How to easily clean an infected computer (Malware Removal Guide)

Malware, short for malicious (or malevolent) software, is software used or programmed by attackers to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. It can appear in the form of code, scripts, active content, and other software. ‘Malware’ is a general term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software.

Malware includes computer viruses, ransomware, worms, trojan horses, rootkits, keyloggers, dialers, spyware, adware, malicious BHOs, rogue security software and other malicious programs; the majority of active malware threats are usually worms or trojans rather than viruses.

It’s not always easy to tell if your computer was compromised or not,because these days cybercriminals are going to great lengths to hide their code and conceal what their programs are doing on an infected computer.
It’s very difficult to provide a list of characteristic symptoms of a infected computer because the same symptoms can also be caused by hardware incompatibilities or system instability,however here are just a few examples that may suggest that your PC has been compromised :

  • You may receive the error “Internet Explorer could not display the page” when attempting to access certain websites
  • Your web browser (e.g., Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome) freezes, hangs or is unresponsive
  • Your web browser’s default homepage is changed
  • Access to security related websites is blocked
  • You get redirected to web pages other than the one you intended to go to
  • You receive numerous web-browser popup messages
  • Strange or unexpected toolbars appear at the top of your web browser
  • Your computer runs slower than usual
  • Your computer freezes, hangs or is unresponsive
  • There are new icons on your desktop that you do not recognize
  • Your computer restarts by itself (but not a restart caused by Windows Updates)
  • You see unusual error messages (e.g., messages saying there are missing or corrupt files folders)
  • You are unable to access the Control Panel, Task Manager, Registry Editor or Command Prompt.

This article is a comprehensive guide, which will remove most of malware infections that may reside on your computer. And if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, then we strongly advise you follow this guide to check and remove any infection that you might have on your computer.

How to remove viruses, ransomware, worms, trojan horses, rootkits, keyloggers, dialers, spyware, adware, malicious BHOs, rogue security software and other malicious programs

OPTIONAL: Some forms of malware will not allow you to start some of the below utilites and on-demand scanners, while running Windows in Normal mode. If this happens, we recommend that you start your computer in Start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking, and try from there to perform the scan.
We recommend that you first try to run the below scans while your computer is in Normal mode, and only if you are experiencing issues, should you try to start the computer in Safe Mode with Networking.
To start your computer Start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking, you can follow the below steps:

  1. Remove all floppy disks, CDs, and DVDs from your computer, and then restart your computer.
  2. If you are using Windows XP, Vista or 7 press and hold the F8 key as your computer restarts.Please keep in mind that you need to press the F8 key before the Windows start-up logo appears.
    Note: With some computers, if you press and hold a key as the computer is booting you will get a stuck key message. If this occurs, instead of pressing and holding the “F8 key”, tap the “F8 key” continuously until you get the Advanced Boot Options screen.If you are using Windows 8, press the Windows key + C, and then click Settings. Click Power, hold down Shift on your keyboard and click Restart, then click on Troubleshoot and select Advanced options.
  3. In the Advanced Options screen, select Startup Settings, then click on Restart.
  4. If you are using Windows XP, Vista or 7 in the Advanced Boot Options screen, use the arrow keys to highlight Safe Mode with Networking , and then press ENTER.
    [Image: Safemode.jpg]\
    If you are using Windows 8, press 5 on your keyboard to Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
    Windows will start in Safe Mode with Networking.

STEP 1:  Remove any Master Boot Record infections with Kaspersky TDSSKiller

As part of its self defense mechanism, some types of malware will install a rootkit on the infected computer, which will compromise the Windows loading process.In this first step, we will run a system scan with Kaspersky TDSSKiller to remove this rootkit.

  1. Please download the latest official version of Kaspersky TDSSKiller.
    KASPERSKY TDSSKILLER DOWNLOAD LINK(This link will automatically download Kaspersky TDSSKiller on your computer.)
  2. Double-click on the tdsskiller.exe program. Kaspersky TDSSKiller will now start and display the welcome screen and we will need to click on Change Parameters.
    Kaspersky TDSSKiller change settings
  3. In the new open window,we will need to enable Detect TDLFS file system, then click on OK.
    Kaspersky TDSSKiller Detect TDLFS file system
  4. Next,we will need to start a scan with Kaspersky, so you’ll need to press the Start Scan button.
    Kaspersky TDSSKiller start scan
  5. Kaspersky TDSSKiller will now scan your computer for Malware infection.
    Kaspersky TDSSKiller scan
  6. When the scan has finished it will display a result screen stating whether or not the infection was found on your computer. If it was found it will display a screen similar to the one below.
    Kaspersky TDSSKiller results
  7. To remove the infection simply click on the Continue button and TDSSKiller will attempt to clean the infection.A reboot will be require to completely remove any infection from your system.

STEP 2: Run RKill to terminate any malicious processe

RKill is a program that will attempt to terminate all malicious processes that are running on your machine, so that we will be able to perform the next step without being interrupted by this malicious software.
Because this utility will only stops the running process, and does not delete any files, after running it you should not reboot your computer as any malware processes that are configured to start automatically will just be started again.

  1. Please download the latest official version of RKill.Please note that we will use a renamed version of RKILL so that malicious software won’t block this utility from running.
    RKILL DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will automatically download RKILL renamed as iExplore.exe)
  2. Double click on iExplore.exe to start RKill and stop any processes associated with Luhe.Sirefef.A.
    [Image: RKILL Program]
  3. RKill will now start working in the background, please be patient while the program looks for any malicious process and tries to end them.
    [Image: RKILL stoping malware]
  4. When the Rkill utility has completed its task, it will generate a log. Do not reboot your computer after running RKill as the malware programs will start again.
    [Image: RKill Report]

STEP 3: Remove Trojan Horses, rogue security software and other malicious files from your computer with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free uses industry-leading technology to detect and remove all traces of malware, including worms, Trojans, rootkits, rogues, dialers, spyware, and more.
It is important to note that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware works well and should run alongside antivirus software without conflicts.

  1. You can download download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware from the below link.
    MALWAREBYTES ANTI-MALWARE DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free)
  2. Once downloaded, close all programs, then double-click on the icon on your desktop named “mbam-setup-consumer-2.00.xx” to start the installation of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware setup program]
    Picture of User Account Control You may be presented with a User Account Control dialog asking you if you want to run this file. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
  3. When the installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Setup Wizard which will guide you through the installation process.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Setup Wizard]
    To install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware on your machine, keep following the prompts by clicking the “Next” button.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Final Setup Screen]
  4. Once installed, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will automatically start and you will see a message stating that you should update the program, and that a scan has never been run on your system. To start a system scan you can click on the “Fix Now” button.
    [Image: Click on the Fix Now button to start a scan]
    Alternatively, you can click on the “Scan” tab and select “Threat Scan“, then click on the “Scan Now” button.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Threat Scan]
  5. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will now check for updates, and if there are any, you will need to click on the “Update Now” button.
    [Image: Click on Update Now to update Malwarebytes Anti-Malware]
  6. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will now start scanning your computer for the pop-up virus. When Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is scanning it will look like the image below.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware while performing a scan]
  7. When the scan has completed, you will now be presented with a screen showing you the malware infections that Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware has detected. To remove the malicious programs that Malwarebytes Anti-malware has found, click on the “Quarantine All” button, and then click on the “Apply Now” button.
    [Image: Remove the malware that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware has found]
    Please note that the infections found may be different than what is shown in the image.
  8. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will now quarantine all the malicious files and registry keys that it has found. When removing the files, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware may require a reboot in order to remove some of them. If it displays a message stating that it needs to reboot your computer, please allow it to do so.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware while removing viruses]
    After your computer will restart, you should open Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and perform another “Threat Scan” scan to verify that there are no remaining threats

STEP 4: Remove stubborn rootkits from your computer with HitmanPro

HitmanPro is a second opinion scanner, designed to rescue your computer from malware (viruses, trojans, rootkits, etc.) that have infected your computer despite all the security measures you have taken (such as anti virus software, firewalls, etc.). HitmanPro is designed to work alongside existing security programs without any conflicts. It scans the computer quickly (less than 5 minutes) and does not slow down the computer.

  1. You can download HitmanPro from the below link:
    HITMANPRO DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download HitmanPro)
  2. Double-click on the file named “HitmanPro.exe” (for 32-bit versions of Windows) or “HitmanPro_x64.exe” (for 64-bit versions of Windows). When the program starts you will be presented with the start screen as shown below.
    [Image: HitmanPro start-up screen]
    Click on the “Next” button, to install HitmanPro on your computer.
    [Image: HitmanPro setup options]
  3. HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for any malicious files that may be on your machine.
    [Image: HitmanPro scanning for malware]
  4. When it has finished it will display a list of all the malware that the program found as shown in the image below. Click on the “Next” button, to remove any virus that has been found.
    [Image: HitmanPro scan results]
  5. Click on the “Activate free license” button to begin the free 30 days trial, and remove all the malicious files from your computer.
    [Image: HitmanPro Activate Free License]

STEP 5: Remove the malicious registry keys added by malware with RogueKiller

Malware will often add its malicious registry keys to your Windows installation, to remove them we will need to perform a scan with RogueKiller.

  1. You can download RogueKiller from the below link.
    ROGUEKILLER DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download RogueKiller on your computer)
  2. Double click on RogueKiller program to start this utility and then wait for the Prescan to complete.This should take only a few seconds and then you can click the Scan button to perform a system scan.
    [Image: RogueKiller while scanning]
  3. After the scan has completed, press the Delete button to remove any malicious registry keys.
    [Image: RogueKiller removing malware]

STEP 6: Remove malicious adware from your computer with AdwCleaner.

The AdwCleaner utility will scan your computer and web browser for malicious files, adware browser extensions and registry keys, that may have been installed on your computer without your knowledge.

  1. You can download AdwCleaner utility from the below link.
    ADWCLEANER DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will automatically download AdwCleaner on your computer)
  2. Before starting AdwCleaner, close all open programs and internet browsers, then double-click on the AdwCleaner icon.
    AdwCleaner Icon
    If Windows prompts you as to whether or not you wish to run AdwCleaner, please allow it to run.
  3. When the AdwCleaner program will open, click on the “Scan” button as shown below.
    Click on Scan button to find adware
    AdwCleaner will now start to search for any malicious files that may be installed on your computer.
  4. To remove the malicious files that were detected in the previous step, please click on the “Clean” button.
    Remove adware with AdwCleaner
  5. AdwCleaner will now prompt you to save any open files or documents, as the program will need to reboot the computer. Please do so and then click on the OK button.
    AdwCleaner removing viruses

STEP 7: Remove browser hijackers and other malicious files from your computer with Junkware Removal Tool

Junkware Removal Tool is a powerful utility, which will remove any piece of malware within Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome, on on your computer.

  1. You can download the Junkware Removal Tool utility from the below link:
    JUNKWARE REMOVAL TOOL DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will automatically download the Junkware Removal Tool utility on your computer)
  2. Once Junkware Removal Tool has finished downloading, please double-click on the JRT.exe icon as seen below.
    [Image: Junkware Removal Tool]
    If Windows prompts you as to whether or not you wish to run Junkware Removal Tool, please allow it to run.
  3. Junkware Removal Tool will now start, and at the Command Prompt, you’ll need to press any key to perform a scan for malware.
    [Image: Junkware Removal Tool scanning for malware]
    Please be patient as this can take a while to complete (up to 10 minutes) depending on your system’s specifications.
  4. When the scan Junkware Removal Tool will be completed, this utility will display a log with the malicious files and registry keys that were removed from your computer.
    [Image: Junkware Removal Tool final log]

STEP 8: Double-check for any left over infections on your computer

If want to make another check for any left over malicious files, you can run a scan with the following tools:

STEP A: Run a scan with Eset Online Scanner.

  1. Download ESET Online Scanner utility.
    ESET Online Scanner Download Link (This link will automatically download ESET Online Scanner on your computer.)
  2. Double click on the Eset installer program (esetsmartinstaller_enu.exe).
  3. Check Yes, I accept the Terms of Use
  4. Click the Start button.
  5. Check Scan archives
  6. Push the Start button.
  7. ESET will then download updates for itself, install itself, and begin scanning your computer. Please be patient as this can take some time.
  8. When the scan completes, push Finish

STEP B: Run a scan with Emsisoft Emergency Kit.

  1. Please download the latest official version of Emsisoft Emergency Kit.
    EMSISOFT EMERGENCY KIT DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a download page in a new window from where you can download Emsisoft Emergency Kit)
  2. After the download process will finish , you’ll need to unpack EmsisoftEmergencyKit.zip and then double click on EmergencyKitScanner.bat
  3. A pop-up will prompt you to update Emsisoft Emergency Kit , please click the “Yes” button.After the Update process has completed , put the mouse cursor over the “Menu” tab on the left and click-on “Scan PC“.
  4. Select “Smart scan” and click-on the below “SCAN” button.When the scan will be completed , you will be presented with a screen showing you the malware infections that Emsisoft Emergency Kit has detected.Make sure that everything is Checked (ticked) and click on the ‘Quarantine selected objects‘ button.

Your computer should now be free of malware. If your current anti-virus solution let an infection through, you may want to consider purchasing the PRO version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to protect against these types of threats in the future, and perform regular scans with HitmanPro.

If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove any type of malware from your machine, please start a new thread in our Malware Removal Assistance forum.