If you think you have a virus, worm, Trojan horse or other unwanted invader on your computer, there are steps you can take to assess the damage and eliminate the problem. (Note: People commonly use the word "virus" to denote any malicious threat against a computer.)
Classic virus symptoms
To prevent infections, we highly recommend you install antivirus software on your computer. Antivirus software protects your computer from malicious software that can damage your CPU, destroy your files and steal your identity. (What is a computer virus?)
Of course, sometimes threats get past the best defenses. If you're experiencing any of these things, you may have a virus:
- Freezing and/or crashing
- Missing or corrupt files
- Difficulty saving files
- Computer unexpectedly restarts
- Programs randomly open
- Task manager won't open
- Constant pop-up boxes
- Much more spam in email box
- Windows updates don't install
- Unable to open files and folders
- Passwords have been changed
- Problem installing new software
- Noticeably slower -- Startup and/or shutdown
- Unexpected errors -- Low memory, system files missing
- Hardware issues -- Nonresponsive keyboard, printer
If your computer is exhibiting virus symptoms, do the following:
- Scan your hard drive and all files. Depending how much you have stored on your computer, this process can take a little time. Be patient. This is a critical step.
- Review the scan results. When the scan is complete, you'll receive a summary of what was found -- including the names of any viruses, spyware, bots, worms, adware, Trojans and/or worms that were found. Keep this information. It will help you when you go to remove the threat.
If you've found a threat on your computer and need to remove it, go to the CenturyLink PC Services page. Once you enter your telephone (or billing account) number, you can run a free PC Health Check. This will give you more information about the health of your computer and any security breaches.
If you are a CenturyLink @Ease® subscriber and have the Ultra plan, you can have a CenturyLink tech help you remove the virus from your computer. On the CenturyLink PC Services page, go to the "I Know What I Want" box, select Suspect Malware and click the "Connect to a Technician" button. Someone will work with you to resolve the problem. (Visit the CenturyLink @Ease page to learn more. Click the "Plans & Prices" tab and then use the drop down arrows to see exactly what's included with each plan.)
If you don't have a CenturyLink @Ease plan with virus removal included, you might be able to remove the virus yourself. Searching the Internet brings up many virus removal resources including: free and paid tools, how-to guides and listings for local resources.
To protect your computer, do the following:
- Keep your virus definitions up to date. To be effective, antivirus software must be kept current. It's important to download the latest virus definitions when your antivirus software tells you to. If you find this to be a hassle, you can set up your software to do it automatically for you. (If you need the latest security updates, you can download them using the Intelligent Updater Tool.)
- Run your antivirus software routinely. Again, if this is something you find to be a pain (or you just forget to do it), you can automate the task.
- Be proactive. Scan your files and programs. You can set up your antivirus software to automatically scan emails and files before you open/download them. It's wise to scan ALL files, even if you trust the source.
- Back up your files regularly. New malware is created daily. Having a backup of your data can be a lifesaver if a virus gets past your protection measures.