Getting a virus on your system is frustrating to say the least, and can be hazardous to the health of your computer. Indeed, today's malicious software can even steal your identity and wreck your hard-earned credit rating. To help fight back, here's a list of free tools, tips, and tricks to get rid of viruses and keep them from getting back on your system.
Free Virus Removal Tools
Sure the antivirus vendors want to make money, but if you ever get the chance to meet one of their virus researchers, you'll find their real motivation is to protect users. As corny as that may sound, it's true. That's why when stubborn or fast-spreading infectors are discovered, antivirus vendors release special tools to remove the malware - and give the tools away free. It's no substitute for installed antivirus software, but if you're already infected and in a pinch, it's the next best thing to, well, installed antivirus software.
- Create a free rescue CD - a rescue CD lets you access the system from a clean boot. A few vendors provide these free of charge and it takes only a few minutes to create one, so there's no excuse not to have one on hand.
- McAfee AVERT Stinger - McAfee AVERT Labs offers a handy utility to run in Windows that cleans some of the more common malware.
- Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool - Microsoft offers a free tool to remove prevalent software active on the system. The tool is offered via Automatic Updates, Windows Updates, and Microsoft Updates, or it can be manually downloaded using the provided link.
- Symantec Virus Removal Tools - Antivirus vendor Symantec offers a wide range of free cleaning tools for individual malware removal.
- F-Secure Virus Removal Tools - Another good choice for individual malware removal are these free tools from F-Secure.
- For a second opinion scan or a not-so-stubborn infector, try one of the Top Online Scanners
Free Virus Repair and Prevention Tips
Free Antivirus Software
There's no such thing as a free ride, or is there? If you're an experienced user and don't mind putting in a little elbow grease, you can build your own security suite:
For those who want a more holistic all-in-one solution: