My malware protection is off and it won't let me turn it back on! I have AVG antivirus.
Infected PC Symptoms
This sounds like your computer managed to catch a virus despite your precautions with AVG. Computer viruses, worms, and other malware can get past defenses, especially when the virus hasn't been discovered by the antivirus developers yet or when the computer's security software hasn't been updated with the latest definitions. Many malware programs have been programmed to turn off antivirus controls and block specific computer security websites. This is a simple matter of self-preservation. After all, the longer the malware remains on the computer, the more damage it can do. For example, your computer may now be part of a huge "botnet" that is actively sending spam or infecting other computers!
Computer Security Steps after an Infection
Since your computer is showing all of the signs of a nasty computer virus, we need to clean it up ASAP. Since you can't turn on AVG, it's going to be tough. First, try rebooting into Safe Mode with Networking and then see if you can launch AVG. If so, update it and scan the entire system. If not, time for plan B.
Still in Safe Mode with Networking, try the following sites for online malware scans. Hopefully one of the sites will not be blocked by the malware:
- Microsoft's Safety Scanner
- Trend Micro House Call
- Symantec Free Scan
- Kaspersky Online Scan
- BitDefender Online Scanner
- McAfee Online Scan
- FSecure Online Scan
- Panda Online Scan
- ESET Online Scan
Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool
If you cannot run any of the above scans (and that's possible because viruses and worms such as Conficker are programmed to block numerous security websites), your next step is to use Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool. You won't be able to download it from your infected computer because the worm will most likely block the Microsoft Web site. Instead, use a friend's computer and download it to disc. Run the tool on your computer. It has recently been updated to remove a variety of notorious malware, including Conficker.
Because malware can block updates and websites, it's not a bad idea to create an antivirus boot CD. We discussed how to create a bootable antivirus CD earlier this month. Read this article and scroll down to the "Running a Bootable Antivirus Product" section for details. Again, you'll probably need to use a friend's computer because of the limited access you have to the Web.