Virus Removal

 If you should find or suspect that you have a virus, you should immediately take steps to remove it. The longer a virus is on your hard drive the more likely it is to cause damage.

Many viruses have time sensitive triggers that allow them to replicate for a period of days or months before causing damage to your computer. So leaving a known virus on your computer, even if it seems harmless, causes unnecessary risk of damage and data loss. Furthermore Email Script viruses and other viruses that send email will unnecessarily degrade the performance of Willamette's network, and this affects everyone at Willamette.

So how do I get rid of a virus?

University Owned Computers | Personally Owned Computers

University Owned Computers

All University owned computers should already be equipped with self-updating anti-virus software. If you suspect that you have a virus infection, simply find the Norton AntiVirus icon in your system tray (looks like a small yellow shield, located in the lower-left corner of your screen, near the clock).

  1. Double-click the icon to open the program.
  2. Click on Scan Computer.
  3. Check the box for Local Disk (C:).
  4. Click Scan.

Your anti-virus software will scan your entire hard drive. If it finds a virus, it will first attempt to clean it. If it can't clean the virus, it will quarantine it by placing in a "safe area" on your hard drive where it won't be able to cause further damage to your system.

If your software is unable to clean or quarantine a virus, please call the WITS Help Desk at x6767.

If you see an error message indicating that your virus definitions are out of date, please call the WITS Help Desk at x6767.

If your computer does not have anti-virus software installed on it, please call the WITS Help Desk at x6767. We will submit a Service Request, and anti-virus software will be installed on your computer by one of our staff, free of charge.

Personally Owned Computers

Willamette University policy requires that all computers on the campus network (including through a dial-up connection) have up-to-date anti-virus software.

Willamette students who connect computers to the campus network (ResNet or BlitzNet) will have the option of downloading Symantec AntiVirus for free during the network registration process. Students who do not connect computers to the campus network (such as those who live off campus and have a non-Willamette ISP) are responsible for purchasing, installing, and updating their own anti-virus software. Willamette employees must purchase their own anti-virus software whether they connect their personal computers to the campus network or not.

To remove a virus infection, simply download the most recent virus definitions from the software manufacturer's website, then use your anti-virus software to scan your hard drive.

*Important! Some viruses can disable your anti-virus software, particularly if your software is not up to date. That is why it is imperative that you update your virus definitions on a regular basis, at least once a week. If your subscription for free updates expires, you should resubscribe as soon as possible, even if there's a cost. It's well worth the money!

If you are infected with a virus, and you don't have anti-virus software installed, you should purchase and install some immediately. Also, special fix tools exist for particular viruses that you can download from the web and save to a floppy disk. Contact the WITS Help Desk at x6767 for more information.

Important Things to Remember

  • If you do not have up to date anti-virus software, you are at risk.
  • Anti-virus software should be updated at least once a week, and preferably once a day - It is not effective if it's not up to date.
  • Viruses are most commonly spread through email attachments and file sharing (Network Neighborhood or Peer-to-Peer file sharing utilities).
  • Viruses can potentially destroy all of the data on your hard drive.
  • Anti-virus websites like Norton and McAfee provide free removal tools for certain viruses. If your anti-virus software will not clean or quarantine your virus, you should check at one of these sites for alternative removal instructions.
  • Even after you've cleaned a virus, depending on the damage it caused, it may still be necessary to reinstall your operating system. You need to have copies of all of your original system software in order to do this.
  • If you get a virus infection on your computer and don't know what to do, call the WITS Help Desk at 503-370-6767.