True, there’s nothing exciting about computer security programs, but you don’t use them because they’re exciting. You use them to PREVENT exciting. Losing your manuscripts to malware (short for ‘malicious software’) is very exciting, and it’s exactly what you’re trying to avoid by loading programs like Malwarebytes AntiMalware.
I know, the name is awful. But the program is FREE for personal use, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Malwarebytes (along with an antivirus scan) is my standard “PC Tune-up” if someone complains that their computer is Slow or exhibiting strange behavior.
What is Malware?
You might say, “But Zero, I have an awesome antivirus program! Why do I need anything else?” It’s important to understand that AntiVirus programs protect against Viruses. Malware is not the same as a Virus.
You can read the full definition of Malware on wikipedia.org. Note that Malware includes rootkits, trojan horses, worms, backdoors, and specific kinds of viruses intended to allow others to gain access to your computer. Your antivirus program isn’t looking for all these things. Some antivirus programs (McAfee, Symantec, etc.) add malware detection as an option, but MalwareBytes is still a good ‘second opinion’ for any existing security software.
How to Use Malwarebytes AntiMalware
Using Malwarebytes AntiMalware is simple.
1 – Download/install
Go to malwarebytes.org. Download the free version, and install.
2 – Update the program.
Use the “update” button, and repeat updates until you get the message that you have the latest version. Some version updates require a complete uninstall/reinstall of the program and a reboot of the computer.
Malwarebytes gets new updates often, sometimes several times a day, so if you have to re-run the scan, make sure to check for updates again.
3 – Run a full scan of the local drives.
This could take some time, especially if you have larger/multiple drives or a slower system. If you are in a hurry, close down everything else running on the system and raise the priority level of the scan using Task Manager.
The first time Malwarebytes runs it always finds something. Don’t be disturbed if you see cookies, or Potentially Unwanted Settings listed.
4 – Remove All Selected.
If you like, browse through the list of malware found during the scan. This info is saved in the Log section for future reference, so there’s no need to write it down.
Click the “Remove All Selected” button. This will delete/uninstall the listed malware programs and settings.
5 – Repeat as Necessary
This is important: If AntiMalware found anything odd, especially anything like a trojan horse, malware, rootkit or anything fishy, repeat this process from step 2 – “update the program” and keep repeating steps 2-5 until the scan comes back clean.
There are several problems you can run into:
- Malwarebytes AntiMalware won’t install, run or update
- It shuts down and completely disappears during a scan
- The same malware keeps showing up over and over in scans, despite being ‘removed’.
In these cases, you probably need to start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking and repeat the steps. If you don’t know how to do that, call your techy-friend. You know the one. Or call me, I have reasonable rates – you just have to come to one of my book signings, act like a deranged stalker fan. Not that you weren’t going to do that anyway.
Or you can check Malwarebytes awesome support forums. Check to see if someone else had a problem like yours, and what they did to solve it. Or post your issue and it won’t take long for someone to reply with steps to take to resolve your problem.
If you like Malwarebytes AntiMalware, please consider purchasing the paid version from their online store. The paid version acts more like an anti-virus application. It starts up with your operating system and runs in the system tray, actively monitoring for malware, and actively updating itself in the background so you are always up to date with the latest protection. The free version only launches/updates/runs manually.
Paying for Malwarebytes AntiMalware not only supports a high-quality application, it also gives Malwarebytes programmers money so they can buy my latest novel. So you’re really helping us both out.
The Great Software For Great Authors Series
As both an I.T. guy and a writer, I get exposed to many different computer programs that are useful not only to computer users, but authors in particular. So I created the Great Software for Great Authors series, where I discuss software that can help authors in their quest to be more organized, efficient and successful.
So here’s the disclaimer. I’ve used all the software listed in this series, and found it useful enough to give it a hearty recommendation for my fellow authors, as well as the Conrad Zero Ubercool Seal of Approval. I’m not related in any way to the software companies I endorse, and they have not paid me for my recommendation. There may be affiliate links in this blog post and website which provide a token fee to me if people buy the software after clicking through from my links, but this is my recommendation only and not an advertisement.