Will New Antivirus Software Remove Existing Viruses?

Sam Boyd
Sam Boyd Chief Editor
Updated on: June 6, 2024
Fact Checked by Katarina Glamoslija
Sam Boyd Sam Boyd
Updated on: June 6, 2024 Chief Editor

The simple answers is, yes! New antivirus software will remove existing viruses. Modern antivirus solutions are equipped to perform in-depth scans of your computer, detecting and eradicating any malware, regardless of how long it has been present on your device. Leading antivirus programs can identify and remove over 95% of known viruses and infections, and some, including Norton, have 100% malware detection rates.

Just remember, quick action is crucial if you notice you have malware on your device. Once detected, antivirus programs can swiftly neutralize threats, restoring your system’s safety and functionality. The longer you leave malware on your device, the more damaging it will become.

For optimal protection, I recommend Norton. It’s my favorite antivirus and it comes with comprehensive security features, including high malware detection rates, and a 60-day money-back guarantee so you can try it without any risk.

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How Antivirus Programs Work

Antivirus software can correctly identify and quarantine malware infections. The best antivirus programs run from a list of signature-based or behavioral-based threats. When the antivirus flags any suspicious codes or actions, it compares them to a database to establish the threat level.

In addition to this, modern antivirus software employs heuristic analysis to detect previously unknown viruses by examining code behavior patterns. Machine learning adds to this process by continuously learning from new threats and improving detection accuracy over time. These caches of information are often collaborative and regularly updated, so many antivirus providers share knowledge.

Fortunately, this means that any security suite can spot any existing virus. Even if the infection has been in your computer for months – or years!running an in-depth system scan will flag and resolve the problem.

However, some antiviruses can’t guarantee complete protection, which could result in malware falling through the cracks. Investing in a premium suite with a near 100% detection rate will give you the best chance of success.

Quick summary of the best antiviruses for stopping hackers in 2024:

  • 🥇 1. Norton — Best overall antivirus for removing viruses on new and old computers in 2024.
  • 🥈 2. Bitdefender — Most light weight antivirus in 2024, great for older computers.
  • 🥉 3. TotalAV — Excellent optimization tools to speed up your computer after removing viruses.

Common Signs of Malware Infection (& How to Avoid Them)

Without an antivirus installed, it’ll be difficult to identify an infection. Many viruses work in the background without you realizing. If you may have contracted malware, look for the following signs:

  • Reduced function. Speed and functionality issues are often the result of an infection. If you notice an unexplained slowdown or your device crashes more than usual, it may be a red flag.
  • Pop-up ads. Pop-up ads used to be a common occurrence, but not anymore. This intrusive advertising style can only be installed via malware, so if anything pops up, then it’s cause for concern.
  • Suspicious activity. Alongside unexplained pop-ups, suspicious activity is a sign of a problem. Typical examples include programs opening and closing, downloads launching, and increased CPU usage.
  • Spam messages. Often, the first sign of an infection is someone else telling you they’ve received a strange message from you. Malware can hijack your mail accounts, sending spam to your contacts in an attempt to spread the virus further.
  • Browser homepage & toolbars change. Malware has an annoying habit of changing your browser homepage and adding toolbars. If you suddenly see a new default search engine or an unexplained re-direct when you open the internet, it’s time to look for a solution.

Fortunately, even if you suspect you have an infection, the process to confirm and remove it is relatively simple.

How To Remove a Virus Using Antivirus Software (Step-by-Step Guide)

If you suspect you have a virus, follow this process to remove the problem quickly.

Step 1. Choose a High-Quality Antivirus Provider

How To Remove a Virus Using Antivirus Software (Step-by-Step Guide)

Do your research before you chose your antivirus. Check out our reviews of the best products to determine which is the best for you. You don’t have to aim for the most expensive; several big security companies offer a free alternative that still comes with good protection.

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Step 2. Create an Account and Download the Software

Most antivirus providers require you to make an account. While it’s time-consuming, you’ll receive information about updates and changes. After making an account, you’ll be able to download your chosen antivirus software.

How To Remove a Virus Using Antivirus Software (Step-by-Step Guide)

Step 3. Follow the On-Screen Instructions for Installation

Your antivirus software will start an automatic installation process. You’ll need to have administrator rights on the computer, and it will require accepting terms and conditions. Once you’ve done this, simply follow the on-screen prompts until the antivirus is installed. All antiviruses also require disk space (even cloud-based ones like Bitdefender), so make sure your hard drive isn’t full.

How To Remove a Virus Using Antivirus Software (Step-by-Step Guide)

Step 4. Choose to Run a “Full Scan” of Your Entire System

Antiviruses usually comes with 3 scan types. The “Quick Scan” will do a basic check of your system, whereas a “Full Scan” goes much deeper. The third type is scheduled scans, which can be set to run periodically.

How To Remove a Virus Using Antivirus Software (Step-by-Step Guide)

Step 5. Delete the Virus Permanently

When an antivirus detects a threat, it isolates the threat, making it inoperative yet still present on your device. You have the responsibility to decide if you wish to have it removed. This feature stops the security suite from accidentally erasing crucial files. It’s always a good idea to remove a flagged file, but if you’re not sure about a file in particular, you can ask your antivirus provider’s customer service team for more information about it.

How To Remove a Virus Using Antivirus Software (Step-by-Step Guide)

Step 6. Set-up Automatic Scan.

Once the virus is deleted, it’s also worth setting up the automatic scan feature to avoid a repeat infection. You should also enable real-time protection (Auto-Protect in Norton). Most antiviruses have it enabled by default, but it never hurts to go into your settings and check.

How To Remove a Virus Using Antivirus Software (Step-by-Step Guide)

Frequently Asked Questions

Can viruses hide from an antivirus?

Unfortunately, some sophisticated viruses can hide from antivirus software using techniques like polymorphism, encryption, and rootkits. These methods allow the malware to change its code, disguise itself, or operate at a deep system level, making detection more challenging. However, advanced antivirus program use heuristic analysis and machine learning to improve detection rates, even for well-hidden threats.

Can an antivirus remove viruses on Windows 11?

Yes, an antivirus can remove viruses on Windows 11. Modern antivirus software is compatible with Windows 11 and is designed to perform comprehensive scans to detect and eliminate malware. Regular updates ensure these programs can handle new threats specific to this operating system, maintaining robust protection for your device.

How do I remove a virus from my phone?

To remove a virus from your phone, start by downloading and installing an antivirus app for Android or iOS. If you’re on Android, run a full device scan to detect and remove any malware. Additionally, uninstall any suspicious apps, clear your browser cache, and ensure your operating system and apps are updated to their latest versions for optimal security.

On iOS devices, you can’t run malware scans due to system restrictions. However, iOS antivirus apps offer valuable security features and optimization tools, such as duplicate photo finders and privacy protection.

How can I delete virus from my computer without an antivirus?

To delete a virus without an antivirus, start by disconnecting from the internet to prevent further damage. Enter Safe Mode to limit the virus’s activity. Manually delete suspicious files and programs via the Control Panel or Finder. Use built-in tools like Windows Defender Offline or macOS Recovery. Finally, reset your browser settings and update your operating system.

However, this method is not recommended since some viruses can replicate or hide deep within the system, making manual removal difficult. Using a reliable antivirus ensures thorough detection and removal of all threats.

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About the Author
Sam Boyd
Sam Boyd
Chief Editor
Updated on: June 6, 2024

About the Author

Sam Boyd is a Chief Editor at SafetyDetectives, specializing in antiviruses and password managers. He has years of experience writing, reviewing, editing, and optimizing blog articles, and he has researched and tested hundreds of cybersecurity products since joining the SafetyDetectives team. When he isn’t exploring the latest cybersecurity products, he enjoys chilling out with video games, watching sports, and exploring new parts of the world with his family.