Use Malwarebytes to Clean an Infected PC

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"I'm on a Windows computer, and I've started to get pop-up ads over my games. Can you help?"

It sounds like you've gotten a bit of malware on your system. Here's some first aid.

Go to Malwarebytes.org and download the free version. If it asks where to save it, your desktop will be fine. Make sure that you get this software directly from the Malwarebytes.org site and not any other place.

When you have downloaded it, run it (double-click the file you downloaded) and let it install itself. Tthen set it to scan your entire machine. If you wish, you can set it to delete everything that it finds. This will usually solve your problems.

If you have an anti-virus program running already, and you know how to turn it off, you should do this before you run Malwarebytes. If you don't know how, don't worry about it.

Step By Step

Here's a video showing you how to install Malwarebytes. Note that the web page today looks a little different, but if you follow the link above, you're on the right spot.

Here's the screen you'll get once Malwarebytes is installed. Select the Fix Now (or Scan, they do the same thing) and let it run. It won't take too long -- maybe 10 minutes or so. It only scans your Windows directory and installed programs, not every file and every drive, because it knows where the malware likes to hide.

At the end of the scan, it will show you the results. Did it find something? When I start my scans,I select the "show me and let me decide" option instead of the "fix it automatically" because I wanted to see what it found and make a decision.

It turns out, for me, that';s a good idea. It didn't find any malware, but it did find what Malwarebytes calls "PUP - Potentially Unwanted Programs." Sometimes these can be programs that fetch malware, and sometimes they're just extra programs that download sites include without asking you. In my case, two of the it found are "PUPs" are simply some obscure programs that Malwarebytes doesn't recognize, so I set those as exceptions.

Once You're Clean ...

Turn your anti-virus software back on and make sure your subscription is up to date. Anti-virus software does little good if it doesn't know how to detect all the new malware, because people mostly aren't still sending the old stuff.

More Help

If you have previously used Malwarebytes in the past, you can run it again after you update the database. But if it's been awhile, you probably want to download the latest version.

If you try to run the installer and it tells you that you must uninstall the previous version first, here's a video that will show you how.

If, for any reason, the old version won't uninstall, go to the Malwarebytes Helpdesk page, and click to download and then run their uninstaller. Once you run it and reboot your machine, you'll be able to continue the new Malwarebytes installation.

Here's a link to the overall Malwarebytes Helpdesk, where you'll find very nice step by step instructructions, more tutorials, and answers to many of your questions.

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