Best Malware Removal Tools

Most of the times we all make sure to follow the safety measures while browsing the web and downloading stuff. But sometimes we fail miserably and malware removal is a necessary thing. There is a number of ways to fix the situation using different resources and tricks that vary in difficulty and complexity. Free malware removal is greatly appreciated by random users like us as well. This list is about the best malware removal techniques and tools according to the users. Browse the list, search for the method that helped you the most and vote for it!


Spybot Search & Destroy

This reliable malware removal utility finds and deletes all adware, spyware, usage tracks and Trojans, etc. There's an easy mode for beginners, and experts are able to use the advanced mode with its additional settings and tools. This program updates every week with email notifications. It is not fast but still very nice free program you will be satisfied with. 

No, you're just proving the point that it's a user problem, not necessarily a machine problem. Educate the user, problem's solved. Keeping a system clean is really, really simple.

I think malware bytes is the best all around tool but Hijackthis is the most precise and powerful...but only when an experienced person gets their hands on the logs. Also, Combofix is not a "removal tool" is it?

You people just don't know enuf about SUPERAntiSpyware. If you did you would all be voting for it, way more then the rest!!!


Panda Security

Great free malware removal tool. It practically does not consume PC resources, transferring its basic work to remote servers. The utility protects your email from spam and allows you to surf the Internet privately and securely. The product installs quickly and with no hassle. Try it and you won’t regret it

I voted for Spybot because I've had it since forever; however, since I changed the settings for how my computers accept cookies, Spybot has not found anything in many years. I use both XP Home and Vista Home Premium. I continue to upgrade Spybot and it continues to find nothing. Sometimes I wonder if it is working.

Spybot S&D, Lavasoft Ad-Aware, AVG Free antivirus, Zonealarm free firewall, and most of all - Stop suing Internet Exploder - get Firefox, Opera, Chrome, et al, and USE them.

No. There are periodic reports that say some variation of that theme, but the Firefox guys fix holes much faster than Microsoft. Also, there are basic architectural considerations - if MSIE hits a page that wants to download and install a plug-in to play content, it does so silently. Firefox tells me whenever a website wants to install a plug-in - cuts down the ability to do drive-by malware installations tremendously.


Emsisoft Emergency Kit

Get the best malware removal tool absolutely for free. The program updates databases via the Internet. It is perfect for periodic checking for viruses and thus tracking the reliability of your regular antivirus. Due to its portability, this tool can be run from USB. No installation required. Definitely a must have.

The latest AVG is bloated garbage. NOD 32 is much more thorough and catches items AVG misses regularly. Also doesn't use nearly as many system resources. I stopped recommending AVG once they started following Nortons route of bloatware.

AVG is crap since it turned V8 it let my computer get infected twice and it slows your computer to a crawl. (I used V7 on every PC I owned till the update) I managed to identify the infection with Avira AntiVir and remove manually using HijackThis! I now use Avast but I am hearing that Comodo Antivrus has improved a lot thanks to financing off its firewalls success (Which I happily use since Sygate Personal Firewall stopped getting updated) but I may test out on one of my systems! If I went the pay route it would be Kaspersky or NOD32 all the way depending on price and which of the 2 had the winning detection rating at the time!

AVG has always been crap.. first AVG I ever used, after that I didn't use anti-virus for 3 or 4 years. Now i found things like malwarebytes that i dont need running in the background to be protected.


Ad-Aware Free Antivirus

This easy to use free virus removal program was designed for basic user protection. It features convenient menu navigation and a minimum of settings. This program detects and neutralizes all types of known and new malicious software, as well as web-threats. It also has a convenient module for secure file download.

It doesn't shock me that everyday users feel they can use a program to disinfect their computers. What floors me is that so called IT professionals who's companies livelyhood depends on their information infrastructure trust their system after supposedly removing an infections. If I was interviewing an IT guy who said anything other than reformat and reinstall (or possible re-image), their resume would go in the garbage.

Actually that doesn't always work either, just do a quick search for "rootkits"...those can get past anything and everything...and can infect your bios.

I've been in IT for 25 years. Your guy are more than welcome to go to all the trouble of wiping your system and reinstalling everytime you get some malware. If you actually know what your doing, you can trust your system after it gets infected with malware. Watch where you browse and what you open and you hardly even need protection. If you do have a problem, one of the many free antivirus along with any two or more of these tools will almost always take care of the problem.



Try this good-looking malware removal tool and you won’t be disappointed. It has many useful features, such as strong malware and ransomware defenses, handy extra features, and little performance drag. It is a great defender against Internet security threats. The effective protection you always wanted. Works on any platform.

I just realized: "FORMAT C: is the only safe way. Or you can completely reload the OS" What os are you using anyway? You can use Format c: and NOT completely reload your OS? I'm wondering if you've actually ever reinstalled a pc (in the last 15 years or so anyway)

You can call me any name you like. I like ignorant boob. If you do the recommended reading about rootkits that ddthesm recommends, you'll find my "opinion" about this to be pretty mainstream if you filter out all sites that hock programs that claim to remove them. If you are so smart besides network and bios and or other firmware reinfection (good point BTW, but pretty unlikely) how does reformatting and reinstalling not get rid of a rootkit? Of course you don't do reformat from inside the infected OS, you use a known good bootdisk to do it. Tell you what, you can screw around trying to get every last piece of malware out of the system and spends hours of time and never be sure if you got it all or I can come reformat the drive and re-image with a good image and be done in less than half an hour.

Let me answer my own smarmy question, you got to wipe the MBR record too. That may or may not happen depending on what you use.


Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware

Free malware removal utility monitors every process and in case of detection suspicious activities stops malicious processes before they cause any damage. It features high-speed scanning systems and advanced techniques of search and removal of viruses. It is a great addition for your PC which will solve many problems.

That's a good combination I've used for cleaning before i just added HijackThis. I couldn't live with Avira Though! I think people like Spybot S&D for its tools and Host file inoculation really, as I never used its realtime scanners!

Yeah, I used Spyware S&D a lot until DL the free version of SUPRERAntiSpyware and realizing how much Spybot missed. I ran them back to back for months and Spybot would come back clean every time while the other would always catch something.

A lot of the newer scanners don't detect or remove older variants of malware, so it is still a vaiable and reliable scanner. (but by no means should it be considered the best of the best anymore)



Our list of the best malware removal tools won’t be full without HijackThis. The great features of this utility are the small size and the high speed of operation. You will be able to obtain and analyze information for each detected object and decide whether to delete it or not.

That's why you partition. So when a room in your house becomes infested, you only have to tear apart that room.

This may be a terribly stupid question, but do you know of any good tutorials on partitioning as a form of computer protection. I know how to partition. What I am really looking for is a tutorial on sandboxing (?).

have you taken a look at a free tool called sandboxie? it has really become quite advanced, yet very simple to use.



This free virus removal program is recommended for use in situations where other antiviruses are ineffective. It thoroughly scans your computer to find anything that could be a virus, and then deletes it. No installation required. This tool will delete all suspicious files. It is fully automatic, does not require entering any data.

Wow no-one in a flaming mood or did I cover all the baddies? I'm shocked not even a smug remark from the Mac/Linux crowd stating their elevation from having to weed out the crud!

I have to disagree with on Norton. The latest versions (2008 and later) are much improved and very good. And I would add Panda to your list because it is slow and its caused BSODs for me.

I agree. Unless it doesn't qualify for some reason, I really don't understand why Ad-Aware isn't on this list. It's always been tops in my boo



One of the most thorough free malware removals. The program has the functions of full, fast and selective scanning. This allows you to make at least a basic check, if you do not have time to complete a full one. This tool can find and remove more than 1 million different spyware and its components.

I still can't believe Spybot S&D is leading the poll when SAS and Anti-Malware are much better choices.

I think Spybot has been around alot longer and people are going with the tried and true one. I quit using Spybot several years ago. It would ALWAYS say I had "Avenue A" as an infection, but it would never get rid of it. Finally I ran Spybot on a new XP installation that had not been on the internet. Spybot said it had Avenue A. That was it for me.

Oh, exactly the same thing happened to me. The Avenue A thingy, even on a fresh, unused install, one that I hadn't even surfed the Web with yet. Spybot "caught it" many times, on many fresh installs. I started thinking it was crapware, since McAfee antivirus used to do the same thing - always catch two infections that the computer didn't actually have, which was done to make you think the program was doing it's job, therefore you should "trust" it. It is always exactly at the moment that devs start hard-coding programs to consistently deliver false positives that I stop using said programs. I still like Spybot because it offers other useful tools, but I haven't kept a copy on my computer in over a year because it hasn't "caught" anything outside of the phony Ave A thingy in years and the only useful tool it possesses that I don't already have within another program is the one tool I can't stand: the Tea Timer. Like Sandboxie, it's just plain too restrictive.



One of the best malware removal tools. The main advantages of this modern high-performance antivirus are nice interface, the ability to create a schedule of operations and free distribution. This tool is very moderate in consuming resources of the PC, allowing to function even on weak machines.

I disagree. Many infections are pretty minor and can be easily removed with these tools with no damage afterwards. I mean, yeah, for some, that is the best option, but no need to just do that all the time. Extra work for nothing.

Or you could make an image with norton ghost or a similar program, and then no reinstall's needed, you can reset your system in 5 minutes.

Anybody who says this, or anything like this, is a candidate for remedial computing help. If you're so lazy or clueless as to mess up a Windows system, you'll do the same to any other OS out there, sooner or later, likely sooner. You're the PEBCAK the helpdesk people cringe at. There is no prevention better than that of a savvy user, and they're all too few, whatever OS is up for discussion.

Last Comments

Am I unusual? I have never had a malware infection on any computer from any internet source. The only malware I've had on a computer in the last 18 years of regular use is a virus from a floppy disk in the mid 90's. I don't scan for AV, spyware, etc but maybe once every few months. I have Windows Defender installed only because Vista comes with it. I don't download software on p2p networks except Open Source ISOs from reliable sources. I check the hash checksums from the original source (ie,, etc). I use Firefox with NoScript and Adblock, and except sites I visit regularly (like, only use the "temporary" whitelist in NoScript.

i had the vundo-something virus, which no other antivirus or anything could remove at the time, but ComboFix fixed it in 10 mins, it seems to be the most reliable fixer when i need it.

On a side note, what protection software do LH's readers hate! NORTON Because its very big, Integrates badly into fucking everything, meaning not one programme has a chance of running unaffected by it! It on average causes a 32-38% drop in performance. Finally it bought out my old favourite free firewall Sygate Personal Firewall, as it was such a big competition to destroy it by stopping it making updates and recommend Norton. AVG Because it went bloated to hell adding loads of features and forgot to put its time back into its once good detections. Microsoft Windows Defender Because it could be disabled by a 2.4kb virus for over a year of updates! The programme did nothing but give a false sense of security to non-tech savy windows users! ZoneAlarm Because it collected users credit card data for no legal reason!!! And it uses way to much ram to look that childish an application.

So I went a had a look at Norton 2009 and it has drastically reduced its overheads, but it still looses quite a lot to ESET NOD32. Also while they release a considerably higher number of updates than other clients to help prevent/detect a zero day infection it is rarely able to fix the file. I don't know what the answer to the best protection is beyond removing your need for it, but I am going to go in search of the most ram efficient protection soon. This is because I buy RAM for Photoshop not a pretty GUI for web protection. Fast ugly effective protection is fine by me!

where is AdAware? strange list..

Can't speak to how Sandboxie is now, but when I tried it well over a year ago I had to remove it almost immediately. It slowed browsing - and my computer - to a crawl. Perhaps on more powerful setups than mine slowness would not not an issue, or perhaps Sandboxie has since lightened up on exactly how much they lock everything down (imagine a virtual prison where your every click is watched, followed, given or denied permission)..I thought it was a little nightmarish, and way too into its sand-boxing thing, myself.

Being in the IT field I was extremely surprised that SpyBot S&D even made the list. It catches very little, while it does have a host of other useful functions and does work in realtime. I always recommend SuperAntiSpyware and Malware Bytes even though they require the commercial version for realtime protection. The free version of SAS catches everything, I use it in conjunction with Avira to clean an infected system that hasn't been previously protected. I also use ComboFix for hard to find nasties. I see SB S&D winning just because it is free and does realtime. You get what you pay for.

the oldest mistake I ever heard, your "you get what you pay for". Have you ever had a computer with Virtumonde and Smitfraud? SpyBot S&D does it! EVERY time! You have to know how to install and you have to have the latest definitions update on your thumb drive. I do virus removal and PC cleanup for a living and SB S&D is a staple - and will remain.

Using good tools properly, assessing the severity of the threat and taking appropriate action is the mark of an IT professional. What your policy of reformat and reinstall for any infection tells me is not that you don't trust the system, but that you don't trust yourself to properly complete the above tasks.

I'm shocked that anyone here would trust their system after being infected in any way! FORMAT C: is the only safe way. Or you can completely reload the OS. Once a system is infected, you can't trust it. Period.

Spoken like a true ignorant boob. There is no single best solution to malware. Arbitrarily reformatting in all cases is ignorant and a waste of time, not to mention that if a root kit is involved it may not clean the system at all.

Combination of Spybot S&D and AVG Free on every computer I've ever touched. Have never, and would never, pay for Anti-virus/anti-malware. (Saying that, I've recently been very very impressed by A-Squared Free and A-Squared Hijack-Free, and are using those on my newest machine as an alternative to Spybot. Tend to give false positives on VNC, but at least it's flagging it as potentially dangerous)

NOD32 is the only anti* software I pay for. The performance benefits alone are worth the small monetary price.

I voted for HJT just because it's saved my ass on multiple occasions, plus it makes it really easy to kill simple virus after effects such as a modified HOSTS file. Runner up I'd say is ComboFix, though as a general solution MB is a great one. It's worth noting that both HiJackThis and ComboFix can permanently ruin your computer if you aren't experienced at using them.

Wasn't there just a report that firefox actually had by far the most unfixed security holes of all the major browsers?

No, that report said it had the most reported bugs and it also said Mozilla fixes bugs the fastest out of any browser developer.

Usually Ad-Aware just gets cookies because that's all that's left after using Spybot - but there are circumstances where it'll find something Spybot missed...I've heard Ccleaner is good, too, haven't tried it yet

Any infection is like AIDS ... u get one malware ... u get the entire pack ... Instead of getting through all these tools ... Simply use ur common sense and a good partitioning scheme to make a reinstall a breeze :) Happy hunting or rather extincting

I've gotta go with Combofix too. I haven't used Spybot, but SAS is slower than frozen shit. I don't know enough about registry keys to use HJT (although it makes it easy to remove DNS hijackers) and although MBAM is friggin awesome, paying for it does not unlock real time protection; only scheduled updates and scans. Side note: Avira Antivir has the best free real-time protection.

Good analogy. It would be nice, though, if the contractor you hired to build your house didn't make it a haven for various disease vectors. Typical Linux, Unix, BSD, and even Mac OSX distributions are quite hostile to most malware threats. Hardened versions, used properly, are virtually impenetrable. Using Windows is kinda like painting a few rooms in your house with peanut butter and maple syrup. Malware tools try to fix an infestation problem with poisons and traps.

Avira AntiVir does have the best free protection but no-one likes the forced advert in the update window. It's a pain in the arse, and if I were to decide to buy protection it would be the best, AKA NOD32 anyway!

Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Safari hacked in under 10 seconds at PWN2OWN? Isn't Safari bundled with the OS? Non-microsoft OSes are used by so few people it makes less sense to write a virus for them. It is the same reason you find less 3rd party software for OSX than on Windows (linux doesn't count, it was made for programmers by programmers, of course there is going to be 3rd party software).

Was thinking because of that, most of these things are from web browsing and what not. Since in Europe Microsoft isn't bundling anything anymore with their OS, doesn't that make them the most secure now in a sense? Lol.