Uh oh, my computer is infected. What now?
It has happened to most of us. That dreaded moment when you realize you have a computer virus, malware, or other infection. It's no fun feeling violated and helpless. Some infections are so aggressive, nothing seems to get rid of them. While no single tool can get rid of all infections, using the right strategies can help ensure you get your computer back to a healthy state.
There are different steps you should take depending on the severity of the infection. Read the instructions below to find out what you should do for each level of infection.
Level 1 - Simple Infection: Run Anti-Virus Software
The first step in battling an infection is to run anti-virus software. There are a number of free and paid versions out there and all perform the scanning and cleaning process differently. SystemSaver includes anti-virus software to help you find any nasty infections. Hopefully this is the only step you have to take to cure your infection.
Level 2 - Aggressive Infection: Permanently Delete Your Personal Data and OS Accounts
If anti-virus software doesn't solve your problem, you can take more drastic measures and delete your personal data. However, knowing what exactly to delete is very difficult and traditional methods of deletion don't permanently remove the data and files from your drive. SystemSaver will allow you to securely and permanently delete your data and user accounts while keeping your Operating System and programs intact. Any infections hiding within those files and folders will be wiped out.
Before you wipe your data, be sure to back up any important files or documents you want to keep. Many or most of them won't be infected and you can reintroduce them individually to your computer once the infection has been cured.
Level 3 - Invasive Infection: Permanently Delete Your Whole Hard Drive and Install a Fresh Version of Your Operating System
Some infections just won't go away despite trying every tool available. In such cases, your only solution may be to start fresh by deleting your entire drive and re installing your operating system. However, just reformatting your hard drive or re installing your operating system doesn't ensure all your previous data is gone. To be safe, you should completely and permanently wipe your entire hard drive before re installing. Using WipeDrive to erase your hard drive will give you absolute assurance that your infection is completely wiped out.
As with a level 2 infection you'll want to backup important personal files so you can systematically reintroduce them once your infection has been cleaned. Granted it's not convenient to go through this process but sometimes it's your only last-ditch choice.
Maintaining a Secure Computer
Now that you've cleaned off any infections how do you keep your computer free from future problems? Again, there are a number of free and paid tools that can help.
The same anti-virus software you used to clean your infection can be used to ensure your computer stays clean. Use the anti-virus software included with SystemSaver or choose your favorite free or paid version. Windows provides a free program called Security Essentials that has proven effective for many users in preventing an infection. Anti-virus tools will scan your computer on a regular basis to look for infections and will even alert you of infections as they try to invade your computer.
Regularly Delete Unused Personal Data.
Did you know that much of the activities on your computer are tracked? Most people know that your internet browser may keep a record of the sites you visit and the information you enter in forms. This can contain sensitive personal information such as passwords, your social security number and banking information. But did you also know that programs such as word processors may keep a temporary version of the files you open and edit? Even after you "delete" this temporary and cached data it isn't really gone.
Tools like WhiteCanyon's SecureClean make it easy to keep this hidden, cached, and "deleted" data securely and permanently erased from your hard drive. You can also schedule SecureClean to delete this data automatically on a daily or weekly basis. Not only does this keep your information secure, it can improve system performance.