While Microsoft has created newer versions of the Windows operating system since Windows XP's release in 2001, the latter remains popular among individual consumers and businesses. Trojan viruses occasionally infect the Windows XP installation, especially if the computer is not protected by security features like antivirus and firewall software. Trojan viruses can slow down a computer and pose a security threat.
A Trojan horse virus is dissimilar from most computer viruses. While most viruses simply corrupt user data or cause your system to slow down, a Trojan virus allows unauthorised access to the host computer. For example, a hacker may use a Trojan to access your personal data or spy on your web-surfing habits to send you advertising.
Learning how to remove a Trojan virus from Windows XP will help you restore your computer and protect your personal data.
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Click the "Start" menu button in the lower left-hand corner of the Windows XP screen. Select "Restart" to reboot your computer.
Launch your antivirus program by double-clicking its icon or selecting it from the Windows XP Start menu. Click "Scan" in the antivirus-program interface to have the software scan your entire computer for viruses and Trojans. Wait for the program to finish scanning your entire computer. Depending on the speed of the PC processor, this process may take several hours.
Delete any Trojan-horse viruses discovered by the antivirus program. Some antivirus programs allow you to simply quarantine a file. Do not quarantine a file infected by a Trojan horse.
Back up your computer data after finding and removing the Trojan horse and deleting the infected file. You may either use blank CDs/DVDs or an external hard drive. Having a backup of your computer data allows you to remove and delete future infected files and replace them with a clean, pre-infected version of the file.
Consider activating the built-in "System Restore" feature in Windows XP. Click the "Start" menu button and select "Control Panel." Double-click the "Performance and Maintenance" icon and click the "System Restore" tab in the "System Properties" window. "System Restore" saves the state of your Windows XP installation at regular increments. If a Trojan horse or other virus infects and corrupts your hard drive, you can simply have Windows XP revert to a previously saved version of your hard drive. Find more information on the official System Restore page of the Microsoft Windows support website (see Resources).
Tips and warnings
- Learn how to prevent Trojan viruses before they infect your installation of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system. Never download PC games or computer programs from unverified third parties, as these are often Trojan viruses masquerading as a legitimate program. Install an antivirus program and keep it updated. There are various paid antivirus programs released by companies such as Norton and McAfee. If you do not wish to pay for such software, consider installing a free antivirus program like AVG (see Resources). Also, install a firewall to prevent Trojan viruses from communicating with hackers. Windows XP has a built-in firewall that should always remain activated. You may also want to download a free firewall program from a third party, such as Zone Alarm (see Resources).
- Back up your computer data frequently (or activate Windows XP System Restore) so you can revert to a pre-infection state without losing important computer files.
- Remove Trojan horses promptly, as they spy on your computer usage and send sensitive data to the hacker that created them.
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