Remove a computer virus

Removing a computer virus or spyware can be difficult without the help of malicious software removal tools. Some computer viruses and other unwanted software reinstall themselves after the viruses and spyware are detected and removed. However, by updating your computer regularly and by using malicious software removal tools, you can help remove them permanently.

Select one of the two sets of instructions below depending on whether or not you are able to connect to the Internet from your infected device.

If you can connect to the Internet on the infected device

Follow the instructions for the version of Windows installed on your device.

Windows 8

Use the built-in Windows Defender in Windows 8 to help you get rid of a virus or other malware.
Scan your PC with Windows Defender
  1. To open Windows Defender, swipe in from the right edge of the screen (or, if you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen and move the mouse pointer up), then tap or click Search. Type Windows Defender in the search box and tap or click it from the search results.
  2. On the Home tab, choose a scan option, and then tap or click Scan now.
Windows Defender displays the overall security status of your device color coded for clarity. It also applies an alert level to any suspected malware it detects so that you can decide whether to remove an item entirely, research it further, or let it run because you recognize it.
Review quarantined items
If Windows Defender can’t determine whether a detected item is malware or something that you intentionally installed, it prevents the software from running but quarantines it on your device so that you can decide later.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP

If your device is running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, do the following:
  • Run the Microsoft Safety Scanner. The scanner works with the antivirus software that you already have on your device, regardless of whether the software is from Microsoft or not.
  • Download Microsoft Security Essentials for free, and then use the software to run a scan on your device.
    Note: Some viruses will prevent you from downloading Microsoft Security Essentials. If you can’t download the software, follow the instructions below for using Windows Defender Offline instead.

If you can’t connect to the Internet on the infected device

Use Windows Defender Offline, a malware tool that helps remove difficult to eliminate viruses that start before Windows starts. Windows Defender Offline works with Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

It is best to use a device other than the infected device to download Windows Defender Offline and create a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive with the software on it. Then use the media to restart your infected device, scan it for malware and remove it.

To use Windows Defender Offline, follow these steps:
  1. On an uninfected computer, go to the What is Windows Defender Offline? website.
  2. Click Download the 32-bit version or Download the 64-bit version, depending on the operating system installed on your device. If you're unsure of the operating system’s version, visit Is my PC running the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows.
  3. When you are prompted, click Save As, and then save the file to a DVD, CD, or USB flash drive.
  4. Insert the DVD, CD, or USB flash drive in the infected device and restart it.
  5. When you are prompted, press a key to select an option to start your device.
  6. Use the arrow key to scroll to the drive with the Windows Defender Offline file. After you select it, Windows Defender Offline will start immediately and scan your device for malware.


Article ID: 3064074 - Last Review: 06/15/2015 06:36:00 - Revision: 1.0

Windows 8, Windows 8 Enterprise, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Enterprise, Windows 8.1 Pro, Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition, Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition, Windows Vista Ultimate, Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition

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