By Karim Salmi / Blog / 0 Comments

Virus removal or operating system installation

I’m going to make the case for why you should avoid doing virus removals when your computer gets infected. Over the years, I’ve repaired thousands of laptops and desktops that have fallen prey to all sorts of online malware scams. Some just had annoying adware and pop-ups. Others were full blown system infections that prevented any sort of windows functionality. Every single time, the computer was better off with an OS reload instead of a virus removal.

malware scan in progress

Starting Fresh

When you reinstall Windows, you’re starting with a clean slate. That means no more malware, no more trojans, no more keyloggers or other malicious software. However, it also means getting all your programs back on the machine and configured the way you like. If you’ve lost some disks over the years, that’s going to be a pain (especially for things like Microsoft Office). Depending on how old your system disk is, you might also have to download a lot of Windows Updates. But if you can stomach an hour or two of setup, the rewards are totally worth it:

  • Starting anew means that you are GUARANTEED to be virus free. You don’t need to worry about whether every single piece of malware was removed or is just waiting for a few weeks before striking again. You don’t need to worry about having your passwords stolen by some monitoring software. You can just relax.
  • Your computer will be faster than before! Without years of built up junk to load anymore, your computer will whistle on by.
  • Viruses sometimes corrupt operating system files. That means even after spending two hours on clearing the computer with your virus scanner, malware remover and registry optimizer, you might end up removing infected but critical OS files. That means next time you turn on the computer you won’t be able to reach Windows anymore. You’ll need to try a startup repair or a system restore and hope they work. If they don’t, you’ll have to re-install windows ANYWAY!
  • You’ll have the opportunity to set everything up correctly from the get-go this time. Make sure your anti-virus and malware scanner are up, configure automatic backups and avoid installing any bloatware this time.

I never recommend performing a virus removal anymore. It’s too time consuming for a process that doesn’t guarantee a favorable outcome. You might get every virus off or you might not. You might get a new infection shortly afterwards but not be sure whether it was an old one that was missed or a new one taking advantage of your compromised pc. You might remove critical files and get locked out of Windows anyway. When it comes to computer repair, I’m a big fan of 100% fixes. That’s why I always choose to do an operating system reload. There are too many pros and no cons if you can find your software disks.

A computer guru with ten years of professional experience. From corporate IT to forensic data recovery, he has seen it all and has the stories to prove it. His hobbies include programming and ice hockey.