malicious software removal tool

Why is my data disappearing in Windows 10?

Windows 10

Episode 1472

Kevin from Malibu, CA

Kevin is having issues with his files and folders disappearing in Windows 10. Leo says that obviously that's not supposed to happen. It's easy to accidentally drag a file or folder somewhere without knowing it. He should use the search feature to try and find it again. He should also look in the trash can. If he can't find it there, then it could be a failing hard drive or malware. Some malware will do this. He can run a scan on his computer by pressing Windows Key + CMD and type "MRT" for the malicious software removal tool. Then he should run a full scan.

Why does Windows XP keep installing the Malicious Software Removal Tool?

Episode 1219

Lee from San Diego, CA

Lee still uses Windows XP and it keeps installing the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool even though it's already been installed. Leo says it's normal for the MSRT to be updated every month. That's the idea.

Would Windows 7 run most of the programs that Lee uses in XP? Leo says yes, unless it's been abandoned by the author. Windows 7 Pro has a great compatibility mode for just that. So upgrading to Windows 7 is a good idea. And he should always remember to run as a limited user.

Do I have malware on my system?

Episode 1213

Dave from Portola Hills, CA

Dave was on a government website and he got a popup that he may be infected with malware, which forced him to reboot the system to get out of it. He's worried now that he's been infected. Leo says that's a good instinct. This has been happening a lot. Often, it happens if you've mistyped the URL, which leads you to a malware site. This is most likely from Javascript, though, which doesn't impact your computer and is designed to scare you into installing something or paying someone to claim to unlock it.

How do I protect my computer from malware?

Episode 1188

Jim from Houston, TX

Jim has been watching some of Leo's podcasts and is concerned with security on his PC. What antivirus software should he use on Windows 8.1? Leo says that Microsoft ships Windows Defender for free and that's all he needs. But he should remember that an antivirus is only as good as his own behavior. What about MalwareBytes? Leo says that while Malware Bytes is effective, he can actually do more harm than good if he doesn't know what he's doing. And if his computer has been infected, he will have no idea if he actually removed all of it or not.

Am I doing everything I can to fix my hard drive?

Episode 1101

Mike from Fountain, CO

Mike was having trouble with his hard drive. First he ran his malicious software removal tool and after 36 hours, he found one threat and nothing else. Then he ran SpinRite to clean things up. Leo says that's a sound strategy, as long as he remembers to backup his data.

Mike also is having issues with his dry loop DSL. When he contacted his company, they came out right away, which was very refreshing. Leo says that most smaller companies use customer service as a feature, while larger companies simply don't care.

Why am I unable to update Windows? Do I have a virus?

Episode 1072

Mike from Lake Forest, CA

Mike says his daughter's computer has a virus, and now he can't run Windows update. She was downloading music. Leo wonders what the symptoms were that led Mike to believe he had a virus. It could be a bad sector on a hard drive. Leo advises scanning with an online antivirus checker. Leo also suggests running Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool. Click on "Start," then select "Run,", type "MRT" and hit enter. He should choose to do a thorough scan. He can also try MalwareBytes.org.

How can I get rid of adware?

Episode 1063

Craig from Vista, CA

Craig has a ton of adware on his PC from installing software. Leo can't stress enough how important it is to be careful where he gets software. Since he doesn't really know what he has, he could have opened himself up to far more bad things. Leo suggests turning off all extensions, deleting them from his extensions folder, and running as a limited user. Look in "add/remove programs" for entries he doesn't recognize and remove them.