Path: Computer > Miscellanea > How to Remove the Windows Virus

How to Remove the Windows Virus

There are many ways how your PC might catch this sinister computer virus called Windows (even the BBC has reported about this menace). Rumour has it that a certain software company has planted moles with all big PC manufacturers who are able to inject the virus directly onto the hard disks of innocent PCs sitting on the shelves and waiting to be shipped. There are also dozens of different versions of the Windows virus in circulation on CDs (the most dangerous ones are called “Windows PE”). Some PDAs and mobile phones are infected with the virus as well: the moment you connect them to your PC, the machine is doomed. Not to mention the stuff you can download from the internet!

If this happens to you, the first rule is: DON'T PANIC!

It's certainly a deeply unsettling experience to have your pristine Linux box infected by this ghastly virus called Windows and to be greeted by that ghastly colourful waving flag logo. Then again, it has happened to many others before and they all scraped through (well, more or less). So there's absolutely no need to get your knickers in a twist.

Having said that, the Windows virus is probably among the worst viruses in the non-American computer world: once your PC has caught Windows and is infected with the infamous NTFS filesystem, you'll have a hard time getting rid of it. One option (sadly only viable if your hardware is old and falling apart anyway) would be to scrap the actual PC hardware in toto. Get yourself an axe (I am told Swedish axes are best for this sort of job) and simply hack the beast into pieces (hey, this gives a whole new meaning to 'hacking'). Not only will this procedure rid you completely of the Windows virus, it will also be a deeply liberating experience: for once, you can show this humming, buzzing heap of crap, this mere machine which so often has driven you mad, who's the boss. YOU ARE THE BOSS!

Okay, back to reality as this simple and effective remedy is but rarely available. Re-installing Linux (even repeatedly) will not help either: the Windows virus is such a crafty piece of code that it will survive this procedure. Actually, re-installing Linux may make matters worse: a mistreated Windows virus can easily destabilise an otherwise perfectly healthy Linux system to such an extent that it crashes repeatedly (incidentally, this finally explains why your Linux system has been so unstable lately: Windows is the culprit here and not the farsighted and proficient Linux genius programmers!).

But never fear: I have built a step-by-step guide that should see you through. Take heart, pour yourself a stiff whisky, print my guide and simply follow it. Before long, your PC will be once more Windows-free, just as the great L originally made it! There is just one caveat: as outlined, the Windows virus can be extremely attaching. Given half a chance, it will find a hiding place. So, in your own interest, be German and follow my guide conscientiously. Don't skip any of the steps and do them in exactly the order given. (Before you touch any electronics please get rid of any static electricity... although a nice flash of static will kill viruses very effectively it will also fry the CPU, the memory modules and so on.)

  1. The first bit to clean is the motherboard. This is relatively easy: get a very strong vacuum cleaner, open up the PC (eg by removing the cover) and thoroughly hoover off everything that won't stick in its socket or soldering. Get rid of all the dust and dirt as the virus may well hide somewhere in the fluff.
  2. The CPU is slightly more difficult. First, you have to dismantle the cooling system (there's normally a latch for removing the fan) and carefully pull the CPU off its socket. Then you have to bathe it in very hot water (adding a little bleach won't hurt) and clean all the pins, for instance with a new toothbrush. Finally, hang it out to dry and put it back.
  3. For obvious reasons the memory modules (RAM) are the preferred place for the virus to hide. Fortunately, you don't have to pull them off the motherboard. Download a RAM optimising and cleaning utility (there's free software out there for this very purpose) and have it clean your RAM at least four times in a row. Afterwards, switch off the PC and wait for at least four hours before using it again. The cleaning process will destroy most of the virus, but sometimes an especially hardy strain will survive, though severely weakened: this is easily killed off by starvation, hence the four-hour-waiting period.
  4. Hard disks are another favourite hiding place as the Windows virus normally puts itself into a separate disk partition with its own NTFS filesystem. The obvious and fastest route would be to completely re-format all partitions on all hard disks but this is often not easy or even possible (think of all the data you'd have to backup and restore!). So in this case, the best course of action is to remove all hard disks (leaving all the cabling in the PC) and to put them into a washing machine, separately wrapped into old socks or some such protective layer. Give them a good old hot wash (a 90C programme for cotton is just fine) but don't use the spin. Spinning the disks around will almost certainly destroy them.
  5. CD and DVD drives: these are easy to clean but it's a truly disgusting process. To destroy the virus in a CD drive, just borrow a Bee Gees CD from someone (Boney M will also do), pop it in (yeah, I know, but this virus really requires drastic measures) and play it continually for 12 hours. You can and should of course turn down the volume, as there's no need to listen to the noise yourself (not to talk about the neighbours). DVD drives are best cleaned with a full helping of the Austin Powers movies (The Naked Gun series will also work). Again, you don't need to sit through this, so long as the virus does.

Good Luck!

Miscellanea or How to Remove the Linux Virus or Jargon File

$updated from: How to Remove the Windows Virus.htxt Sat 18 Jan 2014 13:14:24 thomasl (By Thomas Lauer)$