I had Microsoft Security Essentials installed for my anti-virus in my Windows Vista but it was still infected with malware that was added from the search site Conduit. I removed it, Conduit, and all its garbage but I kept getting malware detections when I did the security scan. My Microsoft Security Essentials kept getting turned off when I shut down my computer so when I turned my computer on again, I had to turn Microsoft Security Essentials back on. So I downloaded Bullguard because I tried the free version a while ago and it worked great.
Well, it also caught the malware, but I went through the process a few times before it deleted the malware. Also, my main computer profile will not open since View Password was part of the malware and the anti-virus deleted it and my profile is closed. So, I had to make a new profile but strangely, I can open the closed profile in Safe Mode. My scans are clean now for the last 3 days (or so it says) so that problem appears to be gone. I have no more malware or virus notices. I also deleted all temp files and all other non-essential files that were downloaded on that date as well. My problem is this: my computer is very slow now.
I have three bars of internet and plenty of disk space so it should be faster. I keep it cleaned and defragged but many times now I have to refresh to do anything online and sometimes offline. So I’m wondering if the malware has somehow embedded itself and is hiding in my anti-virus? Is that possible? Or am I just paranoid. I wonder if it’s really cleaned? What is the best and safest way to be sure – and the best cleaner that you would recommend?
The best and safest way? I’m afraid you’re not going to like my answer.
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After everything that your machine has been through, and it’s quite a bit, I believe that yours is a scenario that calls for the ultimate cleaning.
What that means is back up your computer completely, reformat and reinstall Windows, reinstall all of your applications, and restore your data.
Yes, it’s painful. I’ll throw a few other ideas at you below, but in your shoes, the reformat/reinstall route is in fact the route that I myself would take.
Removing malware completely is hard
One problem here is that malware is messy; or more precisely, removing malware is messy. There’s really no way to know everything that malware might do. So, there’s just no way to know what can and should be safely removed when you’re cleaning it up.
You might very well be safe from the malware that’s been removed, meaning you’re no longer at risk of infecting another machine, or acting as a bot in a botnet or whatever else that malware was originally designed for, but the memory lingers in the form of poor performance. I know of no tool that we can just drop in that would magically make things all better for you.
Other things to try
So I promised you a couple of things. I’ll call these “straws to grasp at”.
You mentioned that you installed an additional anti-malware package. It sounds like this has left you with two: Bullguard and Microsoft anti-malware. I would uninstall one of them, and make sure that the other is still working. Two anti-malware tools can create a conflict, and there’s a chance that part of the performance issue is exactly that.
You mentioned needing to refresh pages to get them to view. If browsing the web is getting painful, I would consider a couple of additional things: clearing your browser cache, uninstalling and reinstalling the browser completely, or installing and using a different browser. Malware has been known to impact browsers adversely.
If any of those ideas work, consider yourself very, very lucky. Also, please consider backing up regularly. That way when you get an infection again, you can remove it quickly by just restoring the previous day’s backup.
But right now my money’s on your need to reinstall from scratch. And for that, I’m sorry.