Trojan horse viruses are one of the most dangerous threats any computer user can face. They can potentially wipe all system files or other important data from your computer. Unlike normal viruses, Trojan horses masquerade as benevolent files, making them harder to detect. However, you can detect and remove Trojans by examining a built-in system tool in Windows. Running regular virus scans aids the process of removing Trojans, but even the most updated databases can be outwitted by a new Trojan.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Virus scanning software
Click "Start," then type "msconfig" into the Search box. In Vista, right-click the program and choose "Run as Administrator" if you have administrative privileges. Press "Enter" to run the System Configuration Utility.
Click on the "Startup" tab. According to Trojan-Horse Info, most Trojan horse viruses automatically run at start-up to communicate with their server, so you can disable them from the Configuration Utility.
If you see any processes in the list that look suspicious or have no description, uncheck them. System files appear in the "C:\Windows\" directory and subfolders and frequently have the ".sys" file extension. Never uncheck a process with a .sys file extension. You will also see several .exe files that are also critical to system performance and should be left as is.
Run your virus scan. Use the virus scan utility to quarantine or delete infected files, write down their locations and restart your computer.
Navigate to the locations of the infected files you found in Step 4 and delete any infected files that still remain.
Tips and warnings
- Never end Windows system processes using Task Manager; they are vital to Windows' functionality.
- Never disable .exe start-up programs without ensuring they aren't system files. For a list, see the Resources section.
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