Removing Malware from computers is one of my favourite jobs, guess I enjoy the challenge 🙂 I’m an advocate of the phrase “prevention is better than the cure” but when it comes to Malware, sometimes it doesn’t matter how careful you are; something slips past your defenses. If you keep your anti-virus/anti-malware software up-to-date and do regular scans, anything that does slip in should get picked up – hopefully before it causes any grief! To see my definition of malware hop over to pcjudo for good explanation.
If you’re unlucky and do get a Malware infection of a major type, some IT Pro’s pro’s would advise you that the best thing is to format your hard drive and do a clean install of the OS (Operating System), if you’re not sure what an OS is, pcjudo has the answer 🙂 In principle, this not bad advice because the time spent removing the malware and repairing the damage to system files can mount up and “time is money”! If you make regular backups and make regular disk images, then reverting to a previous disk image is the quickest method to get you up and running again. All you would need to do is use your backups to get you back to near enough as it was.
If you’re REALLY UNLUCKY and you get infected with malware and you don’t have a recent (or any) disk image and you don’t have any recent backups; then you’re in trouble! You’ll have to decide how to minimise your losses. If you don’t mind having a very much thinner wallet, then employing an IT Pro highly skilled in malware removal is the way to go. They might not be able to retrieve all of your data but should be able to remove the malware and repair any damage to system files. If you have to ask how much it will cost, you can’t afford it lol
If you have a “paid for” anti-virus product and you don’t mind spending your own time, most companies will be happy to help you remove the virus and quite often at no cost but again there is no guarantee that all of your data can be preserved or retrieved.
Removing malware can be a daunting and expensive task, prevention is not always possible so if nothing else; try to minimise the impact and that isn’t difficult, neither is it technically demanding.
Quick word about System Restore (Windows), this is a nice feature but it might not work the way you think it does! It does only backup “System files”, the files used by Windows to run properly, it doesn’t backup any user or program settings so use it with caution and don’t use it at all unless you understand what it will do!
Make use of the built-in “back up” options in Windows 7 & especially the improved features in Windows 8. Windows 8 also provides a Disk Image option but I prefer to use Macrium Reflect.
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