How to Remove an Exploit Virus

By Josh Baum

An exploit virus, as the name suggests, exploits weaknesses and vulnerabilities in computer systems to gain unauthorized access to applications and files, and to generally wreak havoc. If you've been noticing strange and sudden pop-ups, programs crashing, system rebooting without prompting or other problematic behavior, it is conceivable that an exploit virus is the cause. Although the term "exploit virus" refers to a broad class of viruses, known and identified exploit viruses can all be moved via the process described below.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Antivirus software (preferable, but not required)
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer

Step 1

Update your version of Windows. To do this, you can select the Microsoft Update utility from the programs menu or you can navigate to the Microsoft Update page using Microsoft Internet Explorer. The link to this page can be found in the Resources section. The utility will let you know if you already have the most recent version.

Step 2

Reboot your computer.

Step 3

Update the virus definitions on your primary antivirus program if you run one. The specific process for this varies from one program to the next, but this is a basic and essential function of all antivirus programs, so it should be fairly straightforward. Most antivirus programs will automatically check for virus definition updates on a daily or weekly basis.

Step 4

Run a full system scan with your primary antivirus program. If anything malicious is detected, quarantine the dangerous files. This may solve your exploit virus problem, but if problems persist or if you do not have an antivirus program, proceed to the next step.

Step 5

Conduct a free scan of your system by using the online system scan utility from the Windows Live OneCare center. A link to this scan can be found in the Resources section.

Step 6

Read the report generated at the end of the scan and follow the customized virus removal instructions offered by Microsoft if applicable. Microsoft may recommend that you download, install and run the Malicious Software Removal Tool, but even if it does not, you can download this program in case you need it later. A link to the download location can be found in the |Resources section.

Tips & Warnings

  • A strong defense is important for any Internet-connected computer. Consider buying or downloading a free version of a reputable antivirus program, ideally one with active protection.