Scientific American presents Tech Talker by Quick & Dirty Tips. Scientific American and Quick & Dirty Tips are both Macmillan companies.

In the past few months, I’ve received a large number of virus and malware related questions. So I’ve decided to do a more advanced episode on computer recovery and virus management. Some of the strategies I mention in this episode may be above your tech comfort level, but it is always good to have a working knowledge of what to do in case your computer is infected with a nasty piece of malware.

If you haven’t yet read or listened to my episodes on the Anatomy of a Virus and How to Easily Delete Computer Viruses, please go check out the links to these episodes on the Quick and Dirty Tips website. They’re episodes 11 and 12 respectively.

Just to refresh, what is malware? Malware is a nasty man-made computer bug that either takes over your computer to use for nefarious purposes, or it takes over your computer and holds it hostage until you “pay” the creators of the malware to take it off for you. In both of these situations, you lose the control of your computer.

Malware infections can range from the merely annoying spammy program, to a full blown lockdown on every control of your computer. I’ve already discussed some easy ways one would remove simple infections in an earlier episode. However, the topic of today’s episode is the full blown infection. A full blown infection is when your computer is completely inoperable because the malware has locked the keyboard or prevented you from running any applications. These viruses generally aren’t cured by a single antivirus software, and they could actually be caused by more than one infection. This is the sort of infection you will be keenly aware of because you will not be able to use your computer.

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