So you think you have a Virus?

If you Anti-virus software has told you that you have a virus, but you want to double check, here are a few things you can do.

1) Try a few on-line virus testers. Most of them require accessing them through Internet Explorer. Here are a few links to some that I use:

2) Make sure your AV software is up to date. Some times there can be a “false” positive, meaning it isn’t actually a virus, but a file that is being misreported as a virus.

3) If you use AVG for your virus scan program, go to: or under the “About Viruses” section, look for the Virus Encyclopedia. If you don’t find your virus there, it could be that it is part of a “spyware” program that has been installed on your computer.

If it appears this is the case, try one of the on-line virus scanners (listed in #1) to see if it will find it as a virus.

If this doesn’t work, then Google the filename of the “reported” virus and see if you can find out what program may have installed it. Then try to uninstall the program. It is a good idea to Google “uninstalling [insert name of program here]” to see if you can find detailed directions on how to uninstall it. Most spyware does not uninstall correctly from just the Add/Remove programs.

4) Delete your Temporary Internet files and temp folders and run the scan again.
Temp folders are usually located at c:\windows\temp
There may also be another one at: C:\Documents and Settings\[insert your username\\Local Settings\Temp.

Delete your temporary Internet files by loading your web browser, going under Tools, then Usually Options, the “delete internet files” or “cache.” Still having problems find it, Google “how do I delete my temp internet files in internet explorer or firefox”

5) Re-run the scan. If the “infected” files still show up, after you have uninstalled the program. You can try and just delete them. Go to my computer, browse to the drive and folder where the file is, select it, hit the delete button. warning: Deleting a file if the program has not been uninstalled could make your computer unstable. So make sure you have tried to uninstall it through the Add/Remove programs.

6) A last option that I recommend, but can be a bit technical, is to run HiJackThis.

Go to and run click on the Direct download link. Download the file to your desktop, uncompress it (you may have to double click on it, then drag the hijackthis file to your desktop). Then run the program by double clicking on it.

Select “Do a System Scan and Save a Log file” Notepad will open up and appear to have a lot of lines of text in it. Click Edit and Select all, then, Edit and select copy

Next, go to in the web browser and click in the text box “You can paste a logfile in this textbox” and paste the information that was copied from Notepad.

Click the Analyze button and look at the results.

I would Google “how to use hijackthis” and read up on it before trying to use it. Be warned you can really make your system unstable if you remove the wrong thing.

Good Luck!

Added on 4/27/2009:

Lifehacker recently posted an article with the 5 most popular Malware removal pprogram.  Here is the link: