Simple as it seems, the question actually makes some of you wonder if there’s any sense in removing malware without installing any additional software. Most of the time owners of PCs and laptops infected with malware are advised to install some antivirus program or antispyware tool to get rid of the nasty parasites. But it’s not always possible.
So when there might be a need for a free malware removal?
• When you don’t want to pay a single dime for a seemingly simple procedure. We are too often recommended to buy some magic software to solve all of our computer troubles.
• When the user account has no administrative privileges, and there’s no way to get those privileges assigned. As you most probably know, installing any software on Windows is only possible with the highest access rights.
• When a bunch of malware removers have been installed with no evident result. Common sense tells that one problem should be solved by single software tool. Well, ideally it should be like that. If a stubborn malware cannot be caught by several security programs, it’s time to take some rest and think of an alternative way. And the best thing to do is try free malware removers that do not need to be installed.
• Sometimes it’s just not possible to install any new software. Either the computer is not yours, or you do not want any new programs added, or you care about the Windows registry being stuffed with new entries.
• When the malware issue is solved, it’s common to uninstall the program that was used for troubleshooting. But a cautious approach to Windows maintenance dictates very careful selection of software. Only those programs that are needed for frequent or not so frequent usage should be installed. Software for a one-time run should preferably be of non-installable nature.
Free malware removal tools that don’t require installation fall into two basic groups:
1. Free online virus scanners. These days just about any serious antivirus software maker offers a web-based virus scan service. These tools are run from a web browser. Usually Internet Explorer with ActiveX enabled is required to run a virus scan, but sometimes Mozilla Firefox may be used. This is good if your PC or laptop is infected with a malware that integrates with Internet Explorer, and for successful malware removal it’s needed that Microsoft browser is kept closed. Web based virus scanners allow to remove most types of the malware. By combining different services it’s possible to get rid of nearly every infection. Major drawbacks of online scanners: they’re slower than desktop applications, require stable Internet connection, and cannot perform any repair to files or the registry damaged by malware.
2. Command-line virus scanners. This type of free malware removal programs are run from Windows command prompt. Such a tool can be downloaded in a .ZIP archive format and all that’s needed to run a scan is to unpack the archive and type in the necessary commands. Command-line malware removers work in Windows Safe Mode environment which makes it easier to erase most stubborn infections. My experience shows that most users can use this method of malware removal, and only beginners may find it difficult to work in DOS-like environment.
You may consult this comprehensive list of free malware removal tools combined of the two groups listed above when there’s a need to eliminate some parasite, but your desktop security program fails to do that, and you don’t feel like paying a computer guy or buying yet another piece of software.