How to remove Trojans, Viruses, Worms and Malware from Windows PC

Malware refers to any type of malicious software that tries to infect a computer or mobile device. Hackers use malware for any number of reasons such as, extracting personal information or passwords, stealing money, or preventing owners from accessing their device. ‘Malware’ is a general term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software.

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.

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.
Below you can find a short description for the most common types of malware:

  • Trojan Horse
    A Trojan Horse is a type of malware that pretends to be something useful, helpful, or fun while actually causing harm or stealing data. Trojans are often silently downloading other malware (e.g. spyware, adware, ransomware) on an infected device as well.
  • Worm
    A computer worm is a type of Trojan that is capable of propagating or replicating itself from one system to another. It can do this in a number of ways. Unlike viruses, worms don’t need a host file to latch onto. After arriving and executing on a target system, it can do a number of malicious tasks, such as dropping other malware, copying itself onto devices physically attached to the affected system, deleting files, and consuming bandwidth.
  • Spyware
    Spyware is a type of malware that’s hard to detect. It collects information about your surfing habits, browsing history, or personal information (such as credit card numbers), and often uses the Internet to pass this information along to third parties without you knowing. Keyloggers are a type of spyware that monitors your keystrokes.
  • Ransomware
    Ransom malware or ransomware is a threat that prevents users from accessing their system or personal files and demands ransom payment in order to regain access.
  • Rootkits
    The term “rootkit” comes from “root kit,” a package giving the highest privileges in the system. It is used to describe software that allows for stealthy presence of unauthorized functionality in the system. Rootkits modify and intercept typical modules of the environment (OS, or even deeper, bootkits).
  • Adware
    Adware, short for advertising supported software, is arguably the forerunner of the modern day PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program). Adware is typically a standalone program which displays adverts to the end-user in a variety of forms: inside the program itself, or via pop-ups, slide-in adverts, browser pop-ups, inserted adverts, or altered website content. The revenue generated by the adverts is how the program the adware is attached to is paid for, meaning the end-user receives their desired tool or service for “free.”

How to remove Trojan, Virus, Worm and Malware (Windows Help Guide)

This malware removal guide may appear overwhelming due to the amount of the steps and numerous programs that are being used. We have only written it this way to provide clear, detailed, and easy to understand instructions that anyone can use to remove malware for free.
Please perform all the steps in the correct order. If you have any questions or doubt at any point, STOP and ask for our assistance.

To remove a Trojan, Virus, Worm, or other Malware from Windows, follow these steps:

Some forms of malware may try to stop you from using the below tools. If this happens, we recommend that you start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking, and try from there to perform the Malwarebytes scan.

Safe mode starts Windows in a basic state, using a limited set of files and drivers. It can help you troubleshoot problems on your PC. For example, if the problem doesn’t happen in safe mode, you’ll know default settings and basic device drivers aren’t causing the issue.

To start your PC in Safe Mode with Networking, you can follow the below steps:

Windows 7

  1. Turn on the computer and immediately begin pressing the F8 key repeatedly.
  2. From the Windows Advanced Options Menu, use the arrow keys to select Safe Mode with Networking, and press ENTER.
    F8 Safe Mode

Windows 8.1 and Windows 10

  1. Restart your PC. When you get to the sign-in screen, hold the Shift key down while you select Power Windows 10 Power button image and then click on Restart.
  2. After your PC restarts to the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart.
    Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode
  3. After your PC restarts, you’ll see a list of options. Select  5 or F5to start your PC in Safe Mode with NetworkingWindows 10 Safe Mode with Networking

STEP 1: Use Rkill to terminate suspicious programs

RKill is a program that will attempt to terminate all malicious processes associated with this infection, so that we will be able to perform the next step without being interrupted by this malicious software.

Because this utility will only stop the malicious process and does not delete any files, after running it you should not reboot your computer.
  1. Download Rkill.

    You can download RKill by clicking the link below.
    RKILL DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download “RKill”)

  2. Double-click on the RKill icon.

    Double click on Rkill program to stop the malicious programs from running.
    Start the Rkill program

  3. Wait for the RKill scan to complete.

    RKill will now start working in the background, please be patient while this utility looks for malicious process and tries to end them.
    Rkill Running

  4. RKill will stop the malicious programs. Continue with the other steps.

    When the Rkill tool has completed its task, it will generate a log. Do not reboot your computer after running RKill as the malware programs will start again.
    Rkill Program


STEP 2: Use Malwarebytes to remove Trojans, Rootkits, or other Malware

Malwarebytes is one of the most popular and most used anti-malware software for Windows, and for good reasons. It is able to destroy many types of malware that other software tends to miss, without costing you absolutely nothing. When it comes to cleaning up an infected device, Malwarebytes has always been free and we recommend it as an essential tool in the fight against malware.

The first time you install Malwarebytes, you’re given a free 14-day trial of the premium edition, which includes preventative tools like real-time scanning and specific protection from ransomware. After two weeks, it automatically reverts to the basic free version that will detect and clean up malware infections only when you run a scan. It is important to note that Malwarebytes will run alongside antivirus software without conflicts.

  1. Download Malwarebytes.

    You can download Malwarebytes by clicking the link below.

    MALWAREBYTES DOWNLOAD LINK
    (The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes)
  2. Double-click on the Malwarebytes setup file.

    When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the mb3-setup-consumer-x.x.x.xxxx.exe file to install Malwarebytes on your PC. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.

    Double-click on mb3-setup to install Malwarebytes Help
    You may be presented with an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow Malwarebytes to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
    Windows asking for permission to run the Malwarebytes installer - Help Guide

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to install Malwarebytes.

    When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes Setup Wizard which will guide you through the installation process. To install Malwarebytes on your PC, click on the “Agree and Install” button.
    Malwarebytes Setup Screen - Help Guide
    Malwarebytes is installed on your PC - Help Guide

  4. Click on “Scan Now”.

    Once installed, Malwarebytes will automatically start and update the antivirus database. To perform a system scan, click on the “Scan Now” button.
    Start a scan with Malwarebytes

  5. Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.

    Malwarebytes will now start scanning your computer for adware and other malicious programs. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
    Malwarebytes scanning PC for malware - Help Guide

  6. Click on “Quarantine Selected”.

    When the scan has completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes has detected. To remove the malicious programs that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine Selected” button.
    Click on the Quarantine Selected button to remove malware

  7. Reboot your computer.

    Malwarebytes will now remove all the malicious files and registry keys that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
    Malwarebytes requesting to restart computer to complete malware removal process - Help Guide
    When the malware removal process is complete, you can close Malwarebytes and continue with the rest of the instructions.


STEP 3: Use HitmanPro to scan for Browser Hijackers and Adware

HitmanPro is a second opinion scanner that takes a unique cloud-based approach to malware scanning. HitmanPro scans the behavior of active files and also files in locations where malware normally resides for suspicious activity. If it finds a suspicious file that’s not already known, HitmanPro sends it to the their clouds to be scanned by two of the best antivirus engines today, which are Bitdefender and Kaspersky.

Although HitmanPro is shareware and costs $24.95 for 1 year on 1 PC, there is actually no limit in scanning. The limitation only kicks in when there is a need to remove or quarantine detected malware by HitmanPro on your system and by then, you can activate the one time 30 day trial to enable the clean up.

  1. Download HitmanPro.

    You can download HitmanPro by clicking the link below.

    HITMANPRO DOWNLOAD LINK
    (The above link will open a new web page from where you can download HitmanPro)
  2. Install HitmanPro.

    When HitmanPro has finished downloading, double-click on “hitmanpro.exe” (for 32-bit versions of Windows) or “hitmanpro_x64.exe” (for 64-bit versions of Windows) to install this program on your PC. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.
    Double-click on the HitmanPro setup file - Help Guide
    You may be presented with an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow HitmanPro to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.Windows asking for permissions to run the HitmanPro setup file - Help Guide

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts.

    When HitmanPro starts you will be presented with the start screen as shown below. Click on the “Next” button to perform a system scan.
    Click Next to install HitmanProHitmanPro final installer screen

  4. Wait for the HitmanPro scan to complete.

    HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for malicious programs. This process will take a few minutes.
    HitmanPro while scanning for malware - Help Guide

  5. Click on “Next”.

    When HitmanPro has finished the scan, it will display a list of all the malware that the program has found. Click on the “Next” button to remove the malicious programs.
    HitmanPro scan summary. Click Next to remove malware - Help Guide

  6. Click on “Activate free license”.

    Click on the “Activate free license” button to begin the free 30 days trial and remove all the malicious files from your PC.
    Activate the free HitmanPro license keyEnter your email to complete the HitmanPro activation - Help Guide
    When the process is complete, you can close HitmanPro and continue with the rest of the instructions.


STEP 4: Use Zemana AntiMalware Free to remove Potentially Unwanted Programs

Zemana AntiMalware is a free popular on-demand antivirus scanner which can detect and remove malware that even the most well-known anti-virus and anti-malware applications fail to find.

  1. Download Zemana AntiMalware.

    You can download Zemana AntiMalware Free by clicking the link below.

    Zemana LogoZEMANA ANTIMALWARE DOWNLOAD LINK
    (The above link will open a new web page from where you can download Zemana AntiMalware)
  2. Double-click on the setup file.

    Double-click on the file named “Zemana.AntiMalware.Setup.exe” to start the installation of Zemana AntiMalware. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.
    Double-click on the Zemana AntiMalware to instal it
    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.
    Zemana AntiMalware UAC

  3. Install Zemana AntiMalware Free.

    Click on the “Next” button to install Zemana AntiMalware on your PC. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the install process.
    Click Next then follow the on-screen prompts - Help Guide

    When you reach the “Select Additional Tasks” screen, you need to opt-out the “Enable Real Time Protection” option, then click on the “Next” button.
    Opt-out the Real-Time protection Zemana Antimalware

  4. Click on “Scan”.

    When Zemana AntiMalware will start, click on the “Scan” button to perform a system scan.
    Click on Scan to perform a system scan - Help Guide

  5. Wait for the Zemana AntiMalware scan to complete.

    Zemana AntiMalware will now scan your PC for malicious files. This process can take a few minutes.
    Zemana AntiMalware scanning for malware - Help Guide

  6. Click on “Next”.

    When Zemana AntiMalware has finished it will display a list of all the malware that the program found. Click on the “Next” button to remove the malicious files from your computer.
    Click Next to remove malware found by Zemana AntiMalware - Help Guide

  7. Restart your PC.

    When the malware removal process is complete, Zemana AntiMalware may need to restart your computer. Click on the “Reebot” button to reset your PC.
    Zemana asking to restart PC - Help Guide


(OPTIONAL) STEP 5: Double-check for malicious programs with Emsisoft Emergency Kit

Emsisoft Emergency Kit is a free and powerful on-demand scanner that can be used to remove viruses, trojans, spyware, adware, worms, and other malicious programs.
While the previous scans are more than enough, we’re recommending Emsisoft Emergency Kit to users who still have malware related issues or just want make sure their PC is 100% clean.

  1. Download Emsisoft Emergency Kit.

    You can download Emsisoft Emergency Kit by clicking the link below.

    Emsisoft logoEMSISOFT EMERGENCY KIT DOWNLOAD LINK
    (The above link will open a new web page from where you can download Emsisoft Emergency Kit)
  2. Install Emsisoft Emergency Kit.

    Double-click on the EmsisoftEmergencyKit setup file to start the installation process, then click on the “Install” button.
    Click on the Install button

  3. Start Emsisoft Emergency Kit.

    On your desktop the “EEK” folder (C:\EEK) should now be open. To start Emsisoft, click on the “Start Emsisoft Emergency Kit” file to open this program.
    Click on Start Emsisoft Emergency Kit

    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.
    Allow Emsisoft to run on your PC - UAC

  4. Click on “Malware Scan”.

    Emsisoft Emergency Kit will start and it will ask you for permission to update itself. Once the update process is complete, click on the “Scan” tab, and perform a “Malware Scan“.

    Perform a Malware Scan with Emsisoft Emergency Kit
    Emsisoft Emergency Kit will now scan your PC for malicious files. This process can take a few minutes.
    Emsisoft Emergency Kit Scanning

  5. Click on “Quarantine selected”.

    When the Emsisoft scan has finished, you will be presented with a screen reporting which malicious files were detected on your computer. To remove the malicious programs, click on the “Quarantine selected“.
    Click on Quarantine Selected to remove the malicious programs

    When the malware removal process is complete, Emsisoft Emergency Kit may need to restart your computer. Click on the “Reebot” button to restart your PC.


(OPTIONAL) STEP 6: Reset the browser settings to their original defaults

If your browser is being redirected or seeing unwanted advertisements, we will need to reset the web browser settings to their original defaults. This step should be performed only if your issues have not been solved by the previous steps.

Google Chrome


Google Chrome has an option that will reset itself to its default settings. Resetting your browser settings will reset the unwanted changes caused by installing other programs. However, your saved bookmarks and passwords will not be cleared or changed.

  1. Open Chrome’s “Settings” menu.

    Click on Chrome’s main menu button, represented by three horizontal lines. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled “Settings“.
    Google Chrome Settings Menu

  2. At the bottom, click “Advanced”.

    Chrome’s “Settings” should now be displayed in a new tab or window, depending on your configuration. Next, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the “Advanced” link (as seen in the below example).
    Click on the Advanced button - Google Chrome Help

  3. Under the section “Reset,” click “Reset”.

    Chrome’s advanced settings should now be displayed. Scroll down until the “Reset and clean up” section is visible, as shown in the example below. Next, click on the “Reset settings to their original defaults” button.
    Google Chrome Reset button

  4. Confirm by clicking “Reset”.

    A confirmation dialog should now be displayed, detailing the components that will be restored to their default state should you continue on with the reset process. To complete the restoration process, click on the “Reset Settings” button.
    Click on Reset to restore Google Chrome to its default settings

Mozilla Firefox


If you’re having problems with Firefox, resetting it can help. The reset feature fixes many issues by restoring Firefox to its factory default state while saving your essential information like bookmarks, passwords, web form auto-fill information, browsing history and open tabs.

  1. Go to the “Help” menu.

    Click on Firefox’s main menu button, represented by three horizontal lines. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled “Help“.
    Click on the Firefox Menu button then select Help - Firefox Guide

  2. Click “Troubleshooting Information”.

    From the Help menu, click on “Troubleshooting Information“.

    If you’re unable to access the “Help” menu, type about:support in your address bar to bring up the Troubleshooting information page.

    Troubleshooting Information option in Firefox

  3. Click on “Refresh Firefox”

    Click the “Refresh Firefox” button in the upper-right corner of the “Troubleshooting Information” page.
    Refresh Firefox button

  4. Confirm.

    To continue, click on the “Refresh Firefox” button in the new confirmation window that opens.
    Confirm Reset Firefox

  5. Click on “Finish”.

    Firefox will close itself and will revert to its default settings. When it’s done, a window will list the information that was imported. Click on the “Finish“.

Your old Firefox profile will be placed on your desktop in a folder named “Old Firefox Data“. If the reset didn’t fix your problem you can restore some of the information not saved by copying files to the new profile that was created. If you don’t need this folder any longer, you should delete it as it contains sensitive information.

Internet Explorer


You can reset Internet Explorer settings to return them to the state they were in when Internet Explorer was first installed on your PC.

  1. Go to “Internet Options”.

    Open Internet Explorer, click on the gear icon in the upper right part of your browser, then select “Internet Options“.
    Click on the Gear Icon then select Internet Options - Help Guide

  2. Select the “Advanced” tab, then click “Reset”

    In the “Internet Options” dialog box, select the “Advanced” tab, then click on the “Reset” button.
    In the Advanced tab click on the Reset button - Help Guide

  3. Click on “Reset”.

    In the “Reset Internet Explorer settings” section, select the “Delete personal settings” check box, then click on “Reset” button.
    Click on the Reset button to revert IE to its default settings - Help Guide

  4. Click on “Close”.

    When Internet Explorer has completed its task, click on the “Close” button in the confirmation dialogue box.
    You will now  need to close your browser, and then you can open Internet Explorer again.
    Click on the Close button - Help Guide

Microsoft Edge


Starting with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (version 1709), users can repair or reset the Microsoft Edge settings.

  1. Go to “Apps and Features”.

    Right-click on the Start Windows Start button button in the lower-left corner and select “Apps and Features“. This will take you directly to your list of installed programs.
    Go to Apps and Features in Windows 10

  2. Find Microsoft Edge, then select “Advanced Options”.

    The “App and Features” screen will be displayed with a list of all the programs installed on your PC. Scroll through the list until you find “Microsoft Edge”, click it, and then click on the “Advanced options” link.
    Microsoft Edge Advanced Options

  3. Click on “Reset”.

    The “Advanced Options” screen will now be displayed. Scroll down until the “Reset” section is visible, as shown in the example below. Next, click on the “Reset” button.
    Microsoft Edge Reset Settings


Your computer should now be free of malware. If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove malware from your device, you can ask for help in our Malware Removal Assistance for Windows forum.

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