How to Clean up Your Windows PC

Our Guide to Removing Malware, Junk-ware and Viruses From Your Windows PC

At TSF Computers we are experts at removing viruses, malware and other unwanted programs from your computer. We put this guide together so we could share our expertise and show the process we use at our office, including links to the programs we use that will help you do a basic clean up.   This guide will show you how to clean up many of the common types of unwanted computer programs that cause issues such as slow downs and pop-ups.

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Manual Uninstall

Our first step is always to manually uninstall any “junk” software. This software usually includes toolbars, PC tune-up software, driver updaters, malicious internet browsers, etc. If you aren’t sure what a program is, feel free to google it and see if other people have asked about it. If you are unsure, it may be safer to leave it. If it is malicious, the other tools in this guide should remove it.
There are two easy ways to get to the list of installed programs:
  1. In most versions of Windows you can open the Start Menu and type “appwiz.cpl” in the search to bring up the Control Panel “Programs and Features” window.
  2. Alternatively, in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, you can right-click on the start menu and click on “Programs and Features” or “Apps and Features.” Which option you see depends on your version of Windows. “Apps and Features” will bring up the “modern” style app manager in Windows Settings.
Note: CCleaner from step 2 also has an “Uninstall” feature in the “Tools” tab that functions the same as the Windows “Programs and Features” window allowing you to manually uninstall programs during that step.

2. CCleaner

After an uninstall we usually move on to CCleaner. While CCleaner is not a virus removal tool, it does help remove a lot of temporary files (which can speed up some of our other scans) and can help reset browsers. CCleaner can also be used to turn off start-up applications.
There are a couple of important things to check/do in CCleaner:
  1. In the “Cleaner” tab: under the “System” section under the “Windows” tab, make sure “DNS Cache” is checked.
  2. If you are on Windows 10, also make sure “Session” under “Microsoft Edge” is checked.
  3. You can now click “Run Cleaner.”

3. TDSSKiller

TDSSKiller by Kaspersky is a rootkit detection and removal tool. It is useful for finding malicious services and processes that have tried to worm their way into Windows. When you get to the main screen that has the “Start Scan” button, it is useful to click on “change parameters” and check “Verify file digital signatures” as well as “Detect TDLFS file system.”
TDSSKiller can show you false positives. Some “unsigned services” may be legitimate services on your computer. If you do not know what it is, it may be best to leave it.
If TDSSKiller does detect something that requires cleaning, it may also require a reboot.

4. ADW Cleaner

ADW Cleaner by Malwarebytes is a great utility to find and remove unwanted adware, junkware, toolbars, and browser extensions from your computer. Using ADW Cleaner is simple, click “Scan.” When the scan is finished a .txt file will be displayed with the results of the scan. After that, the scan button will turn into a “Clean” button. Click clean and let ADW Cleaner do its job.
ADW Cleaner will probably want to restart your computer if it finds anything.

5. Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes is a fantastic anti-malware application that can find and remove some very obscure and hard to detect threats. When you first install Malwarebytes, it will activate a 14-day free trial that includes real-time protection and increased vulnerability detection. You can opt out of this trial if you only want to use Malwarebytes for scanning. Scanning with Malwarebytes is easy, there is literally an arrow pointing to the “Scan Now” button. When you click “Scan Now” Malwarebytes will do any updates and will scan your system. After the scan, make sure all of detected threats are checked and click “Quarantine Selected.”
Your computer may need to reboot.
After the scan, you can uninstall Malwarebytes if you don’t want to deal with the 14-day trial prompts, or you can go into “Settings” > “My Account” and click “Deactivate Premium Trial.” You can then right-click on the tray icon for Malwarebytes and uncheck “Start With Windows.”
** This Step-By-Step guide was to help you try to remove the infection yourself. Please note even though you might think you have the infection all gone, it could be dormant. If you do anything important on your computer such as banking, I would advise having use look at it and make sure 100% that infection is gone.