3. Step 1: Enter Safe Mode
Before you do anything, you need to
disconnect your PC from the internet, and don’t
use it until you’re ready to clean your PC.
This can help prevent the malware from
spreading and/or leaking your private data.
If you think your PC may have a malware
infection, boot your PC into Microsoft’s Safe
Mode. In this mode, only the minimum required
programs and services are loaded.
If any malware is set to load automatically when
Windows starts, entering in this mode may
prevent it from doing so.
4. Step 2: Delete temporary files
Now that you’re in Safe Mode, you’ll want to run
a virus scan.
But before you do that, delete your temporary
Doing this may speed up the virus scanning,
free up disk space, and even get rid of some
To use the Disk Cleanup utility included with
Windows 10 just type Disk Cleanup in the
search bar or after pressing the Start button
and select the tool that appears named Disk
5. Step 3: Download malware
Now you’re ready to have a malware scanner do its work—
and fortunately, running a scanner is enough to remove
most standard infections.
If you already had an antivirus program active on your
computer, you should use a different scanner for this
malware check, since your current antivirus software may
not have detected the malware.
Remember, no antivirus program can detect 100
percent of the millions of malware types and variants.
6. Step 4: Run a scan with
For illustrative purposes, we’ll describe how to
use the Malwarebytes on-demand scanner. To
get started, download it.
If you disconnected from the internet for safety
reasons when you first suspected that you
might be infected, reconnect to it so you can
download, install, and update Malwarebytes;
then disconnect from the internet again before
you start the actual scanning.
If you can’t access the internet or you can’t
download Malwarebytes on the infected
computer, download it on another computer,
After downloading Malwarebytes, run the setup
file and follow the wizard to install the program.
Once the program opens, keep the default scan
option (“Threat Scan”) selected and click the
Start Scan button.
It should check for updates before it runs the
scan, so just make sure that happens before
Though it offers a custom-scan option,
Malwarebytes recommends that you perform
the threat scan first, as that scan usually finds
all of the infections anyway. Depending on your
computer, the quick scan can take anywhere
from 5 to 20 minutes, whereas a custom scan
might take 30 to 60 minutes or more.
8. Step 5: Fix your web browser
Malware infections can damage Windows
system files and other settings. One common
malware trait is to modify your web browser’s
homepage to reinfect the PC, display
advertisements, prevent browsing, and
generally annoy you.
Before launching your web browser, check your
homepage and connection settings. For
Internet Explorer right-click the Windows 10
Start button and select Control Panel, then
Find the Home Page settings in the General
tab, and verify that it’s not some site you know
9. Step 6: Recover your files if
Windows is corrupt
If you can’t seem to remove the malware or if
Windows isn’t working properly, you may have
to reinstall Windows. But before wiping your
hard drive, copy all of your files to an external
USB or flash drive.
If you check your email with a client program
(such as Outlook or Windows Mail), make sure
that you export your settings and messages to
You should also back up your device drivers
with a utility such as Double Driver, in case you
don’t have the driver discs anymore or don’t
If Windows won’t start or work well enough to
permit you to back up your files, you may
create and use a Live CD, such as Hiren’s
BootCD (HBCD), to access your files.
Once you have backed up everything, reinstall
Windows either from the disc that came with
your PC, by downloading the installation image
from Microsoft, or by using your PC’s factory
restore option, if it has one.
For a factory restore you typically must press a
certain key on the keyboard during the boot
process in order for restore procedure to
initialize, and your PC should tell you what key
to press in the first few seconds after you turn it