How to Properly Scan Your Computer for Malware?
Software operating systems have improved significantly in their ability to protect users from online threats such as malware and viruses. At the end of the day, if you aren’t careful, your machine will still be compromised. So, how can you tell if your machine has been infected with malware, and how can you get rid of it?
Scanning your machine thoroughly and correctly for viruses and other malware such as Trojan horses, rootkits, spyware, worms, and other threats is a common troubleshooting measure. A “basic” virus scan is no longer sufficient.
Many types of malware trigger or disguise themselves as seemingly unrelated Windows and PC issues such as Blue Screens of Death, DLL file issues, crashes, irregular hard drive behavior, unfamiliar screens or pop-ups, and other severe Windows issues, so it’s critical to thoroughly scan your computer for malware before attempting to resolve any issues.
How To Check For Malware?
A quick and simple way to check for malware would be to look at your Task Manager in Windows to see what apps or services are being run at the moment.
- Launch Task Manager
- Under Processes, look for software or services that look unfamiliar
- Right-click the process and select “Search online”
What this does is that it searches online for the process to see if other people have the same process running on their computers. Sometimes a process might not be familiar to you but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is malware or a virus. If you still can’t find what’s going on, then perhaps it’s time to do a scan.
1.Launch Windows Security
- Select “Virus & threat protection”
- Click “Quick scan”
- If you prefer, you can click “Scan options” and choose a full scan if you want a more thorough search
- If a virus or malware has been detected, you will then have the option to remove it from your PC
Like we said, these days operating systems are becoming better at protecting us from online threats and malware, but it’s always a good idea to be mindful of what you do online to prevent yourself from getting infected in the first place. This includes:
- Not opening emails or email attachments from people you don’t know
- Click on suspicious links sent from text messages or websites
- Always double-check to make sure that an email or website you visit is who they claim to be
- Avoid downloading or running .exe (executable files) from untrusted sources
2. Update your antivirus/antimalware software installed on your computer.
Before running a complete malware/virus scan, you need to make sure the virus definitions are up to date. These regular updates tell your antivirus software how to find and remove the latest viruses from your PC.
3.Run a complete virus scan on your entire computer.
If you happen to have another non-persistent (not always running) antimalware tool installed, like SUPERAntiSpyware or Malwarebytes, run that, too, when this is done.
Signs Of Being Infected By Malware
If your computer starts acting strangely one day and does things it usually wouldn’t, it’s a potential indication that something is wrong. There could be several explanations for this, like outdated hardware, a component that isn’t working properly, an operating system bug, or it could be a warning of something more sinister.
For example, if you notice your PC is running much slower than normal, it may be malware using your PC’s resources in the background. So, how do you know if it’s there?
Should You Back Up Before Running Virus Scans?
Backing up your machine before a scan might seem like a good idea. You don’t want your sensitive papers, videos, photographs, and other files to be deleted along with the viruses, after all.
While backing up before a virus scan can be beneficial, be cautious about what you back up. The last thing you want is to save all of your data files in a backup and then delete the viruses, just for them to reappear when you recover!
Unfortunately, you won’t know what’s secure to back up and what’s better left on your machine for the malware scan until you know exactly what’s infected.
You can ensure that the most valuable files are backed up by copying them to an external hard drive or backing them up online while leaving the rest of your files where they are. In any case, a virus scan alone is unlikely to corrupt your files.
Another approach is to make a backup of everything you want and then run a virus scan on your computer. If something is discovered, make a note of can files are compromised and then uninstall or search the backed up files as well to ensure that the risks have been removed from both the originals and backups.