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How do I get Rid of a Malware Download?

Allison Boelcke
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Malware, also referred to as malicious software, is a broad term that refers to any type of destructive software that affects a computer’s security or performance. One of the most common ways that malware infects a computer is through downloading unknown files. If you have downloaded a file that has resulted in viruses, spyware, or any other software that is slowing down your computer, there is a way to remove it and preserve your computer.

Since malware can be disguised as a program file, it may not be able to be easily located and deleted. You will need to run a malware or antivirus scanner. Most computers come with a scanner or it is available to download for free off the company’s website. For example, computers with Windows can use Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool. Macintosh computers tend to not be as susceptible to malware downloads as personal computers, but Macintosh users can download the iAntiVirus scanner from the company’s website.

File scanners are generally user-friendly and just require you to click “Scan” to run them. Some scanners may take from 30 minutes to over an hour to completely scan your computer for malware file downloads. Once the scan is finished, it will show a list of any malware files that have been hidden on your computer. The files may have long names, so carefully write the names down so you can delete them later.

Some scanners, especially ones that you purchase with your computer, may delete malware after it detects it. If you have a scanner you downloaded for free online, its capabilities are more limited. It generally may identify a malware download but require you to delete it on your own.

Deleting a malware download on your own can be potentially harmful if it is done incorrectly, which is why the safest option may be to download a computer cleaner software tool that can delete specific files. Some examples of computer cleaner software tools are CCleaner and Pocket Killbox, which can be downloaded for free online. These tools allow you to type in the exact names of the malware download files you want deleted and can safely delete them without risking damage to your computer that can be caused if you deleted the wrong file on your own by mistake.

Some computer cleaner software tools simply require you to click “Run” and it will scan your files for any issues. After it finds the malware, it may prompt you to select “Remove” to delete the files. If you download a cleaner tool that requires you to input the name of the file to be deleted, refer to the list your wrote of malware found by the first scanner and type the exact file name into the “File to be Deleted” field. After the tool deletes the files, restart your computer and type a malware download file name from your list into your computer’s search function to ensure files are gone. If not, you may need to get professional help to make sure any malware downloads did not do permanent damage to your computer.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Allison Boelcke
By Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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