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How to Remove Virus from Laptop Without Antivirus | Does the Built-in Protection Work?

Is it possible to remove the virus from a computer without antivirus software? If you would prefer not to invest in anti-virus software, is it technically possible to remove virus without a standalone antivirus software suite?

How to remove virus from laptop without antivirus?

Removing a computer virus without antivirus software (in case you want go here) means one of two things. You either intend to detect and remove viruses and malware manually (takes a degree of knowledge and expertise), or you plan to remove a virus and run a virus scan using the in-built antivirus software in your operating system.

Assuming you use any operating system developed within the last decade, it is highly unlikely your computer will have no protection at all. In fact, it is rare to come across a device without virus or malware protection of some form.

solving the problem

In any case, removing a virus without antivirus software is technically possible and does not have to be too difficult. Particularly if you know your way around a command prompt, you will probably find the manual approach to virus removal fairly simple.

There are slight differences when using different operating systems or system versions, but Windows users will be looking at a fairly similar series of steps to detect and get rid of a virus. Just as long as you know which version of Windows you are running, you should be able to get started without a great deal of trouble.

Removing Virus from Windows 10 Without Antivirus

First up, it is probably safe to say that most PC users right now are running the Windows 10 operating system. In which case, the steps outlined below will apply to most people looking to remove viruses or malware manually. And for those who still insist on installing an antivirus for your Windows 10, go to this review (for top Chromebook protection follow this link).

Although you’ll technically be using the antivirus software baked into your OS, as opposed to attempting to detect every possible threat with no software support.

Here’s a basic overview of how it works:

Step 1

The first thing to do is to check whether any new applications or software have been installed on your system without your knowledge. You can do this by heading into the settings section of windows 10 and selecting the apps option, where you will see a list of installed applications and software.

Step 2

If there is anything in this list that does not look familiar, click on it to highlight it and choose the uninstall option. Follow the on-screen instructions to remove the suspicious application.

Step 3

It is also a good idea to open a task manager and check whether any unusual or unknown processes/services are running on your computer at the time. The task manager can be accessed by using the ctrl + shift + Esc keys combo.

Step 4

Right-click it and select the STOP option if you come across anything unfamiliar, again following the subsequent on-screen prompts. Check the processes tab for the unusual activity taking place in the background and follow the same process to halt any unusual activity.

Step 5

Make sure Windows Defender is activated and up to date, in order to prevent any potential threats finding their way onto your system in future.

windows defender

Following the above steps will usually enable you to find potential viruses and suspicious software on your computer, which you can then remove. Though you will need to know what safe and suspicious files and file names look like in the first place, in order to know which may pose a threat to your system.

How to Remove Virus from Windows 8.1 Without Antivirus?

Removing potential threats from an infected hard drive when running Windows 8.1 is a relatively similar process. At least, in the sense that you will be using task manager to see each program running on your computer and check whether everything is as it should be.

Examining what’s going on and putting a halt to anything unusual looks a little like this:

Step 1

You will again first need to check whether any software or applications are running on your computer that are malicious or suspicious in any way. This will involve launching task manager, which can be done using the ctrl alt del keystroke combination and clicking the appropriate option accordingly.

Step 2

Open the startup tab within task manager and you will be presented with a list of programs that are running at the time.  It is then a case of checking through these apps and programs carefully, in order to select any that may be suspicious and shutting them down.

Step 3

Once the suspicious programs have been disabled, they can be completely removed from your system using the add/remove programs panel within the main Windows 8.1 control panel.

Step 4

Again, you should have Windows Defender up and running all the time, which will provide you with plenty of support with regard to detecting and removing potential threats from your system.  Enabling Windows Defender is essential to prevent your system from becoming infected in the future, and it can also be useful for dealing with existing threats.

Step 5

 Be sure to manually run a full Windows Defender system scan on a regular basis, while making sure Windows Defender is kept up to date with the latest virus definitions and threats. Keeping automatic updates enabled comes highly recommended for safety and security purposes.


The steps above can make it relatively straightforward to locate and remove files and software that may be causing a threat to your system. Nevertheless, the manual approach will never be quite as straightforward and effective as the use of a quality antivirus software suite from a reputable developer.

How to Remove a Computer Virus from Windows 7 Without Antivirus software

There is a slightly different approach when it comes to removing a virus or malicious piece of software from a Windows 7 computer. If you are not using any antivirus app or software whatsoever, To remove a virus without antivirus, the steps you will need to take to find and get rid of the threat are as follows:

Step 1

 Launch the cmd application on your Windows 7 system.

Step 2

Type the dir d: Attrib -s -h /s /d *.* command in the cmd window.

Step 3

In the above command, change the letter d to the drive letter you want to check.

Step 4

Press enter to be presented with a full list of files currently on the drive.

Step 5

 If you come across any filename that is unusual or suspicious, you can rename it using the Rename filename. extension prompt. Then restart your computer.


Of course, this particular method is only viable in cases where a user or administrator has the know-how to spot potentially suspicious files by way of their name or extension. Otherwise, you may not know what it is you are looking for.

Why Working Without Anti Virus is Inadvisable

While it is technically possible to remove the virus threats from systems without antivirus, doing so is rarely the recommended approach.

This is not due to the fact that it is impossible, but more a case of how premium antivirus programs can make life so much easier and safer for anyone. For example, if you need to protect your company, there are antiviruses meant just for that, or if you are a dedicated gamer, these software solutions will provide maximum security.

Just a few of the reasons why running a computer without an effective anti-virus suite are rarely beneficial:

showing some of the most popular anti virus choices for consumers
  • The real-time protection offered by anti-virus apps enables you to stop potential threats and issues before they start. You are protected in real-time, enabling you to avoid issues appearing in the first place, rather than dealing with the consequences after you delete the virus at a later time.
  • Quality anti-virus programs are continuously updated with the latest threats and are able to detect virus signatures that may be practically invisible to the average user or administrator. The manual approach to remove a virus without antivirus is not nearly as accurate or meticulous as a sophisticated antivirus app.
  • You also stand to save a great deal of time and effort by protecting your computer with a quality software suite. Why waste time going through the processes above to remove the virus, when you could benefit from robust protection (see best antiviruses with VPN we also reviewed) that does its thing without any effort needed on your part?
  • If all this wasn’t enough, even the most outstanding antivirus software packages on the market today are comprehensively affordable. Particularly when looking to protect a series of devices or systems under one subscription, it can be surprisingly inexpensive to safeguard your data and your files at the highest possible level.

In any case, it is worth remembering that most leading computer security apps to remove a virus can be trialed free of charge if you would like to see how they work before signing up. There are even some that are permanently free to use, which although generally limited in terms of capabilities are still better than running no anti-virus software whatsoever.

Use independent reviews and recommendations to make an informed choice and you’ll soon know why the manual approach to virus removal is rarely the most effective, efficient, or convenient.

About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.

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