Best Free Malware Removal Tools

For Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 To scan, troubleshoot, and remove all those troublesome pieces of software

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Careful!

Be sure to download these utilities directly from the publishers that made them. The links I’ve provided are correct, but if you have an infection it’s possible your browser may point to different locations (browser hijack). Watch the address/location bar for a different website than where you thought you were headed.


Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

https://www.malwarebytes.org/ Free to use for personal use.  A paid-for version is available for use that provides real-time protection.  This is my personal favorite go-to for scanning.


Save time!

Clear your temporary files (primarily for your web browsers) and you can take dozens of minutes off your scanning times.


Combofix by Bleeping Computer

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/combofix/ Combofix is an robust PowerShell script that if used improperly can make your computer unusable.  That said, usually what Malwarebytes doesn’t pick up on, Combofix clears up for me.  Between the two, it’s a nice one-two combo to knock out most spyware infections.

This utility can be dangerous to your computer.  Unless you are shooting for the role of paperweight-alchemist…  In which case, you have a good shot if you just wing-it with this script.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, do some reading or seek help from the folks at bleepingcomputer before using this utility.


Some useful tips

For more stubborn infections, try booting your computer into safe mode to run scans. For rogue infections (the ones that constantly pop up for you to purchase it), search Google for specific directions how to remove it. Get familiar with what real updates look like, and what fake ones in web pages look like.


HijackThis

http://sourceforge.net/projects/hjt/ HijackThis is not the best removal tool out there (as it removes close to nothing these days other than custom settings), but what it has excelled at for many years is it’s ability to make a list of things that are different than default configurations of your computer and browsers. Grabbing a logfile from HijackThis and submitting it in a forum where technical gurus can review it and point you in the right direction is where this tool shines like gold.


Don't be afraid to ask for help

After getting a report/log file from utilities like HijackThis, you can then visit a forum and post the results while asking for help about an infection.  Sites like Bleeping Computer and Tech Support Forum.


AVG Free

http://www.avg.com/ww-en/free-antivirus-download  I’ve noticed that most folks either go solely with AVG or AVAST when it comes to free antivirus for home users.  I lean toward AVG in my preference, but either is really fine for basic protection.

The one issue I have with this software is that some of my less computer-oriented customers sometimes have a difficult time of understanding the difference between updates and upgrades.  Updates are important so you can block the latest viruses.  Upgrades mean you’ll be paying money after a trial period is over.  Just be sure to be wary of notices to upgrade.

Update = YES.  UpGRADE = only if you want to pay money.


Spybot Search & Destroy

https://www.safer-networking.org/ An oldie but a goodie.  Even the free version has an “innoculate” function which helps keep malware of all sorts away by blocking websites known to be pushing bad stuff on your computer.


Can’t get an IP address after virus/malware removal?  Meet LSPFix.

http://www.cexx.org/lspfix.htm – This is a very old utility – starting from they days of Windows 95.  I know the webpage looks ancient, but that’s because it is in terms of technology.  But that shouldn’t stop you from trusting the download.

This little program has saved many a tookus.  After removing some spyware, I’ve been confronted by the situation at least half a dozen times over the course of my career where a computer will stop receiving an IP address over DHCP.  Even setting the IP address manually won’t work correctly.  DNS resolution works strangely or not at all.

This utility removes any stuck pieces left by malware after you’ve removed the infection that have clogged up the works in your local service provider stack.


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    Is your favorite malware tool not listed?

    Leave a comment and if it’s a good utility, I’ll put it in the list.

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