Let's assume you're on the receiving end of the worst April Fool's Day joke of 2009: your computer's been infected with the Conficker virus. It's a frustrating but not insurmountable problem. This guide will walk you through how to cleanse your computer and inoculate against other Conficker variants.
First off, make sure that you are actually infected. There aren't many warning signs, but a few will stand out if you know what to look for. One fast way to check is to try to visit any major security software publisher's Web site. If you've cleared your browser cache beforehand, and you can load the sites of Symantec, Eset, Avira, or AVG, you're clean because Conficker blocks access to them.
Another good litmus test is to check on the status and functionality of Windows services such as Automatic Updates, the Background Intelligent Transfer Service, Windows Defender, and Error Reporting Services. If any of those have been disabled without your consent, or if your account lockout policies have changed without approval, you might be infected. Other warning signs include unusually high traffic on your local area network, and domain controllers responding slowly to client requests.
If you're running an up-to-date virus scanner, it's unlikely you'll get infected unless you've configured your computer to not receive automatic Windows updates. Checking your list of installed updates for security update MS08-067 (KB 958644) is not recommended because the worm, alternatively known as Kido, Downup, or Downadup, fakes the patch job. … Read more