Computer and Software Support

Spyware and Virus Troubleshooter

The are many Viruses out there and each virus cause different problems. Because of that this page is a general tool. Follow these steps Click on hyperlinks for instructions for that step. Some steps may not apply or work depending on your situation. If they don't apply, skip to the next step. Continue till issue is resolved.

NOTE: Due to the number of viruses and spyware that can infect your system, an anti-virus or anti-spyware program may not catch all of the infections. That is why it is good to run numerous programs. Below is instructions on how to detect the infections and get rid of them.

NOTE: As of the creation of this page, the sites listed here have free online scans. This may change by the time you use the site. They are external sites and I have no control over them. Sometimes these programs may not run. If one will not run, just skip to the next one.

NOTE: There is so many different variants of spyware that it is almost impossible to state which anti-spyware software to use for a particular problem.

WARNING Viruses and spyware can alter system settings, cause data loss, or irreversible damage to your operating system. Sometimes by removing the virus will cause the system not to work or perform worse. Sometimes the only way to fix the issue is to re-install the operating system. This is not always the case but can happen. You should back up your important files in the event the infection causes loss of data or unable to boot into Windows. Be sure to scan the files after you back them up to be sure they are clean.

Here is information on how your system gets infected

Webpage infections - How a webpage can infect your computer

Problem Recorder - This tool allows you to record the steps you took when a problem occurred so you can give it to a technician. This way the technician can see all the steps you took when the problem occurred.


Spyware info - Information on spyware and popups

If you cannot get the anti-virus and anti-spyware to run because of the virus, Click here for help

Sometimes a virus or spyware will not allow a program to run. You may get the message that you have to be the administrator. Here is some information on this.

Here is a list of available anti-spyware and anti-virus programs

 Click on the hyperlink for instructions for that step. (Some steps may not apply to your situation. If this is the case, skip to the next step.)

  1. Before troubleshooting there is specific questions you need to answer Click here for the questions.
  2. Back up your data that you do not want to loose (such as pictures documents, letters, financial information. Viruses can alter your system and sometimes the removal of a virus can cause the system to crash. Doesn't happen all the time but there is a possibility of it. Be sure to scan your back up after your done fixing your computer)
  3. Check for a list of issues at the computer problems section
  4. If you have access to the internet, update your anti-virus program to make sure you have the latest updates. Norton's Antivirus or other anti-virus program.
  5. Delete Cookies, History, Temporary Internet Files
  6. Update your anti-virus or anti-spyware software (if you are unable to access the internet because of the infection, run the scan without updating but once you can access the internet, update your anti-virus or anti-spyware and run it again)
  7. If you cannot browse the internet in Internet Explorer, it might be because of the proxy. Click here on how to turn proxy off
  8. Run Malwarebytes For instructions on using it, click here If you cannot get Malwarebytes to run, the virus may be preventing it to run. Download Malwarebytes Chameleon
  9. Download and run AutoRun to see if a suspicious file is loaded in various startup locations. If there is one listed, disable it and see if the problem goes away. Do a search on the file if you determine it is part of the virus, then delete it.
  10. Boot to Safe mode and run a full scan with your anti-virus program Norton's Antivirus or other anti-virus program. (Some anti-virus programs will not run in safe mode. If that is the case then run it in normal mode).
  11. Boot to Safe Mode with Networking (Windows XP) and then follow rest of the procedures on this page.
  12. Delete cookies and adjust Internet Options
  13. If the anti-virus program finds a virus and cleans the virus, reboot computer and run the anti-virus program one more time. See Note on bottom of page.
  14. If you can get online, Go to a website of an anti-virus program (like Norton, Mcafee, so forth). They should have a database of viruses with information on how to deal with them. If you know the name of the virus that you have, or the files it installed. You may be able to find information on how to deal with them on their site. 
  15. Sometimes a virus or spyware will keep the anti-virus or anti-spyware from updating. If that is the case, try running it without updating it and then try updating it. If it updates, then run the scans again. If it still doesn't update, continue the rest of the troubleshooting steps.
  16. Try running Trend Micro online scan  For help using Trend Micro, click here for instructions.
  17. Go to and run a scan for spyware on your system.
  18. Try using Spybot 
  19. Boot to the anti-virus CD or Floppy (If the anti-virus has the capability)
  20. Anti-virus is not detecting the virus, click here for info
  21. There is a virus that installs autorun.inf in the root directory of drives such as hard drives and flash drives. At the moment the anti-virus software does not remove this file. It is hidden and in order to see it, you have to unhide hidden folders.
  22. If the anti-virus program will not run because of the virus, or the anti-virus program is not getting rid of the virus (This is possible because the virus is already on system and preventing the anti-virus program from working) you will need to contact the anti-virus company to see if they can fix the issue. If they can't get rid of the virus, or you don't want to pay for the assistance (some anti-virus companies charge for their assistance) then you are looking at a possible reinstall of the operating system.
  23. Re-register the cryptographic files with the automated utility.
  24. If the cryptographic file utility doesn't work or will not run, then register the files manually.
  25. Reset the Host file. Click here for instructions
  26. If you can't get on internet to run the scans, you can try re-installing Internet Explorer as a last effort before a reinstall of the operating system.
  27. Even after getting rid of the virus, you can still have issues with your windows. If you are experiencing problems and you are sure the virus is gone. Use the Software Troubleshooter.
  28. Once your system is up and running, Turn off System Restore to delete existing restore points and then recreate them. CLICK HERE FOR AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE WHY YOU SHOULD PERFORM THIS STEP!!! (A restore point will not allow anti-virus software to touch it and therefore the restore point will re-infect the system if the restore point has a virus) Note: see warning!!!
  29. Scan your system again with your anti-virus software
  30. Create a restore point so you can do a system restore if you need to. Information on System Restore.
  31. Here is information about staying safe online.

NOTE: If you get rid of the virus and your system is working, it would be good to make sure you have your anti-virus software updated and run scan one more time.

NOTE: It is good to do a scan for virus and spyware with more than one software. Some times one anti-virus software will not find a virus or spyware but yet another one will. As far as anti-virus, only have one anti-virus software installed on the computer or you will have conflicts. You can have one software installed on computer and then do an online scan from other software but you can't install more than one on the computer.

NOTE: During the procedures you may get a message to install Active X. For more information on it, click here.

NOTE: When you click on a link it may open on a page you already have open. You may not want to loose that page. Click here for instructions on having a link open a new page instead of reusing an open page.

Some good free software for spyware detection is Spybot, Ad-aware Trend Micro,

Some good software for virus scan is Norton's, Mcafee, PCCillian, AVG, Trend Micro (Some have to be purchased to be used. Others offer you free versions. Some offer free online scans) (Some of the programs offer both spyware and anti-virus in one package)

Click here for tips to avoid viruses and other types of tips

If you keep getting re-infected but can't figure out what is causing the issue, this page may help.

Be sure to make sure your anti-virus is up to date and you have done all your windows updates.