An Once of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure!
Once again I am tasked with removing a virus from a computer. Not not mine.
I have yet to remove a virus where it has not taken me at least 3 hours. And quite often it usually requires going back as far as possible, perhaps to re-installing the operating system to get rid of the stupid things. In most cases, the virus is appears on computers without anti-virus software on them. Despite what Microsoft says, Windows 8 Defender software just does not seem to do the trick.
Getting a virus is actually quite simple. It could be from visiting a corrupt website, opening an email attachment, or my new worst favorite, downloading “free” software. As a developer, I think it is free software download sites are the worst because in some cases, they could be giving the developer of the software a bad name by adding in these “extras”. I should point out, for me, a virus is anything that makes your computer do things that you did not intend it to do, even if you did click on the “agree” button. Even legitimate sites attempt to default some extra add-ons in.
My favorite anti-virus software is spybot and my second favorite is AVG. I rarely use the free editions and to be honest, I think AVG may be better, but Spybot seems to come with less overhead which I like. On a clients computer I would most likely opt for AVG. For around $30-70 annually, it is a good investment.
Okay, so what do you do if you get a virus?
For me, forget about trying to identify it, because that usually just wastes more time and most likely introduces more viruses trying to defeat the original culprit. If you are lucky, you might be able to get a legitimate virus protection installed and with a few scans maybe get lucky and have it removed. To do this, you most likely will need to get to a command prompt scan at start up.
The fastest way is is to go buy a new computer and put anti-virus software on it first. Second fastest, take a deep breath, get the files you need and start re-installing you software from scratch and add anti-virus software. The third way, and most likely the way you are going to start, is try to identify the virus and take action to remove it. Good Luck!!!
For myself, I try to make sure that there is nothing on my computer preventing me from just going out and buying a better computer. I have a unique way of storing my files so that I never have to rely on the computer itself. I use a lot of cloud software (for example Adobe Cloud and and Microsoft 360) so moving to a new computer is somewhat seamless. I do not use Microsoft, Google, etc clouds because I just do not like having my data on third party servers no matter how convenient they may seem. My thinking is that there is nothing FREE in this world.
It has taken my decades to develop solutions. I totally prescribe to An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure philosophy.