How to Uninstall Malware
Malware often gets installed on your computer without your knowledge or consent, usually when you access a particular website. It is a type of malicious software that serves no useful purpose from your point of view and can include viruses, worms, and programs that illegally allow remote access to your system. Malware is often placed on your PC for marketing purposes — it may collect your personal information or track your browsing habits in order to be able to sell to you more effectively. The information collected can, of course, be used for more dishonest purposes and at best the malware is likely to slow things down, particularly when browsing the internet.
Some malware operates under a particular guise with the aim of persuading you to spend money. Malware defender is reputed to be such a program, appearing to be security software, but with the trial version triggering off fake alarms to encourage you to upgrade to the paid for version.
The best course of action is to prevent any kind of malicious software getting on to your PC in the first place. For this, you need to install a good quality anti-virus program and ensure you keep it up-to-date. If something does get through, what you must do is to remove malware without delay.
How to Uninstall Malware
In some cases, you might be fortunate in that the malicious software may be recognizable and properly installed so that you can remove malware as you would any other program. Select Add or Remove Programs or Programs and Features (depending on your operating system version) in the Control Panel. A list of currently installed programs will appear and you may be able to identify the malware on the list. If so, select it and choose to uninstall.
Malware, by its nature, tends to be secretive software and so will not normally be listed for removal like a normal program. You may be able to remove malware automatically by running a scan with anti-virus or anti-spyware software. Windows Defender, which comes with Windows Vista and is available as a free download for XP, may also be able to uninstall malware. Failing this, you can do this manually but it involves a number of steps and you need to proceed carefully. Before starting, create a restore point so you can get back to a working version in case of problems.
The first step is to stop the malware running. If you know what it’s called, press the Ctrl, Alt and Del keys together to load the Task Manager, select the Processes tab, click on the malicious software entry and choose to end the process. Alternatively, restart your computer in safe mode (press the F8 key while it is restarting and then choose the safe mode), which should ensure the malware is disabled.
You can stop the malware running in future by clearing it from the task scheduler (right-click My Computer, select Manage followed by Task Scheduler) or the Startup folder in the Start menu. In older version of Windows, check the autorun.ini and autoexec.bat files and remove its entry.
To actually remove malware manually is a bit more complex and requires that you clear its entries from the registry. You will need to know the name of the malware and its registry entry. At the Start menu, select Run, type ‘regedit’ and click OK. Scroll down to the registry entry and delete it.
Malware often has associated direct link library (dll) files and you must delete these. At the Start menu, select Run, type ‘regsvr32 /u [dll_name]’, where dll_name is the name to be cleared. Press Enter to unregister it.
The final step is to delete the malware files themselves. Open Windows Explorer, ensure all hidden files are visible (in the Tools menu, select Folder Options then choose to ‘Show hidden files and folders’ under the View tab), then identify and delete the files.