There are also some general bootable rescue solutions that also offer malware scanners and other repair utilities: Hiren’s BootCD (HBCD) or, as I mention above, Ultimate Boot CD for Windows (UBCD4Win).

Run scans from a clean PC - If you aren’t having any luck with Windows and you don’t have any blank discs or USB flash drives handy for bootable solutions, you could run virus and malware scans via a different computer.

If you have another computer with matching drive connections/cables, you could remove the infected drive and put it in the clean one as a slave drive. Then you can run scans on that particular drive with the working computer and then put back into its PC as a master drive again.

Fix damage after malware removal - If you do successfully remove the viruses and infections you still might have damage, such as missing system files, error messages, or Internet Explorer won’t work correctly. If so, try the steps mentioned in the second half of the Try the advanced boot options and system recovery options section. If Internet Explorer is the problem, verify the Home Page and Proxy settings, and at last resort reinstall it.

If all else fails

If you can’t seem to get rid of the infection or can’t repair Windows, you might want to reinstall Windows. If using Windows XP you can first try a repair installation with the Windows Setup CD, which won’t delete your personal files and documents.

Before doing a full Windows reinstall, you can back up your personal documents and files, device drivers, and product keys using a rescue disc, such as HBCD or UBCD4Win, mentioned above.

Some computers are loaded with a recovery partition and utility and might not have come with Windows discs. If so, you should see a recovery option during booting or on the Advanced Boot Options or System Recovery Options menus accessed by pressing F8 during boot. If your computer has a recovery solution or disc, use it instead of the Windows Setup disc.

Once you get everything back up, make sure you have antivirus installed and kept up-to-date. Consider free ones discussed in a previous article of mine, A Guide to Free Antivirus Software .

Eric Geier is the founder of NoWiresSecurity, which helps businesses easily protect their Wi-Fi networks with the Enterprise mode of WPA/WPA2 security. He is also a freelance tech writer. Become a Twitter follower or use the RSS feed to keep up with his writings.