The marketing hype from publishers of anti-virus and anti-spyware software might lead you to believe that do-it-yourself virus removal is simply a matter of installing the right product. However, if you don’t know what you’re doing, your attempts to clean a virus from your computer may be a complete waste of time, or worse yet — cause more problems than you had before you started on your PC virus removal endeavors. Especially if you have contracted a newer virus, or one that only has homegrown tips on how to remove that virus or bug, you run into the real possibility of damaging your computer or losing some, or all of, your important files.
Missing the target – About 600 new viruses and other types of malware are discovered every month. It’s nearly impossible for off-the-shelf anti-virus software to stay in front of that tidal wave, and the shareware products that abound on the internet are usually months out of date. Thus, your software may give you a clean bill of health when in fact your computer is still infected, and spreading the infection undetected, in the background.
Catching it again – An increasing number of viruses are designed to survive detection and removal, by reinstalling themselves every time you start your computer. Most hard-drive based anti-virus programs are powerless against these kinds of viruses, because the viruses load before the anti-virus software gets a chance to. Your computer might be “clean” when you finish your virus removal, only to be re-infected the next time you boot up.
Losing the baby, keeping the bathwater – Some types of “malware” — such as adware — are actually components of freely distributed software programs, which won’t run without them. And an aggressive anti-virus program can often give “false positives”, identifying harmless program components as lethal viruses. If you automatically delete or quarantine them, programs you were counting on may stop working.
Winning the battle, losing the war – Some anti-virus spyware is so aggressive it can use a significant amount of your computer’s memory. Thus, causing your computer to slow to a crawl or interfere with the installation of legitimate software or even day-to-day usage of your PC. With performance degradation like that, who needs a virus?
The hard fact is that virus programmers are much, much more computer savvy than most users. To clean your computer safely, it’s best to turn to a trained professional with high-end tools and the knowledge to be able to tell what’s really a threat and what’s a necessary file.
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