My computer is full of viruses. Do I need to reinstall my OS?

There's nothing quite so frustrating as discovering your computer's been infected with a virus. Even worse, when you're tasked with fixing a not-so-tech-savvy relative's computer, only to discover a pile of bloatware, unnecessary toolbars, and viruses as far as the eye can see. In those dire situations, it can feel like the only real course of action is a complete system wipe and fresh OS installation. But before you go full nuclear, there's a great tool that might help.

Tron is an open source script that automates the full process of cleaning and disinfecting a Windows system. Built and maintained by the subreddit r/TronScript, it's essentially a big crowdsourced batch file that runs through a series of steps to clean your computer.

First it preps your system, creating a restore point and running tools and scripts that will ensure the rest of the process will run smoothly. Next it runs cleaning utilities like CCleaner and BleachBit, followed by de-bloating, ditching OEM bloatware, toolbars, and other pre-installed apps (excluding useful stuff like calculator and Paint). Virus disinfection is handled by Malwarebytes, KVRT, and Sophos, while a series of scripts check and repair Windows' various systems. Finally, Tron updates and optimizes your system, patching Adobe, Java, and whatever else needs updating.

It's an impressive list of tasks that goes above and beyond simply running a single virus scan or malware remover. Even better, it's a single download that, once started, runs itself. Just set it and let it do its thing. Though be warned, you might be waiting a while—the whole process can take six to eight hours or more to finish. 

To run Tron, grab the package download from the r/TronScript subreddit and follow the instructions found here

Lastly, we're a big fan of VirusTotal, which Google acquired some time ago. VirusTotal allows you to upload files for safe checking and the site essentially uses every anti-virus system known to man to thoroughly scan for any potential problems. VirusTotal also has a desktop tool that you can download for quicker uploads and scans. Ultimately, the best way to stay virus free is preventative action.