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System Restore can "undo" some of the viruses and spyware on your system, but it cannot remove infected files.

I have an HP Pavilion with Windows XP running. In the last week I have had trouble with pop-ups or websites downloading automatically to my desktop. I used to be able to do a System Restore to remove them but they just do it again once I go online. Help.

System Restore is a very cool feature.

But this is not what it was meant for.

System Restore will allow you to restore your system's configuration to a previous state. In some cases that means that viruses or spyware will be "undone" as part of the process. But system restore does not remove infected files from your system, and you can quickly get infected again. It also does nothing to prevent new threats from arriving.

The bottom line is that System Restore isn't enough. You need to be scanning for and preventing some of these things. This article would be the place to start: How do I keep my computer safe on the internet?

Article C2219 - November 10, 2004 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

September 3, 2008 9:05 AM

Ok so my system restore is turned ON - this has no effect I can never restore my system anyway it just does not work

Steven L Wingfield
April 16, 2010 9:37 AM


Not trying to be snotty here, but ... get rid of the spyware. Get one or more spyware removal tools and try them. Or restore to an earlier full backup. (I strongly recommend against relying on sytem restore. It frequently fails to do what you expect.)

Jennifer Koster
October 23, 2011 9:17 AM

Hi Leo,

I have one of these system restore viruses and have run a removal tool using Malwarebytes Anti-Malaware, removed all files. I ran two scans in safe mode and the first removed the files and the second came up clean but I am still having issues. Then, I tried to use a different program and saved it as a different name and it would not run the .exe.

I was able to unhide all my files, but they are still partially hidden (they show up faded but are not opening when clicked) - it rells me Folder is unavailable or file is unavailable.


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