How to get rid of malware that keeps coming back

Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials can get rid of most malware, but here’s what you can do if it comes back.

  1. Make sure you have automatic updating turned on. This feature ensures that you have the latest security improvements from Microsoft installed on your computer. If you’re using other antivirus software, make sure that it is up to date with the latest malware definitions.
  1. Restart your PC.
  2. Run a full scan:
    1. Open your Microsoft security software.
    2. On the Home tab, under Scan options, click Full.
    3. Click Scan now.

 A full scan can take an hour or more, depending on how many files you have on your PC.

Get more advanced troubleshooting for malware that keeps coming back.

Once your computer is clean, take these steps to help keep it clean.

About the Author
Eve Blakemore

Group Manager, Trustworthy Computing

Eve Blakemore is a Group Manager for Trustworthy Computing who delivers consumer guidance around the latest trends in security and privacy. Eve joined Microsoft in 1998 and has worked in corporate and field roles with Microsoft Learning, US Public Sector, Read more »

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  1. Anonymous

    Recently, I have been getting window displayed that says my computer is not running genuine windows.  I know it is, so this is a scam.  I just want to report it.  The window heading states it is "Windows Activation Technologies"  If you don't know already, thought you would want to know it exists.  Tried to copy and paste it, but unable to do so.  Also, it has a link to a privacy statement, which I suspect is a virus.

  2. Anonymous

    My former email address  was blocked by Microsoft over the past few weeks because they said someone else was trying to use it.    Yesterday – and a few weeks ago, two of my contacts have received emails purporting to be from.  If Microsoft can block me from using my email account – how can it be that someone else has been allowed to take it over and use it in my name?   My security has been breached.  Have contacted my contacts and told them not to open anything from mahharris.  I thought Microsoft had the matter in hand.  

  3. Anonymous

    WebRoot Antivirus has 'glued' itself into my computer….I'm NOT paying for their "service" and want them OUT OF

    MY COMPUTER. They flash their ads anytime they feel like it. Please help.


    I want this 'security window' to stop sending me this warning every 5 minutes:

                    SECURITY WARNING

    Do you want to view only the webpage content that was delivered securely?

    (options)                                                       (yes)                                            (no)

  4. Anonymous

    why have windows defender? it stays on a PC no matter what and its worthless.

  5. Anonymous

    Windows Defender (WD) is free, and it is backed by Microsoft.  A lot of work has gone into its development, and Microsoft continues to maintain/update/improve it.  There are probably no other AV/security companies that have Microsoft's resources–this fact alone makes WD worthwhile.


  6. Anonymous

    I feel Microsoft is doing a great job of maintaining, updating and improving , and in backing Windows Defender.  sssssssssssso keep up the good work and God Bless 'Microsoft'!

  7. Anonymous

    Windows Defender encounterd & error like 0x800106ba went I try to tund it on ,A problem caused this progroms service to stop!   went I have a error an send it to wlndows microsoft it always says message Queuring! I have so any unreources error i know i need windows 7,I have wendows vista Basic   I try to keep my PC upda. the back door W opin!!!!! 

  8. Anonymous

    I keep a serious anti-virus program running at all times and use disposable virtual PC instances when I must browse through swampy websites. Nothing (not even Windows Defender) will stop some malware. I now scan with Malwarebytes on a regular basis. It can remove rootkits and other (very evil) malware. It's unfortunate that Microsoft can't stop these villains from infecting our systems–perhaps because they bring in ad revenue.

  9. Anonymous

    I keep getting notices the java needs to be installed, or my pc is running optimized or when I click on a link another window opens for an ad not even as well as the link I clicked on.  I have tried to install the java but get  an optimizer, pctool, websearch browser, java download which fails.  Windows Defener and Security essential doesn't find anything wrong with my pc.

    How do I resolve this?

  10. Anonymous

    I used to run the Microsoft security essentials program until it somehow got corrupted and I could not reinstall it or remove it. I blew my fuses and subscribed to F-Secure for a 1 month free trial. After the free month I gladly paid the fee. It found stuff Microsoft security essentials had not found. For example malware or suspicious programs embedded in the backup files that Windows automatically makes. For the price of a few pints of beer I got rid of that problem. I warmly recommend F-Secure. It´s not free though ( after the trial period) but once you have used it I am sure you will understand why I was elated.

  11. Anonymous

    Please, how to rid of that Smart Web Search? Thanks!

  12. Anonymous

    I have not used WD for over a year. I use Malwarebytes free version and itpops up telling me when iy has detected a malware suspect and blocked it. I also have MSE and run a FULL scan once a month. I also have Advanced System Care and it has many tools and I use quick/full scans for malware and quick scan for clean up (care). After 14 years experience with a PC I found these are a good combination and do not have any major problems. However, I do not use IE now for over a year, because if I sign in to my Yahoo account, the PC site info bar starts to jump about and go berserk. I cannot eliminate it so do not use it, I have Firefox and Google.  

  13. Anonymous

    why do I keep getting a message that internet explorer has stopped working?

  14. Anonymous

    gev me back the GOD BLESSED XP. -by microsoft hello linux!

  15. Anonymous

    If the virus keeps coming back it means the virus is also in 'System Restore'. Their are two ways to get shut. 1) Disable system restore. Then run security Full scan. Once done restart system restore. 2) Remove hard drive connect to docking station and run security Full scan. Method 1 will remove all viruses but method 2 will remove all viruses including Trojans.

  16. Anonymous

    Most of these issues are actually the virus itself… save your data.. reload your system.. keep your java updated by removing old version before updating to the newst, and yes you should do this each time it comes up. Be careful how you search and don't click just any ol link or install just coz something says so..

  17. Anonymous

    Thanks Microsoft, we appreciate your products and constant advancement in technology.  And, I feel MS is looking out for us all, using their computers, etc. and/or using someone else's product(s).

  18. Anonymous

    Always use Internet Explorer for your browser with a backup browser. It's fast, you're more protected, etc.

  19. Anonymous

    How to get rid of malware that keeps coming back


  20. Anonymous

    Why won't you publish my post?

  21. Anonymous

    To Erik the Viking,

    Apple is always patching their OS just like Microsoft, so you use Apple big deal!

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