at the early stages is extremely important. The sooner you get rid of malware, the less damage it can do. Luckily, there are countless malware removal tools that help deal with virus infections. Getting rid of malicious software is possible.
However, it may not always be crystal clear on how to do it. With that in mind, in this article I explain how to detect and remove malware from your Windows 10 device.
The easiest way to guard your Windows 10 device against malware is to use antivirus software. TotalAV antivirus can provide good protection against most malicious programs.
What is malware?
Malware, or malicious software, is a type of software specifically created and designed to cause harm. There are many types of malware with varying degrees of maliciousness. The most prominent ones are viruses, ransomware, spyware, adware, rootkits and bootkits, and bots.
All of these malware types work a little differently and may be designed for seemingly different purposes. But the general intent of malware creators is to steal data, compromise files, get money, and simply cause harm to individuals or organizations.
How do I know malware is on my computer?
Malware that’s infected your computer is not always easily detectable and can be very subtly running in the background. Though some types of malware, like adware or ransomware, are easier to spot. If you suspect that your Windows 10 device got infected with malware, check for these signs:
- Ads pop up in unexpected places, frequently.
- You’ll see a ransom message in case of ransomware infection.
- Device is running slower than usual.
- Device is consuming more power than necessary.
- Your device is behaving strangely, such as installing programs without your consent, even after rebooting it.
How to remove malware from Windows 10
It can be pretty scary when your device gets infected with malware, and getting rid of it may seem very difficult. But even though it requires many steps, removing malware from your device is totally possible. To help you, here’s a comprehensive and easy to follow step-by-step guide on how to remove malware from your Windows 10 device:
Step 1. Disconnect from the internet
The first step to take when you want to remove malware from your computer is disconnecting from the internet and turning off your router. That way, hackers won’t be able to continue stealing your data.
However, disconnecting from the internet doesn’t solve the core of the problem. Continue following the next steps to completely remove malware from your Windows 10 device.
Step 2. Switch to Safe Mode
Safe Mode starts your device in a way that allows only the main software and programs to load. So, if a cyberthreat on your device usually loads automatically, Safe Mode will stop it from doing that. This will in turn make for easier malware removal. Here’s how to enter Safe Mode:
- On the left side of your screen, click the Windows logo.
- Type in “Settings” and click on the search result.
- Press “Updates & Security”.
- On the left side of the window, find “Recovery” and click on it. Then, press “Restart now” in the Advanced startup section.
- When your device restarts, a blue screen with a few options will appear. Select the “Troubleshoot” button.
- Click on “Advanced options”.
- Select “Startup settings”.
- Once another blue window appears, find the “Enable Safe Mode” option. Click number 4 on your keyboard.
- You are now in safe mode.
Step 3. Uninstall suspicious programs
As malware usually gets installed through infected programs, removing those programs is the most important step in getting rid of any threats. Here’s how to do that:
- Click on the Windows logo key in the left corner of your screen and type in “Control Panel”. Select it.
- Find the “Uninstall a program” button under the Programs section.
- If the issue is recent, you can click on “Installed on” to find any newly installed programs that might be suspicious.
- Select the application(s) you want to remove and press “Uninstall”. Or, you can also remove it by right-clicking on the program.
Step 4. Delete temporary files
Hackers sometimes like to place malware in the temp folder. This is because users overlook it and don’t scan the folder with an antivirus. Here’s how you can remove malware from the temporary files folder:
- Press Windows + R key combination. It’ll open the RUN window.
- In the pop-up window, type in “%temp%” and click “OK”.
- The temporary file folder will open. Delete all files and folders that are in this destination.
- Right-click on your Recycle bin. Press “Empty Recycle Bin”.
Step 5. Reinstall your browser
Some types of malware can make changes to your default browser. To infect your computer again once you connect to the internet, malware changes the default homepage to a malicious one and installs unsafe extensions.
However, you can get ahead of this by uninstalling your browser. Remove the browser in the “Uninstall a program” option under Programs of Windows Control panel and. Reinstall the browser once you connect to the internet again.
Step 6. Run a malware scan
While you can remove malware manually, it’s not always possible to keep up with everything that gets into your computer. If you get a quality antivirus, you can be sure you’ll be protected in real-time, all the time. The process of removing malware with an antivirus is extremely simple:
- Get an antivirus software of your choice. We’d recommend the Norton 360 antivirus because it gives you overall protection and notifies you when your device gets infected.
- Run a scan.
- After the scan is done, follow the recommendations of the antivirus.
That’s it! You’ve removed malware from your device.
How can I protect my PC against malware?
Now that you’ve removed malware from your device, we suspect you don’t want to get infected again. Here are some protective measures you can take to avoid getting malware onto your device in the future:
- Install antivirus software. It will constantly scan any and all files and systems for threats and will help remove them. The best antivirus software also comes with many additional security features. Norton antivirus is the best, in our opinion.
- Keep your PC’s security software always up to date, as many malware types exploit vulnerabilities in security systems.
- Only download apps and programs from official websites and double check every time. Malware has a tendency to disguise itself as legitimate programs or even antivirus software.
- Avoid clicking on suspicious links and opening emails with attachments that you weren’t expecting, or that seem dangerous.
- Use an antivirus browser extension to scan every document and attachement and stay safe at all times.
As it should be now clear, malware can cause serious security problems. It is dangerous while roaming free in the wilds of the internet, and even more so when it’s gotten into your device. It can encrypt your files, enlist your device into a botnet or simply scour your device for information to steal and corrupt.
And even though your Windows 10 device comes with a default Windows Defender software, it may not be enough, especially if your device got infected. However, removing malware from Windows 10 is possible, both manually and using a trusty antivirus program.
On top of that, taking preventative measures to ensure your computer is under protection is in your best interest. Whether you’ve never dealt with malware before or have already had some unfortunate encounters, installing an antivirus software and practicing general security hygiene is the best way to go.
What is the best malware removal tool?
While some malware types can be removed manually from mobile devices and computers alike, the help of some additional tools is generally considered good practice. The best tool for removing malware is an antivirus. According to our list of the best antivirus software of 2023, Norton Antivirus is the best malware removal tool.
Can you get rid of malware by deleting files?
Yes, you can get rid of malware by deleting files. Deleting files from temporary files folder and trash bin not only removes malicious files and programs, but it also can help speed up the antivirus scanning process.
What is the best antivirus for Windows 10?
The best antivirus for Windows 10 is Norton Antivirus. It has a lot of safety features, is known for exceptional scores in independent tests, and has an excellent free version.
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