How to Fix a Computer Virus

by Tricia Goss ; Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Windows XP or earlier

  • Internet Explorer

  • Internet access

  • Computer virus

You are busily checking your email, working on a research paper or playing a game (and winning) when it hits. Something weird happens on your computer. You get a pop-up message telling you that your computer is infected, or perhaps 157 new browser windows open. Your computer has a virus. While you certainly should not panic, it is good to know how to fix viruses. Following tips for computer virus repair improves your chances of getting rid of it immediately. But are you a pro at computer virus repair? No fear, read on for help.

Open Internet Explorer. Click \"Tools\" on the toolbar, and then click on \"Internet Options.\" Make sure you are on the \"General\" tab and click the \"Delete\" button in the \"Browsing\" section. Click on \"Delete Files,\" \"Delete Cookies,\" \"Delete History,\" and \"Delete Forms.\" This will remove all of the temporary Internet files that can contain viruses.

Right click \"My Computer\" and click on \"Properties.\" Click the \"System Restore\" tab and select the \"Turn off System Restore\" checkbox. Click \"Apply\" and then \"OK.\" Many viruses copy files to your System Restore folder. Turning off System Restore will stop the virus from reinstalling when you restart your computer.

Click the \"Start\" button and then click \"Run.\" Type \"winmsd\" (without the quotes) into the \"Open\" box and click \"OK.\" Expand \"Software Environment\" by clicking the plus sign beside it. Click on \"Startup Programs.\"

Check the programs in your \"Startup Programs\" against a list of reputable software and malware or viruses, which you can find online (see Resources). If you find any viruses in your \"Startup Programs,\" run an computer virus scan such as Trend Micro HouseCall or Panda ActiveScan (see Resources).

Remove the virus manually if the virus scan does not work and the virus begins with \"HKLM\" in your \"Startup Programs.\" To do this, click \"Start,\" then \"Run,\" and type in \"regedit\" (without quotes). Find the virus in the Windows Registry, select it and delete it.

Tip

  • When deleting temporary Internet files, do not click the \"Delete Passwords\" button if you use Internet Explorer to save passwords for you, or they will be lost.<br /><br />Deleting the wrong file or making other incorrect changes to the Windows Registry can cause your computer to fail. Only manipulate the Registry if you are completely comfortable doing so. If not, take your computer to a professional for assistance.

About the Author

Tricia Goss' credits include Fitness Plus, Good News Tucson and Layover Magazine. She is certified in Microsoft application and served as the newsletter editor for OfficeUsers.org. She has also contributed to The Dollar Stretcher, Life Tips and Childcare Magazine.

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