What to Do When You Cannot Download Any Antivirus?

by Margaret Worthington

When a computer becomes infected with a virus or other piece of malicious software, it can cause the computer to refuse to download and install antivirus software. This occurs when the virus or malware blocks the antivirus software from being downloaded or installed in an attempt to keep itself from being deleted from the computer. While this type of problem can be difficult to get around, there are some steps you can take.

Online Scanners

Several companies offer online virus scanners in the event that you are unable to download or install an antivirus program on your computer. Eset, Kaspersky and Trend Micro are three well-known, reliable anti-virus companies that offer online scanners on their websites. To use their scanners, visit their websites and follow the instructions on how to run the online scanner. In many cases, this will solve the problem of not being able to install antivirus software, and once your system has been cleaned by the online scanner, you will be able to install desktop antivirus software.

Install in Safe Mode

The Windows operating system has a special mode called "safe mode" that allows you to boot up the operating system with the bare minimum drivers and programs loaded. To get into safe mode, restart your computer, and press F8 while the computer is starting up. Choose the menu option to boot into safe mode, and after a few minutes of loading, you will be presented with a low-resolution version of your computer's login prompt. In safe mode, no extraneous services or software are loaded, including most viruses and malware that can be installed on your PC. Once you are in safe mode, you can attempt to download and install your antivirus software without the hindrance of the program that blocks its installation in a normal start-up.

Reinstall Windows

If no other method of downloading and installing an antivirus program works, then reinstalling your computer's operating system is the method of last resort for cleaning your computer. Reinstalling the operating system will wipe all of the data and programs that were on the computer, including the malicious programs that are blocking the antivirus software from being installed. You should back up all of your data before performing this step, as you will not be able to recover it once your operating system is reinstalled. However, once you have completed the re-installation process, you should be able to quickly install an antivirus application.

About the Author

Margaret Worthington has been writing and editing since 2001. Her work includes editorials and articles for a college newspaper, toy articles for Hasbro, copy-editing a romance novel and rewriting a publication for "GreenBlue." Worthington holds an Associate of Arts in English and journalism from Piedmont Virginia Community College and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Virginia.