How to Remove Rootkits

A rootkit is one of the sneakiest forms of malware because it almost always goes undetected. A rootkit goes undetected because it is capable of installing itself on your PC by sneaking past your PC's operating system and antivirus scanning program. For this reason, a rootkit is extremely difficult to remove from your computer.

The most common method of removing rootkits is by completely wiping the hard drive clean and reformatting it. Since all of your files are on the hard drive, removing a rootkit also includes wiping out all of your files and starting fresh again. Depending upon how much damage the rootkit has created, it may be possible to back up the files from your PC prior to reformatting the hard drive.

Hard Drive Imaging

If you have not already done so, it is a good idea to make a regular practice of duplicating your hard drive in the event that a rootkit or other malware makes its way into your PC. This technique is known as hard drive imaging and creates an exact duplicate of your hard which enables you to restore your system to its original state.

If you have not engaged in the practice of hard drive imaging and want to avoid wiping your hard drive completely, you may want to consider a rootkit removal program.

Rootkit Removal Programs

Although a rootkit is difficult to detect, there are several free and paid programs that have a good reputation for detecting rootkits. Before choosing one of these programs make sure you do your research to make sure they come from trusted sources and are effective in detecting and removing rootkits.

  • Rootkit Revealer: This program detects rootkits by scanning your computer system at the highest level and then comparing it to the results at the lower level. It provides a way to do a manual scan and an automatic scan with an easy way to interpret the results.
  • F-Secure Blacklight: This rootkit detection program works to fight rootkits and all the types of malware that feed off of rootkits, by running a detection system that identifies files that are hidden from users and antivirus programs. It examines your computer at a very deep level so it can identify hidden objects. When it detects unauthorized files, it provides you with the option to remove them.
  • Rootkit Buster: This program acts a combination scanner and registry cleaner. It scans hidden files, drivers, registry entries, and Master Boot Record rootkits and cleans hidden registry files.

There area many other rootkit removal programs available if you do your research. If your computer is not currently infected with a rootkit, it is a good idea to take precautionary measures and employ a firewall, antivirus, and anti-malware program, and then do a rootkit scan on a periodic basis.

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Spyware has many ways of getting onto your computer, such as:

When you download programs - particularly freeware, or peer-to-peer sharing programs.

More covertly, spyware can install itself just by you visiting certain sites, by prompting you to download an application to see the site properly.

ActiveX controls. These pesky spyware makers will prompt you to install themselves while using your Internet browser