Ransomware is one of the scariest types of malware because it will either lock computer access or encrypt your files asking you to pay a fee if you want to get back your files and/or PC access. As intimidating as this may sound, it is possible to remove ransomware for free.
Sadly, ransomware still exists and even if your PC has decent security it’s still possible for it to become infected with ransomware.
How to remove ransomware for free from your Windows computer
As always, preventing ransomware infections is much better than trying to remove them. Besides security software, you should also apply some common sense while using your computer. In other words, don’t install apps you don’t trust or you don’t remember downloading, don’t download software from unknown sources, and don’t open email attachments from unknown recipients.
Nevertheless, even a small mistake like visiting the wrong website can result in a ransomware infection. If somehow this type of malware managed to slip through your computer’s security and infect it, it’s still possible to remove ransomware for free and get back access to your files and PC without paying a dime.
Backup your files and set up a rescue disc
Like I already mentioned above, preventing a ransomware attack is still the best solution. If your PC isn’t infected but you’d like some peace of mind (besides having an antivirus installed, of course) the first step would be to regularly backup all your important files.
This will ensure you always have them available and will protect them not just against ransomware and other malware infections but also from disk damage, accidental deletion, file corruption and so on.
This might seem complicated, but not if you use the right tool. While there are plenty of friendly backup applications, we recommend AOMEI Backupper. It’s free and makes it very easy to backup files, drives and even entire partitions, as well as clone drives. You can also use it to create bootable rescue media which can be used to restore your system in various scenarios, including when it’s been infected with ransomware.
It’s also a good idea to keep all your installed applications up to date. While this may be common knowledge it’s still worth mentioning that software updates also include security fixes that patch up the latest vulnerabilities which may just save your PC from a ransomware infection. You should also set Windows to automatically update – after all the operating system is just as important as your apps, if not more.
Get extra protection with security tools
Yes, there are plenty of paid security tools you can purchase to purge your PC of a ransomware infections, but there are many free options as well. When it comes to free antivirus programs we recommend Avira Free Antivirus, but it’s also worth using Avast Free Antivirus, especially for its excellent ransomware blocking and removal capabilities.
Another tool you can try is the Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware app, which is a free tool currently in beta. Since it’s still in beta, it may not be perfect but it might be that additional security layer you needed to stay safe from ransomware attacks.
Security stalwart Malwarebytes is working on a tool specifically designed to stop ransomware, and you can try it for free before it’s rolled into the company’s premium security suite. It’s still in beta, so it’s not perfect, but it provides an extra layer of security on top of your existing antivirus.
Remove ransomware for free and unlock your files
If your PC has become infected with ransomware, it might be tempting to pay the fee and restore access to your files and/or system. Some attackers will remove the lock, but others will not. Also, paying the fee might make you one of their preferred targets in the future, which is definitely something you don’t want.
There are still a few things you can try, at no cost. First, you can try to insert your Windows disk and boot from it. If it doesn’t work, you can reboot again and press F8 before Windows loads to access BIOS and change the boot order from there. Your Windows disk will provide you the option to repair or reinstall the OS. Either option should remove the ransomware but keep in mind your files might be gone or still encrypted. If you have a recent backup, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Another solution would be to access the Advanced Boot Options menu in BIOS to use the Windows System Restore option. This will restore your PC to a point before the infection, which will obviously remove the ransomware.
Hopefully, our tips have helped you get rid of a ransomware infection at no cost, or at least take all the security measures to prevent future attacks.