Computer viruses are a real threat. They can slow down your computer’s performance, encrypt your data, or even delete important files. Although highly secure, Microsoft’s newest OS, Windows 11, is still not 100% virus-proof. If your Windows 11 gets infected by viruses, you risk losing your data.
Is there a way to get rid of the viruses? Yes, absolutely.
Below, you can learn how to remove viruses from Windows 11, why you should do it, and what to do if a virus manages to delete your data. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s not waste time.
In this article
Why You Should Learn How to Remove Viruses From Windows 11
Why bother learning how to remove malware from Windows 11 and doing it after? That’s a great question, and to properly understand the answer, you need to see the risks that computer virus infections bring.
First, there is the risk of losing your data. Some viruses will simply infect your files, making them unusable. Others will simply delete your data, wreaking havoc throughout your system. There are also those that will encrypt it to make it unusable unless you pay the ransom.
Some viruses are coded to only propagate, but they do it to such an extent that your system resources will suffer. With limited resources, your system process will run significantly slower, making your computer appear like a long-overdue replacement.
Finally, there are specific types of viruses called keyloggers. These will log your keystrokes and send them back to hackers, allowing them to discover your accounts, passwords, and sensitive financial information. That’s why you should remove viruses from Windows 11 as soon as possible!
Recognize Signs of a Virus on Windows 11
It’s important to note that not all viruses are the same. Each one of them will cause a specific group of symptoms in your computer running Windows 11. How do you tell if your Windows 11 has been infected by a virus? Here is the list of signs to look for on Windows 11:
- Unexplainable and frequent system crashes;
- Getting error messages more than usual;
- Computer restarts or shutdowns unexpectedly;
- The computer takes a longer time to start up;
- Programs take too long to launch;
- Emails in your Sent folder that you didn’t send;
- New apps appear, and you know you didn’t download them;
- Frequent pop-up windows;
- Missing files and directories.
If you notice any of these signs, chances are that your Windows 11 is infected with a virus. Now it’s a good time to know how to remove viruses from laptop Windows 11.
How to Remove Viruses From Laptop Windows 11
There are several ways to remove viruses from Windows 11, ranging from Windows Defender to clearing temporary files. Let’s start with the most convenient one, using a built-in tool in Windows 11, Windows Defender.
Use Windows Defender
Windows 11 ships out with Windows Defender, the software capable of detecting and removing viruses. Here is how to use it:
- Access Windows Security
Right click on the Windows menu in the taskbar > Settings > Privacy & Security > Windows Security.
- Go to Scan Options
To get to the scan options click on Virus & Threat Protection> Scan Options.
- Scan for viruses
Enable the Microsoft Defender Antivirus (offline scan) and click the Scan now button.
Scan Your System Using Antivirus
If you are not using Windows Defender but another antivirus software of your choice, you should use it to remove viruses from your Windows 11. Run a scan with your antivirus software to discover viruses and remove them from your system. If you don’t know how to do it, search for the official guide of your antivirus software company on how to do scans and virus removals.
Uninstall Malicious Apps Manually
You can get rid of the malicious apps by uninstalling them.
- Open Settings
Access the settings on Windows 11 by pressing Windows + I or right-clicking the Windows menu in the taskbar and clicking Settings.
- Access Apps & Features
In the left sidebar, select Apps. Now, in the right section of the window, select Apps & Features.
- Find the malicious app and uninstall it
You will see all the apps installed on your computer. You can sort them by size, installation date, and name. Once you spot a suspicious app you’ve never installed or don’t recognize, select it and click Uninstall.
Reset Your Browser to Default
In some instances, a virus can hide inside your browser. For instance, it can be stored in cached files, browser add-ons, and cookies. To remove it, you need to reset your browser to default. Here is how to do it with Google Chrome.
- Access Settings
Once you start Chrome, navigate to the top right corner, click on three dots, and select Settings.
- Access Advanced Options
Navigate to the left side menu and click on advanced.
- Navigate to Reset and clean up
Find the Reset and clean up option in the left side bar and click it.
- Reset your browser to default
Click on Reset settings to their original defaults to reset Google Chrome to defaults.
- You will need to confirm it with the Reset settings button.
Delete Files Using Safe Mode
Some viruses will render infected files impossible to delete. You can circumvent this restriction from the Safe Mode and delete the infected files to remove the virus from Windows 11. Here is how to do it.
- Access Windows Settings
Press Windows + I to enter Windows 11 Settings or follow the instructions under step 1 in the Use Windows Defender section. Navigate to System in the left sidebar.
- Select Recovery
Scroll down and navigate to the recovery options.
- Restart via Recovery options
In the Recovery options, navigate to Advanced startup > Restart now.
- Enter Safe Mode
Wait for your PC to restart, and then select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart.
- Delete your files
Now you can use File Explorer to delete all the files you could not delete before.
Clear Temporary Files
In some instances, viruses can infect temporary files and use those files to propagate further and infect other files on the system. You can remove them along with temporary files. You should do the following:
- Access storage settings
Press Windows + I to open Windows Settings, then scroll down and click Storage.
- Access temporary files
On the next screen, select Temporary files.
- Delete temporary files
Select the files you want to delete and click the Remove files button.
Delete Suspicious Registry Files and Entries
Viruses and malware, in general, can also sneak into your registry. You can delete suspicious registry files and entries. Look for unfamiliar programs and the name of the malware misspelled. Here is where to look for those entries.
- Enter Windows Registry
Press Win + R, type regedit, and hit Enter.
- Navigate to Current Version
Use the left side entries tree to navigate to
- Access Run and delete entries
Look for suspicious entries in the Run folder and delete suspicious entries.
While these methods can help you remove viruses from Windows 11, there are no guarantees that your data will remain intact. What options do you have if you lose any of your data? To get it back, you can use professional data recovery software such as Wondershare Recoverit.
Recover Files Using Professional Recovery Tools
Wondershare Recoverit is a professional data recovery tool built for many users, including those with a minimal technical background. It’s one of the best tools with an excellent data recovery success ratio. Let’s see how you can use it to get your data back.
- Download and install Wondershare Recoverit
Download the Wondershare Recoverit installation from the official website. Start it and follow the installation wizard instructions to get it installed and running.
- Scan the drive for deleted data
Once you have Wondershare Recoverit up and running, mouseover the drive letter you want to scan, and click it to begin scanning for deleted data. The progress wheel in the bottom left corner tells you the scanned percentage.
- Recover your files
After the scan completes, you can preview and recover your files via the Preview and Recover buttons.
Windows 11 is vulnerable to computer viruses. The signs of virus infection range from performance slowdown and error messages to deleted data and inexplicable sent emails. Either way, you need to act on it, and now you know how to remove malware from Windows 11.
To minimize such a risk caused by viruses in the future, keep your OS and app updated and ensure your antivirus is always turned on. If you lose some data after virus attacks, you can still get it back. Restoring deleted data with professional tools such as Wondershare Recoverit is straightforward and safe.
How to protect Windows 11 from viruses?The most optimal way to protect Windows 11 from viruses is to keep it updated. Make sure to install security patches and updates as soon as possible. Also, keep your apps updated, as they can also have vulnerabilities and backdoors.
How to prevent getting viruses on Windows 11?There are many ways to prevent viruses from infecting your Windows 11 laptop – keep your online and antivirus protection always on, don’t visit suspicious websites, don’t open suspicious emails, and use a VPN when on public WiFi networks.
Can I get viruses from a USB thumb drive or only online?Virus threats lurk all around us. To answer the question, yes, you can get viruses from USB storage drives. These are particularly volatile as they infect your Windows 11 the moment you connect the USB stick. If you use your USB with some public computers, ensure your antivirus is on before you connect it to your computer.