If you notice a sudden drop in your computer’s performance after you have browsed the Web or opened a particular e-mail attachment, it’s quite likely that a malware, such as virus or spyware has broken into your system. Due to a large number of viruses and spyware pushed onto your computer through the Internet and spam email attachments, this problem has become quite common with most PC users today. Luckily, there are efficient security programs available that we can use to perform a full system scan and keep our computers free from malicious software.
Discussed below are the steps you can follow to install a security program on your computer and run it regularly to prevent any malware infections.
- Disconnect your computer from the Internet and network.
The moment you notice that your computer is behaving strangely, you must disconnect it from the Internet and network. You need to do this to prevent malicious programs from downloading more malware files from the Internet and to stop them from spreading over the network. Malicious programs usually spread over the network by accessing fully shared folders and sending mass e-mails.
- Implement a security program to provide all-around protection.
After disconnecting, install the latest security program on your system by following the guidelines provided by the product manufacturer. Avoid installing old software versions because they are not as capable in combating the high-tech viruses of today. After installing the software, connect your PC to the Internet, update the software with the latest virus definitions, and complete the installation process.
- Activate security features of the security program.
After installing and updating the security software, open it to ensure that all security features included in the software are enabled and are working fine. You may change the configuration settings based on your requirements. Add-on features such as parental control and spam blocker can be enabled later because they do not play a role in virus prevention.
- Run a full system scan.
Next, run a full scan on your system using your updated and configured security program. Run a complete scan on all drives of your computer. You may also run a scan on external drives that you frequently connect to your PC. After the scan is complete, review the report to ensure that all folders were checked for viruses. If the report is clean, rerun the scan to ensure that no virus is left behind. If no virus is found on the system during both the scans, then the erratic behavior of your PC must be due to some other problem, such as registry errors, software issues, or malfunctioning hardware devices. You can use registry cleaner and PC diagnostic utilities to identify and fix these problems.
- Delete the found malicious files and programs.
If the scan reports one or more infections, then follow the instructions provided by your security program–heal, delete, quarantine or restore–to deal with them. Check if any critical application file or data file is showing infections. In this case, ensure that you have a backup of these files before you delete or quarantine them. Removing application files may prevent them from running properly, therefore, you may have to reinstall them.
- Run the scan again until you do not get any errors.
After you have taken corrective actions to handle the reported infections, rerun the scan to ensure that no infected file is left behind. Repeat scanning until no threats are reported. Next, it is recommended that you take a backup of your critical data, so that you can keep it safe from future problems.
Other than running a full system scan, to prevent malware infections in the future, you must allow your security program to run in the background at all times. This helps you in implementing real-time protection on your computer. Ensure that your antivirus software is regularly updated with the latest virus definitions so that you are protected against any new viruses spreading across the Internet. Be a vigilant user, and do not visit dubious websites or open unsolicited emails. Finally, in addition to a security program, use tools such as registry cleaner and PC diagnostics to ensure overall maintenance of your PC.