How to Find Keyloggers & Malware on a Laptop (8 Steps)

By Jennifer Leighton

When someone other than you accesses your computer, your personal information may be at risk. Keyloggers and other malicious software, or malware, can be a dangerous presence on your computer, especially because you often won't notice them unless you know what to look for. These types of programs can capture each computer keystroke, stealing information such as user names, passwords, and credit card information. There are specific areas to check to see if a keylogger or malware has infected your computer.

Anti-Keylogger and Anti-Malware Programs

Step 1

Run a virus scan using the antivirus program installed on your computer. Microsoft Windows Defender is a free antivirus program that includes keylogger and malware discovery and removal. The program may come installed with your version of Windows. If your computer does not have Windows Defender, you can download it for free at the Windows Defender website.

Step 2

Install a dedicated anti-keylogger and anti-malware program. CNet recommends programs such as Malwarebytes, AdAware and Spybot. These programs are specifically designed to search for and remove even the most highly advanced keylogger and malware programs. Trial versions of these programs are free of charge, but downloading the full program will incur a cost in some cases.

Run the dedicated anti-keylogger program on your computer. These programs are capable of running while you browse the Internet, but the program may slow down your computer as it searches for threats. Anti-malware programs will report any threats found and will safely quarantine them in a virus vault, which is then removed from your computer.

Manual Removal

Step 1

Access the Start menu and select "Control Panel."

Step 2

Click "Programs" followed by "Programs and Features."

Step 3

Scroll down the list of installed programs--they are listed in alphabetical order. For any unrecognized programs, open a new window and search for the name of the program. If this is a malware or keylogger program, this information will be revealed when you visit the program's main website.

Step 4

Highlight and click on the name of any program that you have identified as a keylogger or malware program. Click "Uninstall" when the option appears. The time for uninstalling the program may vary depending upon the size and type of program.

Restart the computer when prompted. The malware or keylogger program will be uninstalled when your computer restarts.