August 5, 2013 2 Comments-
Anti-virus scanners are like the superheroes of software, protecting our precious computers from powerful programs designed to destroy. However, like Robin helps Batman, so too can you assist anti-viruses in protecting your computer. But how?
Restart your computer in safe mode
Windows’ computers have a built-in setting called “Safe Mode”. When you switch your computer into this mode it limits the number of programs that run to just basic Windows software, so malware is prevented from running.
While this is an extremely secure way of operating your computer, the added safety comes at the expense of practicality. For example, Safe Mode automatically disables your network connections, so you can’t surf the web. It’s impossible to have a normal computing experience while inside Safe Mode, which is why we don’t use it all the time.
However (and this is where you come in), you can supercharge your anti-virus by switching your computer into Safe Mode and running a scan from there. Because Safe Mode stops non-essential processes from running, any malware that is trying to hide itself is instantly disabled, making it easier for a virus checker to find it.
If the malware was still running, it might be able to 1) disable your anti-virus from working, 2) trick your anti-virus into not searching inside the virus’ location, 3) reinstall itself automatically after it has been removed or 4) all of the above.
How to load up Safe Mode
To boot into Windows Safe Mode you need to start with computer turned off. So turn it off (although you should probably read the rest of these instructions first).
The next step can be quite scary when you do it for the first time, but don’t worry – you can’t break anything. Simply turn your computer on and push the F8 key repeatedly (the top key on your keyboard).
This tells your computer to load the Boot Options menu, a piece of software that runs before Windows even loads up. This is also why the menu screen is mainly white text on a black screen (and looks quite out-of-date).
When the Boot Options menu loads up, choose the “Safe Mode” option. Some white text will scroll up the screen, and after a moment (it can take up to five minutes) Windows will boot up. It might look quite strange but don’t worry – that just means it’s worked.
Run your anti-virus when your computer has fully booted up. Make sure you don’t open any other programs before then, otherwise you might accidentally open one with a virus inside it, and ruin the whole point of being in Safe Mode. Now run a virus scan as normal, and wait and watch while it clears your system like never before.
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