malwareAlmost daily I am asked how to remove spyware or malware from an infected windows system so, I thought I would compile a list of the free utilities I use to perform that task. That way I could point those poor souls here instead of spending thirty minutes explaining all the options.

These programs can help you remove malicious software by helping you to detect, remove, and prevent your system from getting infected in the first place. No Windows system should be without these programs.

I listed these in the order that I try them when I’m cleaning a system. If option one doesn’t work then I move to option two and so on.

Anti-Virus Scanners

These Anti-Virus Scanners protect your system in real-time, which can prevent or limit the effects of an virus infection.

  1. AVG (Free Edition)
  2. Avast (Home Edition)

Anti-Virus Scanners (Online)

These Anti-Virus Scanners can test if a system is infected or disinfect it after it has been contaminated. These online service are best used when you think you have already been infected.

  1. Kaspersky Online Scanner
  2. ActiveScan (Panda Software)

Malware and Spyware Scanners

These Malware and Spyware Scanners check your system for different types of malware (spyware, keyboard loggers, trojans, etc.).

  1. Spybot S&D
  2. BitDefender – Free Edition (Trailware)
  3. Webroot Spy Sweeper (Trailware)

Kaspersky has a very good online virus scanner that I use. If you receive a file that you think may contain malicious code, you can upload it to have it scanned.

Security Tools

If you are feeling adventurous then you can use these utilities to try and determine exactly what has happened to your system.

  • HijackThis (Finds malware by displaying changes to your system)
  • ProcessExplorer (Displays processes running on your system)
  • AutoRuns (Lists programs that startup automatically)

Happy disinfecting….