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Despite your best efforts, the worst-case scenario has hit: you’ve fallen victim to malware. Davey Winder reveals what to do next

Is your computer running slowly, crashing frequently and generally behaving a little oddly? If you fire up your web browser, are you redirected to sites you haven’t asked to visit? Do pop-ups appear even when you’re not using your browser?

If you’ve checked for rogue search-engine add-ons and other undesirable browser extensions, and you’ve run a “crap cleaner” to rid your system of temporary files and other bloat, and it’s made little to no difference, it may be time to think about infection detection and removal.

If that’s the case, follow our guide below: it explains what to do to get your PC back up and running.

Disconnect it

There’s plenty of advice out there suggesting that your first move should be to go online and run a scan using one of the many free tools available from OS and antivirus vendors.

While this appears to be common sense – after all, you need to know what you’ve been infected with in order to remove it effectively – the truth is that malware has evolved to the point where an active internet connection is the last thing I’d recommend during a potential live infection.