Guest Article By:
President and Managing Partner,
Have you ever booted up your PC only to get a black screen? When this happens, something’s clearly wrong, so you’ve probably tried a number of steps to get your PC running again. But what should you do if those solutions don’t help? Try using Microsoft’s System Sweeper to get rid of the malware that’s messed with your system’s boot files.
System Sweeper is a boot-up recovery tool that performs an offline scan on an infected PC to identify and remove rootkits and other advanced malware—without booting into Windows. You can also use System Sweeper if you cannot install or start your antivirus solution, or if the installed solution can’t detect or remove malware on your machine. Based on Microsoft Security Essentials, System Sweeper should get PCs back on track; however, it’s important to remember that System Sweeper is not a replacement for an antivirus solution that provides ongoing protection.
Let’s take a look at how to run System Sweeper when you cannot start your PC and quickly get rid of malware.
Step 1: Download System Sweeper. Go to Microsoft Connect to obtain the beta version of the program. Make sure to choose the right version (32-bit or 64-bit) depending on what your infected system is running. The supported web browsers are Internet Explorer 6 or higher, or Mozilla Firefox 2 or higher.
Step 2: Create a bootable recovery CD or USB thumb drive. System Sweeper can be installed on both a CD and on USB flash memory. You should first get a blank CD or a reformatted USB thumb drive with at least 250 MB of space. Then, go to your Downloads folders, and run the “mssstool32” or “mssstool64” files depending on which architecture you have. System Sweeper will download the latest antivirus signature files onto the disk, and then burn them onto either the bootable CD or USB thumb drive.
You should then insert the CD or plug the USB key into the computer you’re trying to clean up, and make sure to boot from the CD/DVD drive or the USB port. To do that, go to the BIOS of the machine by pressing DELETE, F2, F12 or another special key repeatedly right when the PC is turned on. Then, go to its boot section, make sure that the “Boot Priority” is set to either CDROM (DVD) or USB, and restart the PC.
Step 3: Use System Sweeper. Your PC should ask you to “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD”—follow this advice and wait until the recovery environment is loaded. Once System Sweeper appears on the screen, hit “Start full scan” to scan all of the hard disks for viruses and malware.
Once you’ve completed these steps, you can let System Sweeper run its course, but keep in mind that it might take a while depending on the amount of data. It will be worth the wait to enjoy a clean and bootable PC again.