Troubleshooting a Potential Virus

Computer virus can be delivered through various methods. A common mechanism is an email that appears to be sent by a familiar source (a bank, a news agency, etc) requesting the email recipient to follow a link to a what appears as a known webpage. If the link is activated by click it redirects the browser to open a compromised site and begins to download malware. Clicking on a link or an advertisement from a webpage can also open up a page with a virus on it. The best way to protect a computer from a virus is to only open e-mails and web pages from trusted sources. If something looks suspicious, it may be a virus

There are certain things that may indicate that you have some sort of virus on your computer.

**The following signs may indicate a virus on a computer:

  • Web pages are opening up without clicking them open.
  • Desktop backgrounds changed without user input.
  • Every time an attempt is made to close a web browser another opens up.
  • A window opens up saying there could be a potential virus and software should be installed to remove it that is not Sophos or Microsoft Secure.
  • Anti virus software has been disabled without user input.
  • New icons have appeared on the desktop that are not associated with recently added software.
  • The computer is running unusually slowly, often crashes unexpectedly, or frequently stops responding all together.
  • Programs are being removed without user input.

These signs may be related to having a virus, but they may also be related to a possible software issue. These are also not the only signs of a potential virus. Please contact the UWB IT Helpdesk to determine the true cause of any problems you are having with your PC.

So you think you have a virus…

First and foremost, if you think you may have opened up a webpage or file that looks suspicious do not attempt to close the window by clicking the “X” in the upper right hand corner. Take the following steps to prevent the virus from either entering your computer or spreading to others.

(Windows 7 OS)…

  1. Hit Control-Alt-Delete
  2. Click on “Task Manager
  3. Then “Processes"
  4. Windows-task-manager-process.png
  5. Next, select any internet explorer/*firefox/etc. files
  6. Right click
  7. Click “End Process Treewindows-task-manager-end-process-tree.png
    *If the patron is using Firefox, tell them not to open Firefox again because it will restore the pages that the virus had previously opened.

(Windows XP OS)…

  1. Don’t try to exit out of the web browser, instead hit “Ctrl-Alt-Alt” which will open the task manager.
  2. In the Windows Task Manager, click on the tab labeled “Processes
  3. The left hand column is titled “Image Name”. In this column you will see files titled with whichever web browser is currently being used (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.). Some examples of what the file names could look like are: firefox.exe, iexplore.exe
  4. Select each one of the internet files and right click on the file. A smaller window will open with the option to “End Process Tree”. Select the option “End Process Tree”. This should close out all web browser windows associated with the file. If you have multiple web browsers in use, be sure to perform the “End Process Tree” task with each browser
  5. ** Source material referenced from