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My five favorite virus and malware removal tools

Having your computer get infected with a virus or malware can be an actual stressful situation. And finding software that can remove the infection can be even more stressful. So here are my five favorite virus and malware removal tools.

My five favorite virus and malware removal tools

As a computer repair technician, I have used many different tools over the years to remove viruses, malware, and adware. I have seen plenty of software that works like a charm, only to be bought out by their competitor or never updated.

Now some programs have withstood the test of time. Some of them you have to install fully, some you just download and run. But all of the programs listed here have been around for several years.

Anti-virus programs

The AV Test user interface

I get asked quite often about what anti-virus software I recommend. This is a tricky question to answer because there are so many decent free and paid AV programs out there.

I suggest checking some of the independent anti-virus review sites and see what is recommended. I personally like AV Test as they review only anti-virus and security software.

Windows 10 does include an AV program called Windows Defender, and it does rank pretty high, but it does have a limited feature set. If you are looking for AV software with a bunch of bells and whistles, Windows Defender may not be what you are looking for.

One of the first things you may want to do is check and see if your Internet Service Provider (ISP) provides a branded version of AV software. Sometimes you can get a complete security suite from your ISP for free.

But remember that the majority of AV programs look for viruses and malware, not adware or junkware. That is why I use several different programs for cleaning up an infected computer.

AV Test

AdwCleaner

The AdwCleaner user interface

When it comes to cleaning up a compromised Internet browser, nothing beats AdwCleaner. It can find the most hidden malicious browser extensions and reset your network adapter all at the same time.

AdwCleaner requires no installation; just download and run. It also does not require an Internet connection but will download program and database updates if it can connect to the Internet.

AdwCleaner

Malwarebytes

The Malwarebytes user interface

As the name implies, it does a great job of finding and removing malware. It is also fantastic at finding and eliminating Probably Unwanted Programs (PUP) and junkware.

This program does have to have an Internet connection to complete its installation, and it is configured in a full 14-day trial mode. You can deactivate the trial license and just run it when you want to perform a scan.

The only thing I do not like about it is that it sets itself to start with Windows automatically. You can easily change this by right-clicking on the Malwarebyte icon in the Taskbar and deselect Start with Windows.

Malwarebytes

SUPERAntiSpyware

The SUPERAntiSpyware user interface

This program is excellent at finding those pesky little cookies that browsers seem to collect. It also does an excellent job of finding and removing PUPs and junkware.

This program does require full installation but does not need Internet access to complete the install. The full version does have some cool features, but if you are just trying to clean up your system, the basic version will work.

SUPERAntiSpyware

Microsoft Safety Scanner

The Microsoft Safety Scanner user interface

The Microsoft Safety Scanner is a stand-alone scanner, just download and run. It does a fantastic job of finding malware that has dug itself deep inside of Windows.

It does have only three options: Quick Scan, Full Scan, and Customized Scan. The Quick Scan looks in areas of Windows that are most likely to contain viruses, spyware, and malware. The Customized Scan is similar to the Quick Scan but allows scanning of a user-specified folder.

The Full Scan does just that; it scans every file on your computer. This is the most thorough scan but can take hours or even days to complete. But if you are looking for something that may be deeply embedded in Windows, this is the type of scan you want to perform.

Now the Microsoft Safety Scanner is time-stamped and will only run for ten days after you download it, so you will need to download a new version every time you want to perform a system scan.

Microsoft Safety Scanner

Remove malware, viruses and spyware with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Virus removal can be a tricky thing, so a good anti-virus program is a must. And remember that you can only have one anti-virus program installed at a time because they will conflict with each other and degrade system performance. But did you know that there are programs that work as companions to your existing anti-virus software? One of my favorites is Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

The main screen inside of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
The main screen inside of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware looks for items that may otherwise be overlooked by anti-virus software, like keystroke/password loggers, rootkits, and spyware. It works great for finding PUP's (probably unwanted program), PUM's (potentially unwanted modifications), and P2P (peer to peer) software.

The settings screen inside of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
The settings screen inside of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware comes in four (4) versions; Free, Pro, Small Business, and Enterprise.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free features include:

  • Advanced malware detection and removal
  • Industry-proven clean-up technologies eradicate existing malware infections
  • Rapid response malware database and heuristics updates
  • Access to expert community and knowledgeable support teams through e-mail and forums
  • Chameleon technology gets Malwarebytes running on infected systems
  • Multi-language support

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Pro, Small Business and Enterprise features include:

  • All of the features of the free version
  • Real-time active malware prevention engine blocks known threats
  • Heuristic protection prevents new zero-day malware infections
  • Malicious website protection blocks access to known and zero-day malicious web content
  • Automatic priority updates and scheduled scanning
  • Fast flash scans

Here's a quote from Malwarebytes website:

Detect and Protect with Byte

Malware is big and malware is bad. Your computer is constantly at risk from infection by malware including viruses, worms, trojans, rootkits, dialers and spyware. Malwarebytes specializes in fighting malware.

If viruses are mischief, malware is mayhem. Malware doesn't just want to disrupt your network, it wants your keystrokes, logins, passwords, address book, data, credit card information, favorite t-shirt and possibly your cat.

Malware is not going away any time soon. Malware is growing, developing, constantly evolving. Malware is becoming more difficult to detect, and even harder to remove.

Only the most sophisticated anti-malware techniques can detect and remove malicious programs from your computer. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware PRO combines powerful new technologies designed to seek out, destroy, and prevent malware.

For more information on Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, just follow the link below:

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

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Here at Geeks in Phoenix, we take pride in providing excellent customer service. We aim to give the highest quality of service  from computer repair, virus removal, and data recovery.

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Diagnosing PC problems can be time-consuming. From running memory checking software to scanning for viruses, these are processes can take some time. We base our in-shop service on the actual time we work on your computer, not the time it takes your computer to work!

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Phoenix, Arizona 85008
(602) 795-1111

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Geeks in Phoenix is an IT consulting company specializing in servicing laptop and desktop computers. Since 2008, our expert and knowledgeable technicians have provided excellent computer repair, virus removal, data recovery, photo manipulation, and website support to the greater Phoenix metro area.

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