How to Kill a Computer Worm

by Joshua Duvauchelle

A computer worm is a type of computer virus that infects data and can cause network failures, slow Internet connections and a loss of files. Protecting your PC from computer worms is critical. Sometimes, even the best preventive measures don't stop a computer worm. Learn how to remove a computer worm from your PC to restore your computer's security, protect your personal data and increase productivity.

Understand the differences between a computer worm virus and a regular computer virus. A computer worm is a self-replicating piece of malicious software. It uses a computer network, such as the Internet, to make copies of itself and send itself to other computers. Unlike viruses, a worm does not need the owner of the computer to do anything. Viruses rarely affect an Internet connection, while a computer worm can significantly slow your connection speeds, because it requires bandwidth to replicate.

Never open emails from unrecognized email addresses. Don't open suspicious-looking files, even if they're from friends.

Install a firewall and antivirus program. Some software developers, including companies such as McAfee and Norton, offer paid security programs that include antivirus and firewall properties. If you do not want to spend money on such software, consider downloading free products such as AVG Antivirus and ZoneAlarm Firewall (links in the Resources section).

Disable System Restore if you suspect that your computer has been infected by a computer worm. Click the Start menu, right-click the My Computer icon and select Properties. Click the System Restore tab in the window that appears. Click the checkbox next to the heading that reads "Turn off System Restore." Click OK and close the window. System Restore is the built-in backup utility in the Windows operating system. If it is running, it may create backups of the computer worm.

Scan your computer using the antivirus software that you downloaded and installed in Step 3. The antivirus program will not be able to remove active worms infecting the computer. However, the software will tell you what type of worm the PC is infected with. Write down the name of the worm that the antivirus software discovered while scanning your PC.

Shut down the antivirus software. Antivirus software should never be disabled except in extenuating circumstances such as these. If it is running while you attempt to remove the computer worm, it may conflict with your removal methods and cause a system error.

Download the appropriate worm removal kit from the website of Kaspersky Labs, an antivirus company (link in the Resources section). Look for the name of the worm you found in Step 6 in the list of worms on the Kaspersky page. Click the appropriate file to download a worm removal tool specifically targeted at the computer worm in your PC. Run the downloaded file and follow the on-screen prompts to remove the worm.

Turn your antivirus software back on. Also, repeat Step 4 but enable System Restore rather than disable it.

Tip

  • check Regularly back up your computer data to prevent loss if your PC is ever infected by a computer worm.

About the Author

Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.