From the Kenosha News on 1-23-05

How to Clean Tough Viruses

      The most important advice for your computer is to have an up-to-date anti-virus and use it wisely.  However, there are viruses that can't be cleaned by routine scanning with anti-virus.  If you're getting notifications that you have a virus, and it just won't go away, here are two strategies to try:

      First, try scanning your computer in safe mode.  Some viruses create processes that start up when the computer starts.  If these processes are running while you scan and clean, the virus cannot be removed, and it will keep coming back.  Starting in Safe Mode prevents these programs from running at startup.  It also prevents any connection to a network or the internet which might be causing re-infection.

      To start a computer in Safe Mode, shut it down completely and then turn it on.  When you first begin to see activity on the screen, press F8.  I usually press F8 a few times about each 2 seconds since pressing it at just the right moment is difficult.  (Don't press it too often or you'll get a keyboard error.)  You should get a list of options, the first of which is Safe Mode.  Use your arrow keys to highlight it and press Enter.  You may get another screen prompting you of your version of Windows.  Once past these screens, your desktop will come up with the words "Safe Mode" in each corner.  Your screen may look different, but don't worry, that's just a property of being in Safe Mode.  If you don't see "Safe Mode" in the corners of your desktop, shut down and try again.

      Once in Safe Mode, scan your computer with anti-virus and let it clean everything it can.  Whenever a virus goes to quarantine, make sure you delete the contents of the quarantine, or subsequent scans may report that a virus still exists.  If you still have persistent viruses, restart to return to normal mode and move to the next strategy.

      Some viruses make changes to your computer's registry, and those need to be repaired to remove the virus.  To find out how to repair the virus you have, note its name carefully, and go on the internet to Symantec.com.  Click on the Security Response button, then scroll down and click on the link for Virus Encyclopedia.  In the search box, type the name of your virus and click the Search button.  On the resulting list of links, click on the one you think represents your virus exactly.  Scroll down to the section called Removal Instructions. 

      First check if the instructions indicate that a patch (usually a Windows update) is required to prevent re-infection.  Make sure you find the patch at Microsoft.com and install it on your computer.  While the patch will prevent re-infection, it will not remove the virus.  Keep looking in the Removal Instructions.  There may be some instructions for you to follow, but if you're lucky, there will be a link to a removal tool.  Download the removal tool and run it.  It will make the registry changes and other necessary steps to remove the virus.

      My thanks to the folks in the computer class at the Kenosha Senior Citizens Center for prompting this topic.

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 1-23-05