I’ve warned you many times about the dangers of ransomware. A reader wants to know if you can tackle it at home.

“When your computer gets hit with malware, and locks the computer, is there a way to unlock it without taking it to a computer repair shop?”


First, let’s determine if you can afford to lose the data on your computer. Is this just a personal home computer and not one from work or one that contains your important business information? Do you already have all of your important stuff backed up somewhere? Do you consider yourself computer savvy (familiar with tech terms and kind of fearless?)  If it’s a personal computer containing files you can afford to lose, you’ve got important stuff backed up, and you have no fear, you might just be able to do it. Otherwise, get thee to a trusty computer tech. Preferably someone local.

If your PC isn’t completely locked up and you have your files backed up or are willing to lose them, you can wipe your PC, reinstall the OS, and then get your files from either the cloud or their backup drive.

You can try to recover files by clicking here to attempt identify the type of ransomware: https://id-ransomware.malwarehunterteam.com/

They can detect over 600 types of ransomware.  Once you identify the type of ransomware, you may be able to find tools to rescue encrypted files at this link: https://www.nomoreransom.org/en/index.html

If your PC will still run, but your files are encrypted, you can run anti-malware or anti-virus software to attempt to remove the ransomware.

If your screen is locked, restart the PC in safe mode and try running anti-malware or antivirus software. You can also do a system restore from safe mode. In Windows 10, restart with the shift key pressed to get to your recovery options. In Windows 7, restart while repeatedly tapping F8. Choose the option to repair your computer, then Troubleshoot>Advanced Options>System Restore.

If that won’t work, you can also reboot from a system recovery disc, if you remembered to make one.

No matter what you decide to do, make sure to report the incident to the police. It’s a crime and should be reported.

Remember, before anything bad happens to you, make sure you keep your files backed up and that you remember to make a system recovery disc.