Microsoft resources and guidance for removal of malware and viruses

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Article ID: 2671662 - View products that this article applies to.
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INTRODUCTION

This article contains lists of tools and resources that Microsoft makes available to help you understand how to avoid or remove malware and viruses from your Windows-based computer.

Symptoms

You may experience any of the following symptoms on your computer:
  • You notice that the computer is unusually slow, crashes, or stops responding frequently.
  • You cannot start your virus scanner or some system tools, including Task Manager.
  • You cannot open certain webpages. In particular, you cannot open security-related webpages such as the Windows Update website.
  • You notice that your web browser's home page has changed unexpectedly, and you cannot restore the home page.
  • You receive constant and unexpected pop-up windows.
These symptoms may indicate that your computer is infected with malware. However, the same problems might also point to hardware or software issues that have nothing to do with malware. Because it is difficult to determine the reasons for your computer's strange behavior, we suggest that you review the information in this article to determine whether malware is causing the issue. Then, you can use the recommended tools and resources to remove the malware.

Microsoft security-related tools

Microsoft Windows Update

Run Windows Update to obtain the latest updates for Microsoft software, and this includes security updates that are released on the second Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit the Microsoft Update website:
Microsoft Update

Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials is free and can help protect your home or your small business system from viruses, spyware, and other malware. For more information, visit the following Microsoft webpage:
Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Safety Scanner

If you think your computer is infected, we recommend that you run the Microsoft Safety Scanner. The scan is free and will detect and remove many of the issues that customers frequently contact us about. To run the Microsoft Safety Scanner, visit the following Microsoft webpage:
Microsoft Safety Scanner

Microsoft Windows Defender Offline Beta

The Windows Defender Offline Beta can detect and remove malicious and potentially unwanted software, including rootkits. For more information, visit the following Microsoft webpage:
Windows Defender Offline Beta

Microsoft Windows Security Center

Run the Windows Security Center to check the status of several security essentials on your computer. To do this, click Start, type Check security status, and then click Check security status. For more information about the Windows Security Center, visit the following Microsoft webpage:
Windows Security Center

Windows firewall

The Windows firewall is included in most supported versions of Microsoft Windows. The Windows firewall can help protect your computer from malicious users. For more information, visit the following Microsoft webpages:
Firewalls in versions of Windows
Firewall: frequently asked questions

Microsoft security-related information centers

Microsoft Consumer Security Support Center

The Microsoft Consumer Security Support Center provides information about security products, fraud, issues with security Updates, and scanning, detecting, and removing threats:
Consumer Security Support Center

Microsoft Malware Protection Center

The Malware Protection Center (MMPC) provides information about protection against viruses, spyware, and other potentially unwanted software. The MMPC also supplies the core anti-malware technology (This includes the scanning engine and the malware definition updates) for the following:
  • Forefront Server Security
  • Forefront Client Security
  • Microsoft Security Essentials
  • Windows Safety Scanner
  • Microsoft DaRTWindows Defender
  • Malicious Software Removal Tool.
For more information, visit the following Microsoft webpage:
Malware Protection Center

Microsoft Malware Protection Center Encyclopedia

To learn more about the current top threats, visit the following Microsoft webpage:
MMPC Encyclopedia

Microsoft Virus and Security Solution Center

The Microsoft Virus and Security Solution Center provides free tools that can help detect and remove viruses. These tools can also strengthen defenses to help secure your computer against viruses and other security threats.
Microsoft Support Virus and Security Solution Center

Microsoft Safety & Security Center

The Microsoft Safety & Security Center has information about Security scanners, tools, and safety guidelines for your computer, laptop, or mobile device. For more information, visit the following Microsoft webpage:
The Microsoft Safety & Security Center

Security Troubleshooting and Support

The Security Troubleshooting and Support page has information about free tools that can help detect and remove viruses. The support page also contains information about how to strengthen defenses to help secure your computer against viruses and against other security threats. For more information, visit the following Microsoft webpage:
Security Troubleshooting and Support

Microsoft security-related knowledge base articles

129972 Computer viruses: description, prevention, and recovery
822158 Virus scanning recommendations for Enterprise computers that are running currently supported versions of Windows
962007 Virus alert about the Win32/Conficker worm
959318 You receive a fraudulent e-mail message that claims that an attached executable is a Microsoft security update

More information

What you can do to help prevent your computer from becoming infected

There is no method that can guarantee that your computer will be immune from malware. However, there are steps that you can take to lessen the risks. For more information, visit the following Microsoft webpage:
How to boost your malware defense and protect your PC

How to recognize phishing email messages, links, or telephone calls

Phishing email messages, websites, and telephone calls are designed to steal money. For more information about how to recognize these threats, visit the following Microsoft webpage:
How to recognize phishing email messages, links, or phone calls

Information about fake virus alerts and rogue security software

Rogue security software, also known as "scareware," is software that seems to be useful from a security perspective. However, this rogue security software provides limited or no security, generates incorrect or misleading alerts, or tries to lure users into participating in fraudulent transactions. For more information, visit the following Microsoft webpage:
Watch out for fake virus alerts

How to get help if your Windows-based computer is infected with malware

If you want more help with a system that is infected by malware and you are currently located within the United States, you can obtain virus-related assistance from the Microsoft Answer Desk:
Answer Desk
If you are located outside the United States, visit the Microsoft Support Virus and Security Solution Center.
Microsoft Support Virus and Security Solution Center

Properties

Article ID: 2671662 - Last Review: January 10, 2013 - Revision: 2.0
Applies to
  • Windows 7 Service Pack 1, when used with:
    • Windows 7 Enterprise
    • Windows 7 Professional
    • Windows 7 Ultimate
    • Windows 7 Home Premium
    • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1, when used with:
    • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
    • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
    • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2, when used with:
    • Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems
    • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter
    • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
    • Windows Server 2008 Standard
    • Windows Web Server 2008
  • Windows Vista Service Pack 2, when used with:
    • Windows Vista Business
    • Windows Vista Enterprise
    • Windows Vista Home Basic
    • Windows Vista Home Premium
    • Windows Vista Starter
    • Windows Vista Ultimate
    • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
    • Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition
    • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
    • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
    • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2, when used with:
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter x64 Edition
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition
    • Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition for Itanium-Based Systems
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems
  • Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3, when used with:
    • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
    • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Keywords: 
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