I’ve Been Infected But My Antivirus Program Isn’t Working – What Do I Do Now?


You are up late at night, finishing your latest presentation for the boss. You then decide that you need more information to go with what you already have, so you decide to do a little surfing on the Internet through Google. A site pops up on Google that shows some promise, so you decide to click on it. The next thing that you know, your computer is going crazy and there is a load of pop ups that are now appearing on your pc.

Your worst fears have now been realized, you have been infected with a new virus on your system. You try to run your resident antivirus program that is installed on your computer but it is not working. So what do you do?

This is what I hope to answer here.



There are certain types of viruses or malware out there that will take control of your computer and not release it until you perform a certain action that they request. It is a scam to make you buy a fake antivirus product or get your credit card number. Most of the time they will not even release your computer even if you do go through with it.

The best thing to do at this point is to bypass the system. You can do this with either a live CD or hooking your hard drive to another computer.

I will go over both solutions –

Use Linux

When you use a live CD of what is normally a Linux distro, this allows you to be able to boot up your computer and run an operating system on top of it. (Usually through your CD/DVD player or the USB port of your computer).

This operating system, usually Linux, can see your hard drive and other hardware that you may have on your system but the operating system itself is not connected to it. You will have to run a Linux command called ‘mount’ to have access to your hard drive to be able to scan it. Once you mount the disk, there are several antivirus programs that will run on Linux, and will see a virus on a Windows partitions as well. Run this antivirus and disinfect all of the viruses that it sees.

There are ways to be able to update and save the antivirus database so that it sees newer viruses but you will have to look that up. It is different in each live CD distro that you may use.

This solution is the best solution when you are dealing with a nasty virus on your laptop.

Connect Your Hard Drive To Another Computer

If you are dealing with a nasty virus that is on your desktop that will not let you access your antivirus program, a good solution is take out the hard drive and connect it to another computer. You can look up several places online that will give you a walk through on how to disconnect your hard drive and then connect it to another computer. Once you have connected this second drive to the other computer you can now look at the files and folders just like you would do on any other drive. You will have to be careful while this second drive is connected to your computer – you do not want to click on any files and infect this second computer! So as soon as you get the second drive working on the computer make sure that you scan it right away.

Once all infections have been found and removed you can reconnect the hard drive back to the original computer.

Hopefully these tips will help you solve your virus problem on your computer. A nasty bug can ruin your day, especially when it will not let you do anything on your computer and scareware is an altogether different type of annoyance.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


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