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Virus Cleaning

If you have just received a virus message from your anti-virus software the most important thing to do is DON'T PANIC.

Most reports from your anti-virus software are just informing you about infected objects that have just been introduced to your system and have been stopped before any damage is done. The important thing is that you know where the virus has come from.


If it is obvious where the virus has come from, e.g.

  • You have just checked your e-mail,
  • You have just inserted a memory stick, floppy disk, CD or DVD and a virus warning has popped up.

This should not be a problem, and as long as the virus is reported in the location you expect (e.g. the memory stick you have just inserted) this can be cleaned or deleted. In this instance, you should always perform a full system scan with your anti-virus software. This can be left running in the background on your computer with only a small impact to the computer's performance.


The more dangerous situation is when you have no idea where the virus has come from, e.g.

  • You have been writing a document for the last 30 minutes and your anti-virus software reports suddenly reports a virus,
  • You switch your computer on in the morning and your anti-virus software starts reporting viruses as soon as you have logged in,
  • You have inserted a memory stick but the anti-virus software reports that the virus is in a different location (e.g. C:/windows/system32).


In this instance, your computer may have already been compromised (i.e. taken over by a virus). In this situation you will need to seek the advice of an IT professional IMMEDIATELY. Please note down exactly what happened, provide any location of the virus and also any virus names you have been given by your anti-virus software. You should also shut down and switch off your computer immediately as all data could be at risk.

People to contact for assistance:

School/Directorate IT staff (these will often be able to respond the quickest)
insrvConnect (the INSRV Service Desk) on 029 2087 4487

For IT professionals, the INSRV Security Team has a technical website to help with the diagnosis of new viruses. This site can only be accessed on-campus at Cardiff University.