How do I get rid of malware on my computer?

Episode 1136 (1:32:58)

Linda from El Segundo, CA
Laptop

Linda has a Windows 7 machine that has been infected with malware. Leo says that ultimately, it's probably best to use the recovery discs that came with the computer. Most OEMs don't include original Windows install discs, but usually offer recovery discs. She could try cleaning the malware off, but usually malware invites more viruses, so it's the malware she doesn't know about that she should be concerned about.

Linda should backup her data, format the hard drive, and then reinstall Windows 7. Then she should make sure it's completely up to date. It's the only way to be sure she's clean.

Linda says she tried reinstalling Windows, but Windows rejected the activation code from the sticker on the computer. Leo suspects the company that custom built Linda's computer may have put a pirated copy of Windows on her machine. She'll have to buy a new licensed copy, but they may offer her a discount. Linda should call 800-RU-Legit. Microsoft will ask her for the details of the company that built it. Then ask them for a discount on a legitimate version of Windows.

Leo also reminds her not to ever pay ransomware like the MoneyPak virus.