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Protect your computer or remove virus, spyware, or other malware in Microsoft Windows

Summary: This article describes what viruses, spyware, and malware are. How to remove a suspected malware infection from your computer and ways to protect your computer against a malwareSee more

This article may have been automatically translated. If you have any feedback regarding its quality, please let us know using the form at the bottom of this page.

Article Content


Symptoms

Table of contents:

  1. What is Malware and How Do I Know if My Computer is Infected?
  2. Determine if Security Software is on Your Dell Computer and Get Support
  3. Register Your Dell Factory Installed Security Software
  4. Run the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT)
  5. Ensure that Microsoft Security Features are Enabled
  6. Install the Latest Anti-Malware Software to Protect Your Computer

What is Malware and How Do I Know if My Computer is Infected?

Malware has become the name for any type of malicious software such as spyware, adware, or viruses that harm your computer's performance or security. Most malware infections stem from Internet activity which include downloading files or even browsing Internet sites. Most measures for protecting against malware focus on ways to make Internet browsing more secure. Various symptoms can be associated with malware, so any one (or a combination) of the following symptoms could be good indicators of malware infection.

  • Browser Redirects, Popups, Homepage Changes: The browser may suddenly redirect to an unknown website, or a previously set home page may change without warning or input.
  • Slow Computer Response: The computer may seem to "lock up" or run slow during regular use. It is also not uncommon to experience delays in the operating system loading to the desktop.
  • Processor Utilization at 100% in Task Manager: The processor seems to be working overtime and/or slowly. To check the processor utilization or the kernel memory status, press the CTRL + ALT + DEL keys simultaneously. Then click the Performance tab. Processor utilization is indicated by the CPU Usage gauge.
  • Virtual Memory Low Message: This message keeps appearing no matter what changes are made to resolve the issue.

For more information about the computers and indicators of an infected computer, see the article below:

For detailed information about malware, see the Wikipedia entry on malware:

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Cause

A malware infection can cause computer performance issues, corrupt files on the computer, compromise the security of personal information and files that are store in the computer, and so on.

Resolution

Determine if Security Software is on Your Dell Computer and Get Support

Determine if you have security software that is already installed on your computer. If so, see your vendor for information about removal of malware.

To determine if you have security software, check the System Tray in the bottom-right corner of your screen for a security icon. McAfee icons typically are red with a large letter "M" in the center of the icon.

Note: If you do not have or do not want to purchase any Internet security software, Windows 10 and Windows 11 includes comprehensive security software. Go to the Windows Security Hub to preview and get support.

Register your McAfee LiveSafe Security Software

Dell computers can ship with McAfee Security Center or McAfee LiveSafe, either as a 30-day trial version or subscriptions of up to 36 months. Registration of the product is part of the Windows first-time startup process for your personal computer. Accept the End-User License Agreement (EULA) and supply your email address for registration. No further action is required.

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Run the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT)

The Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool accurately detects and removes about 80% of known viruses and spyware from your computer.

  1. Go to the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool download page.
  2. Click Download to start the download process.
  3. Click Run to download and run the program.

5: Ensure that Microsoft Security Features are Enabled

Learn more about Windows Defender firewall settings with Microsoft article, Turn Microsoft Defender Firewall on or off.


6: Install the Latest Anti-Malware Software to Protect Your Computer

You can find many home security products available for download on our main Dell website. Select Products, then select Software -> Anti-Virus and Security.

If you do not have or do not want to purchase any Internet security software, Windows 10 includes comprehensive security software. Go to the Windows Security Hub to preview and get support.

There are best practices and guidelines that can minimize your exposure to infection. See the articles below for more information about these.


If this article has not answered your question, see the video or article below for more articles on this subject:

How to Remove a Virus from your Computer (Official Dell Tech Support on YouTube)

Duration: 03:27
Closed captions: English only


Additional Information

SLN128053_en_US__1Secure  Get general information and guidance to secure your system/data on our Security and Antivirus page.

Out of Warranty support Out of warranty? No problem. Browse to the Dell.com/support website and enter your Dell Service Tag and view our offers.

Note: Offers are only available for US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, China, and Japan personal computer customers. Server and Storage not applicable.

Article Properties


Affected Product

Chromebox, Alienware, Inspiron, Retired Models, OptiPlex, Vostro, XPS, G Series, Chromebook, G Series, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Retired Models, Mobile Devices, Latitude Tablets, Mobile Streak, Surface, Venue, XPS TabletsChromebox, Alienware, Inspiron, Retired Models, OptiPlex, Vostro, XPS, G Series, Chromebook, G Series, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Retired Models, Mobile Devices, Latitude Tablets, Mobile Streak, Surface, Venue, XPS Tablets, Fixed Workstations, Mobile WorkstationsSee more

Last Published Date

04 Oct 2021

Version

8

Article Type

Solution