How to Get Rid of a Virus in Under 10 Minutes

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Maxym Chekalov
Written by
Maxym Chekalov

Updated · Aug 19, 2023

Maxym Chekalov
SEO Specialist | Joined June 2023 | LinkedIn
Maxym Chekalov

With a master's degree in telecommunications and over 15 years of working experience in telecommunic... | See full bio

Lorie Tonogbanua
Edited by
Lorie Tonogbanua


Lorie Tonogbanua
Joined June 2023 | LinkedIn
Lorie Tonogbanua

Lorie is an English Language and Literature graduate passionate about writing, research, and learnin... | See full bio

Zak Kann
Reviewed by
Zak Kann


Zak Kann
Smart Geek Home, Founder | Joined August 2023 | LinkedIn
Zak Kann

Zak has a PhD in Computational Chemistry and has worked in tech for 12 years, with a focus on analyt... | See full bio

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In the digital world, a virus is malicious software designed to infect computers, smartphones, and other online devices. Like a biological virus, it can spread from one device to another, causing harm and disrupting normal operations. 

Hackers can use viruses to gain unauthorized access to computer systems and networks. In fact, every 39 seconds, there is a hacking accident somewhere in the world. Moreover, in the first quarter of 2023, a 7% increase in cyber-attacks happened worldwide. 

This rampant cyberhacking strongly suggests the importance of effectively removing computer viruses. This malicious software can wreak havoc on your system and compromise sensitive data. 

This article covers how to get rid of a virus on your computer, detect viruses, and use reliable anti-virus software.

Let’s dive in.

🔑Key Takeaways

  • Viruses can infect your computer via email, file downloads, software installations, or unsecured links. 
  • Detecting computer virus signs early can help you protect your device and files. 
  • Getting rid of viruses starts with rebooting your computer into Safe Mode.
  • No antivirus software can guarantee 100% protection against all viruses. It is vital to have a multi-layered security approach. 

Computer Virus: Understanding the Basics 

A computer virus is a type of malware designed to infect and spread from one computer to another. Viruses can steal personal data, hack social media or online banking accounts, wipe data, or make your computer unusable. 

The first known virus was the “Creeper” virus, developed in 1971, which simply displayed a message on infected computers. Since then, viruses have evolved significantly in complexity and severity. 

Virus statistics reveal a consistent and concerning trend. Daily, 560,000 new malware pieces are discovered, adding up to over 1 billion. 

One of the current trends in viruses is the rise of phishing attacks. Statistics show that in 2022, over 500 million phishing incidents were reported. Cybercriminals have become more skilled at creating deceptive emails, websites, or messages to trick users into disclosing sensitive information. 

Here are a few computer viruses that are currently circulating on the internet:

  • Direct action virus: Attach themselves primarily to COM or EXE files. 
  • Boot sector virus: Spread through hardware like USB drives. 
  • Resident virus: A memory-infecting virus like the Magistr that spams your contact list.
  • Multipartite viruses: They can be brutal, infecting your files and your boot space.
  • Polymorphic virus: An example is the VirLock virus, which changes shape and locks your files until you pay to unlock them.
  • Macro virus: Created to hide inside Word document files, such as DOC or DOCX files.

Read on to learn more about computer viruses, how to remove them, and recommended anti-virus software. 

Signs of Computer Virus Infection

Identifying signs of computer virus infection is crucial, as it allows you to take timely action to safeguard your valuable data and privacy.

If you notice any of these symptoms, your computer might have a virus: 

1. Unexpected Pop-Up Windows 

Unrelated pop-up windows or dialog boxes can be a red flag. Fake virus warning pop-ups, telling you your computer has a virus and prompting you to click the link or contact a number. It might also be a pop-up of unending advertisements that are unrelated to what you are doing. 

2. Random Sounds 

If you start hearing sounds from your computer, it could be a sign that it has been infected with a virus. These sounds are a strange beep, click, or music that does not come from anywhere.  

3. Malfunctioning Anti-Virus Programs 

A virus may have infected your system if you have trouble downloading or updating your antivirus software. These viruses are sometimes programmed with a self-preservation instinct.

The computer virus may be defending itself if you have trouble updating your antivirus. 

4. Unexplained Files or Folders 

Changes in your files or folders without your knowledge could indicate a virus. Cybercriminals create and distribute viruses that can alter files, move them to different locations, or wipe them out.

5. Sudden Slow Operation 

Monitor whether your computer suddenly slows down, especially if the hard drive is always on and the fan runs at full speed. Viruses can consume many of your system's resources, resulting in slow performance. 

6. Frequent System Crashes 

Frequent system crashes could be a sign that your computer has a virus. When a virus infects your computer, it can disrupt the system's normal operations, leading to instability and crashes. 


📝Note: System crashes can also be due to hardware issues, incompatible software, etc. You may also encounter system crashes while gaming. If so, check out our article on

PC Crashes While Gaming: 10 Reasons Why and How to Fix Them

7. Spam Sent from Your Email or Social Media 

A virus can spam your email or social media accounts to your contacts. This can harm your reputation and credibility and cause recipients inconvenience.

The infection then spreads via the internet by tricking recipients into clicking on an infected link.  


👍Helpful article: You can filter spam emails from reaching your inbox. To know more about spam filters, check out Techjury’s article on

8. Sudden Hard Drive Space Shortage 

If you suddenly run out of hard drive space, the virus may have replicated and wreaked havoc on your system. Most files added to your hard drive are invisible under the default file-browsing settings.   

9. Unexpected Images

Another sign of a virus is the appearance of random image files on your computer. Viruses can also cause strange images or graphics to appear as intrusive ads or explicit content.  

10. Randomly Connecting to Unknown Websites

If your antivirus software warns you that an app is trying to connect to a website you do not know, you may have a virus. In general, your computer doesn’t make connections unless you initiate them.

Learn how to remove a virus from your laptop if it shows signs of virus infection in the next section.  

How To Remove A Virus on Your Computer

If you suspect your computer has a virus, quickly eradicate it. On Windows computers, getting rid of a virus starts with booting the computer in Safe mode. 

Here are some steps to take to get rid of computer viruses:

1. Contact a Service Professional

When you don’t feel comfortable dealing with the virus on your own, contact a professional to do the removal. Look for someone reputable who can effectively deliver the service you need. 

2. Download and Install Antivirus Software 

Two types of antivirus can help detect and remove computer viruses and malware. These are real-time and on-demand.

A real-time scanner scans for viruses in the background while you are using your computer. On the other hand, the on-demand scanner has to be turned on to do virus scanning on your system. 

When your antivirus detects a virus, it will delete or quarantine it. Antivirus software should detect malware, spyware, phishing software, and other malicious programs that disrupt your system and expose your personal information. 


👍Helpful article: If you are looking for antivirus software, our review articles on antivirus software can help. Check out our articles on whether Sufshark Antivirus is a good option and Trend Micro Review

3. Reboot the PC Into Safe Mode 

Reboot your computer in Safe Mode to protect it while you remove the virus.

Rebooting into safe mode only launches the basic start-up settings of Windows, such as essential files, programs, and drivers.

Here's the list of steps to enter Safe Mode in Windows 10 and 11:

  1. Hold down the Shift Key while pressing Power>Restart.
  2. After it restarts, select Troubleshoot>Advanced Options>Start Up Settings.
  3. Click Restart again.
  4. After your computer restarts, select 4 or F4 to enter Safe Mode.

4. Use an Anti-Malware Tool 

Sometimes viruses can escape detection by standard antivirus software.

Consider using a reputable anti-malware program to complement your antivirus scan. These tools can catch additional malware types and provide an extra layer of protection. 


👍Helpful articles: Stay safe from malware by knowing more about it and how it works. Check out our articles on:

5. Disconnect From the Internet 

If you suspect a severe infection and your antivirus cannot remove it, disconnect your computer from the internet. Disconnecting from the internet prevents the virus from causing additional damage and makes removal easier. 

When you are using Wi-Fi, follow these steps to disconnect from the internet:

  1. Look for the internet icon in your system tray (bottom-right corner of the screen). 
  2. Click on the Wi-Fi network that you are connected to. 
  3. Then click the Disconnect button to disconnect from Wi-Fi.

Wifi disconnect

6. Run a Virus Scan

After removing the virus, do a full rescan and ensure all your drive paths are included in the scan route.

If you have an external storage device on your PC, ensure it is connected to the system. This is to see if your computer has any dangerous threats. 

You can delete or quarantine the file if the virus has been detected. 

7.  Manual Removal (For Advanced Users)

If you have technical expertise, you can attempt manual removal of the virus. This involves locating and deleting infected files and registry entries. However, be cautious; deleting the wrong files can harm your system.  

Other Options

If the steps above don’t remove the virus, you need to scan your computer thoroughly. Here are other options to get rid of the virus:  

1. Delete Temporary Files 

When you delete temporary files, you eliminate any suspicious apps and programs you downloaded that could have caused a malware infection.

Here's how to delete temporary files while in Safe Mode in Windows 10 and 11:

  1. In your Windows search bar, type Disk Cleanup and click it. 
  2. Select the Drive you want to delete temporary files from. 
  3. Scroll down the list of files to delete, check the box next to Temporary Files, and click OK.

Disk clean-up delete temporary files
Removing temporary files can help you eliminate any viruses on your system. It can also speed up your computer. 

2.  Delete or Quarantine the Infected File
Start by cleaning the virus, but quarantine the infected file if your scanner reports that it can’t clean it. This will give you time to examine what virus has infected your computer and decide whether to delete it.

Delete the virus if your scanner recommends deleting it, if the file is useless, or if it’s not legitimate.


Pro tip: Check your antivirus's default settings to see what options are set to run automatically and make changes as needed.

Computer viruses are almost always invisible, so if you have no antivirus software, you may not know about them until later. If you think your PC is infected with a virus, deal with it quickly.

In the next section, you will learn different methods to detect Windows computer viruses. 

Detecting Viruses on Windows PCs

There are millions of computer viruses, but here are a few common types to be aware of:

  • File-infecting viruses 
  • Macro viruses 
  • Browser hijackers 
  • Web scripting virus 
  • Boot sector virus 
  • Polymorphic virus 
  • Resident virus 
  • Multipartite virus 
  • Direct action  
  • Overwrite virus

To detect a computer virus, you can use various methods, including the following:

1. Regular System Scans

Perform regular full system scans with your antivirus software to check for infected files or suspicious activities. 


🎉Fun fact: Do you know that fake antivirus software exists? Yes, fake antivirus exists and can even extract your bank login details. 

To learn more about fake antivirus, check out our article on

2. Real-Time Protection

Enable real-time protection scanning and protection provided by your software. This will monitor real-time files, programs, and system activity, blocking any malware threats as they are detected. 

3. Behavior Monitoring

Some advanced security suites include behavior monitoring which tracks the behavior of programs and processes. They detect unusual activities that might be indicative of malware. 

4. Malware Removal Tools 

Use specialized malware removal tools to perform deep scans and remove persistent threats that standard antivirus might miss. 

5. Online scanners 

Use online antivirus scanners offered by reputable security companies. These scanners allow you to upload suspicious files for analysis without installing additional software. 

6. Update Your Software, Browser, and Operating System 

One of the reasons viruses attack your computer is when existing software has security flaws. Keep viruses at bay by keeping your applications, antivirus software, and operating system current.

Microsoft and other providers typically release security patches to address cybersecurity flaws. You can also reduce potential security vulnerabilities by uninstalling apps you no longer use.

7. System Monitoring

Keep an eye on your system’s performance and behavior. Unusual slowdowns, crashes, and other symptoms mentioned in the previous section could be signs of a virus infection. 

Check out our top recommendations for antivirus software in the following section.

Reliable Antivirus Software: Ensure Computer Security

A strong antivirus program protects your data and gives you peace of mind. With so many options available, selecting the most dependable antivirus software is critical.

A reliable antivirus program can protect your computer from cyber threats and make you feel safe online. 

Here are some of our top recommendations for solid antivirus:

Norton 360 Antivirus



  • Protection against all forms of malware 
  • No bandwidth limits for vpn 
  • Simple interface 
  • Good mobile app
  • With parental control features 
  • No free version 
  • Higher plan pricing 
  • Some features may require additional apps 

Norton Antivirus is one of the big names in antivirus software and one of the best programs to get rid of viruses. It is designed to protect computers and other devices from various types of malware, including viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other online threats.

Norton 360 antivirus goes beyond ordinary malware detection. It boasts real-time threat protection, an advanced firewall, and a Norton VPN. Here are the features of Norton 360 antivirus:

  • Virus and malware scans
  • Real-time threat protection
  • Smart firewall
  • PC cloud backup 
  • Parental controls 
  • Password manager 
  • Secure VPN
  • System optimization 

McAfee Antivirus



  • Ease-of-use
  • Low-cost multi-user option 
  • Encrypted storage 
  • Virus protection pledge
  • Confusing upgrades 
  • Slow full scan for Windows 

McAfee Antivirus's user-friendly interface, consistent updates, and secure antivirus make it an appealing choice for both beginners and experienced users. 

It provides a variety of plans, with the basic plan covering one device and the premium and advanced plans covering unlimited devices. McAfee antivirus secures your devices with the following:

  • Real-time threat protection
  • Identity monitoring
  • Password manager
  • VPN
  • Online account clean-up
  • Firewall
  • File shredder
  • Protection score 

McAfee protects you continuously from phishing, viruses, hackers, and ransomware. It also includes alerts before connecting to risky websites. McAfee pledges to remove viruses from your computer or guarantee your money back. 




  • Excellent malware protection
  • Automatically scrubs system
  • VPN included
  • Overall good value
  • Inexpensive personal plan 
  • Scans take a while
  • No file encryption
  • Usage caps for VPN
  • Expensive business plan

BitDefender is one of the best antivirus providers on the market. It has an excellent record of passing independent lab tests, is priced lower than competitors, and offers real-time protection. It also has an anti-tracker component, anti-phishing features, and valuable security features.

It offers everything from free antivirus for personal use to enterprise security packages. The free version of BitDefender protects for 30 days and offers features like anti-phishing. It has excellent phishing protection and network threat prevention. 

BitDefender also includes additional browser protection with its anti-tracker component, installed as an extension on your browser. You can do four types of virus scans: a quick scan, a system scan, a vulnerability scan, and a custom scan.


⚠️Warning: No antivirus software can guarantee 100% protection against all viruses. It is vital to have a multi-layered security approach. Firewalls can also protect your system. 

Read our article on the


Viruses can wreak havoc on your computer by disrupting your system and possibly stealing your data. Consequently, recognizing virus symptoms on your computer can give you a significant advantage in protecting it.

Several methods exist to detect and get rid of viruses. One of these is using reputable antivirus software. A reputable antivirus program can protect your computer from viruses and malicious software. 

However, remember that no antivirus software can provide 100% protection against viruses. Thus, using good antivirus software, multiple layers of security, and safe computing will make your digital life safer and more accessible.


What motivates individuals to create computer viruses?

Some people create computer viruses to harm, steal, prank, test, create chaos, make illegal money, etc.  

Are computer viruses exclusively designed for malicious purposes?

Yes, viruses are primarily designed to cause harm. There are viruses created to test system vulnerabilities, such as the Creeper virus in 1971, but they usually don’t spread outside the test environment.

Can computer viruses evade antivirus software?

Yes, some viruses are designed to evade detection by antivirus software. Cybercriminals continue to develop sophisticated malware to bypass traditional antivirus defenses. 

Is it possible for a virus to affect hardware?

Yes, a virus can affect hardware. Some viruses are designed to overload the CPU, causing the hardware to overheat and cause damage or permanent failure. 


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