In 2000, there were 50,000 known computer viruses.
18 years later, the number of threats to your computer and the extent of damage that they cause has grown. Once you’ve downloaded malware, spyware, or some other virus, you’ll have to get it off your computer before it causes a system crash.
To do this, you can purchase expensive antivirus software that needs constant updating. Or you can read this guide and learn how to remove a virus from a laptop without antivirus software.
Keep reading to find out how you avoid purchasing antivirus software and take matters into your own hands.
How Do You Know That You Have a Virus?
Viruses are sneaky. If they lurked online under a banner that said “click here to download virus”, they wouldn’t be as big a problem as they are. When your computer stops working, how do you know it’s a virus?
If you start getting pop-ups from programs that are unfamiliar, you probably have a virus. Other signs of a virus include the disappearance of the desktop icons and a computer that’s running really, really slowly. And if your computer suddenly crashes, you’ve definitely been infected.
Before you reach the point of a system crash, run a virus scan. If you don’t have the software for this or your software displays no results, you may have to search and remove the virus yourself.
Know What Virus You’re Dealing With
Before you attempt to remove the infection, you’ll want to know exactly what you’re dealing with. When an unfamiliar security message shows up, click on it.
Don’t provide the pop-ups with any personal information but write down all the information you can find. This includes a product name or directory path.
Armed with this information, check online for everything you can find out about what’s infected your computer. There are websites dedicated to listing the various viruses, worms, adware, spyware, and malware. These sites provide useful information, including names and aliases for the virus processes and registry keys.
They’ll also provide reports on how your virus behaves. They might even link out to forums that can help you with directions on how to remove this particular threat.
Can You Remove a Virus Without Antivirus Software?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is that it’s very hard.
The people who create viruses put a lot of effort into ensuring they’re difficult to remove. They attempt to make them rapidly hide and corrupt your files so you don’t have time to act.
With that said, if you have some technical savvy and a lot of time, it’s possible to remove a virus without an antivirus.
How to Remove a Virus from Laptop Without Antivirus
It’s important that you back up your computer before attempting to remove a virus on your own. This way, you can perform a system restore and recover your information.
The first step to stopping a virus is to prevent it from opening. Every time you start your computer up, a virus starts up with it.
To do this, you’ll need to access System Configuration.
Click the Start button and go to your Control Panel. From there, find System and Security and click Administrative Tools. In there, you’ll find System Configuration.
Once you’re in your System Configuration, look for programs that are unfamiliar to you. This includes any programs with unknown manufacturers.
You can choose to disable or delete these items. Deleting the wrong program can have a detrimental effect on your system, so don’t delete anything you’re not absolutely sure about. You should restart your computer once you’re finished.
When your computer starts up again, press CTRL+ALT+DEL to launch the Window Task Manager. Find the Processes tab of the Task Manager to complete the next step.
Like you did in System Configuration, look closely through the programs that are currently running. Identify programs that look unfamiliar and check them with the info you got online. End these programs immediately as well as any other processes that you’re sure are related to the virus,
Delete the Virus from Your Hard Drive
Check your Temp files. Viruses often hide in here. You can delete anything that looks unfamiliar or matches your online report.
You should also check your hard drive against the directory path that you got from the security message. It looks something like this: C:usersYourNameHereDataTemp. Delete this folder.
Remove Registry Keys
Removing registry keys is the last step to removing a virus by yourself. You can find these by clicking on Start and finding Run. In there, type “regedit”.
The Regedit program should pop up. Delete the registry keys that you found in your online research. Just ensure that you don’t delete any other registry keys at the same time.
If you managed to remove the virus infecting your computer, you need to ensure that you’re protected from further harm. Immediately following the virus removal, change all of your passwords. This includes passwords you use online as well as passwords used on software or upon login.
Its possible that in the time the virus was in your computer, it recorded all of your passwords. The virus doesn’t need to be active in your computer for a hacker to make use of those passwords.
Disadvantages of Removing a Virus Without Antivirus Software
While it’s possible, removing a virus on your own is not always guaranteed to be successful. It may also cause damage to your computer programs and processes if you remove the wrong items. Besides that, it takes a lot of time to complete the process.
If you’ve downloaded a virus, you might consider hiring an IT support and computer repair company. These companies provide both businesses and individual with technical support when something like this happens. They usually offer on-site or remote support for your convenience.
Beyond removing viruses, an IT support company can also offer other software and hardware repairs. For all the services provided by IT companies, read more here.
More Technology Tips
If you don’t have an antivirus, it stops working, or it doesn’t find the threat you’re looking for, you now know how to remove a virus from a laptop without antivirus software.
The first step is to arm yourself with the knowledge of what you’re dealing with. The second step is to seek and destroy. Finally, change your passwords to ensure your online and offline data is protected.
For more helpful technology tips and advice, check out our blog.