How to Check Your Computer for Viruses & Malware

by Rita Wood

If your computer is infected with viruses and malware, there are tools you can use to remove them. Some of the ways your computer can get infected are downloading files, visiting malicious websites, through email and opening attachments that you are unsure of. Running scans with a virus and malware scanner program ensures that you will keep your computer free of viruses and malware.

Ad-Aware Free

Download the Ad-Aware program. Click on the installation link, and follow the onscreen instructions to install the program on your computer. Open Ad-Aware Free by clicking on the icon on your desktop or through the "Start" menu. Ad-Aware will open and automatically update. This update will take approximately one hour.

Click "Start," then "Next" and Ad-Aware will scan your computer for spyware. This scan will take approximately 30 minutes, depending on how many infected files are on your computer.

Check the boxes next to each item found and click "Next" and "OK" to confirm. If you want to check all the check boxes, right-click anywhere on the list and click "Select All Objects." Ad-Aware will remove the spyware from your computer and return to the home screen. Close Ad-Aware by clicking the "X" in the top right corner.

Spybot Search & Destroy

Download Spybot Search & Destroy. Click the installation link to install the program on your computer.

Open Spybot Search & Destroy through the "Start" menu or by clicking the icon on your desktop. If this is the first time you have used Spybot Search & Destroy, it will open to a wizard. Click "Next" until you get to Step 5. On Step 5, click "Search for updates" to download the latest update file.

Click "Check for Problems" and Spybot Search & Destroy will scan your computer for spyware and malware. Spybot Search & Destroy displays a list of the malware and spyware files found. Put a check in each box and click "Fix selected problems." Click "Next" and "Yes" to confirm. Spybot Search & Destroy will now remove the infected files. When it is finished, close the application by clicking on the "X" in the top right corner.


Download Stinger. Click the installation link and install the program on your computer.

Check the drives listed in the "Directories to Scan" window and make sure it says "C:/." Click "Scan Now" in the top left corner. If Stinger finds any viruses, they will be listed in the window. Stinger automatically removes any viruses found.

Click the red "X" in the top right corner to close the Stinger application when it has finished scanning your computer.

Trend Micro Housecall

Navigate to the Trend Micro Housecall website to perform an online virus . Click "Scan Now, It's Free" to scan your computer for viruses. If you suspect a computer virus, you should update and run your virus scanner, and an online scanner. The o-line scanner is not installed on your computer, and only available for online use. Running an online scan in conjunction with your other antivirus software ensures that your computer is virus-free. The scan will take approximately one hour to run.

Look through the screen that displays when the virus scan is complete. If you have any viruses, Trend Micro will display a list of the viruses. Click "Fix" in the bottom right corner to remove any viruses.

Close the website when the scan is finished. If Trend Micro found a virus, you should run a second scan.

About the Author

Based in Tennessee, Rita Wood has been writing since 1999. Her writing has appeared primarily on eHow and regularly for private clients. Rita works at her local library donating her time to the children’s literacy program and is a graduate of Nashville State Technical Institute with an associate degree in computer information systems.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Computer image by Altmann from