If you have ever been infected with malware, then you know what a nightmare it can be. Malware today are designed to take over your entire system and turn it into a bot. Some malware can steal your personal and financial information and transfer it over to cyber criminals. A type of malware known as ransomware can encrypt your documents and demand ransom to decrypt. Some of the malware install themselves as rootkits which makes it hidden from operating system. If your Windows PC has become infected by any such malware then you can make use of the free McAfee Stinger tool to detect and remove malware from your system.
McAfee Stinger does not detect all the known malware like the McAfee Internet Security does, but it scans only for the known latest malware that are in the wild. Because it scans only for a limited set of malware, it is very quick in scanning your system for them. At present, it scans for more than 6,000 malware and their variants. Since the McAfee Stinger database is updated often to include latest malware signatures, it is suggested that you always download the latest version from the McAfee website.
McAfee Stinger is a portable app. You do not have to install anything on your system. Just download and run it. By default, it scans rootkits, running processes, loaded modules, registry and directory locations known to be used by malware. However, you can add a directory or drive to be scanned if you think it should be looked for viruses too. But before you proceed with the scanning, you should set the preferences. You can open the preferences by selecting the Settings tab.
This is necessary, as you can set what to do on virus detection in the Preferences. By default, McAfee Stinger tries to repair the infected files. You can set it to rename or delete (not recommended) them if required. You can also increase the heuristic sensitivity level. But all the other settings should be left untouched.
McAfee Stinger comes with many different types of scans – Quick Scan, Full Scan and Custom Scan. The quick scan looks only in the key areas of your system, the full scan searches all across your computer system and the custom scan looks for the malware in the selected folders. The folders can be selected in the Locations tab.
After selecting a scan type, click on the Scan button would initiate the scanning. The scanning would go through scanning the MBR of your hard disk, registry, system folder and other sensitive places. It will display the results in the log window and take the action (set in the settings) upon the detection of a virus. At the end of the scan, you’ll see how many files were scanned, how many files were found to be infected and how many of them were cleaned.
If McAfee Stinger encounters a malware that it is unable to repair, then this is most probably due to the Windows System Restore feature which protects some files in the System Restore points from being deleted. In that case, you can turn off the System Restore feature first and then try scanning your system with McAfee Stinger.
McAfee Stinger is a free portable malware scanning tool, which is good at what it does. But it should not be used as a replacement of a good installed security solution. If McAfee Stinger indicates the presence of malware on your system, then you should download and install a full antivirus solution like McAfee Internet Security or avast! antivirus, update it and run a full system scan of your system.