How to Remove Virus Using CMD in Windows 11 or 10

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

Even though there are a lot of antivirus programs you can use to get rid of viruses and malware, sometimes you might need to deal with a suspicious file or folder on your own. It’s very important to know that the steps we’ll talk about later for using Command Prompt (CMD) in Windows 11 or 10 are meant for dealing with specific suspected files in certain folders, not for scanning your whole computer for viruses.

This method is just an extra step, not a replacement for regular virus scans. You should always use Windows Defender or a good third-party antivirus software to check your entire system first. With that in mind, let’s look at how to use CMD to remove suspected viruses manually in Windows.

How to Remove Virus Using CMD in Windows 11 or 10

Why use Command Prompt for manual virus removal

Command Prompt lets you talk directly to the Windows OS and work with files. If a virus is messing with your antivirus software, or if it’s a new virus that your antivirus software doesn’t know yet, CMD can come in handy. It allows you to go straight to the file and change things so you can delete it more easily.

But you need to know what you’re doing with CMD because a wrong command can cause serious problems with your PC.

Also see: How to Scan an .exe File for Viruses to Check If It’s Safe

Things to consider before using CMD to delete infected files

There are some important things that you should know first before you proceed:

  1. This method is not about guessing where viruses might be; it’s about dealing with specific suspicious files or folders. Make sure you know which files might be causing trouble, maybe because your computer is acting weird or another scanning tool gave you a clue.
  2. It’s often a good idea to start your computer in Safe Mode when trying to get rid of infected files. Safe Mode runs with just the basic stuff your computer needs, which makes it tough for stubborn viruses to hide or protect themselves.Enter Safe Mode Windows 11
  3. Make sure you have administrator rights on your computer. You’ll need this to run certain commands and change file properties.
  4. If you’re not sure about a command or a step, stop and look it up or ask someone who knows.

Common virus: What is Trojan:Win32/Casdet!rfn and How to Remove it

Remove virus files using CMD in Windows 11 or 10

Now that you know what we’re trying to do and know the risks, below are the steps to get rid of a virus file using CMD in Windows 11 or 10.

  1. Start CMD with administrator rights:
  2. Go to the folder you think has the virus:
    • In CMD, you usually start in your user folder. Use the “cd” command to go to other folders. For example, cd Downloads will take you to your Downloads folder. Learn more: How to change directory or drive in CMD.
    • To go back up one level in the folder structure, type cd ...Change directory to suspected virus folder
  3. Show files and folders:
    • Type “dir” to see all the files and folders where you are. This helps if you’re not sure of the file name you’re after.
    • Use dir /a to see all files, even hidden ones. Bad files often hide to avoid being seen.Remove Virus using Command Prompt
  4. Change file properties:
    • If you find a sketchy file, you might need to change its settings. Use the “attrib” command for this.
    • For instance, if a file called “autorun.exe” is hidden and read-only, you can make it visible and editable by typing attrib -h -r autorun.exe.Command line to unhide virus or malware files
    • This will make the file visible and ready for changes.
    • Related resource: How to Unhide a File or Folder in Windows 11
  5. Delete the bad file:
    • Once you’re sure the file is harmful and you’ve backed up important stuff, use the “del” command to get rid of it. For example, del autorun.exe.
    • You can also use: del /F /Q autorun.exe. Here, “/F” makes sure read-only files get deleted, and “/Q” means it won’t ask you before deleting.Delete virus using CMD in Windows 11 or 10
    • If a message says the file is being used, you might need to restart in Safe Mode and try again. Safe Mode stops most programs from running, which helps in deleting stubborn files.
    • Learn more: How to Force Delete a File in Use by Another Program on Windows 11/10
  6. Check startup programs:
    • Many bad programs try to start automatically when your computer turns on. You can see which programs these are with the “wmic” command.
    • Type wmic startup list full to see all programs that start with Windows. If you see something suspicious, write down where it’s located.Show all startup programs and services using CMD
    • See also: How to Disable Startup Services on Windows 11 or 10
  7. Clean out temporary folders:
    • Bad software often hides or keeps copies in temporary folders. It’s smart to clean these out now and then.
    • Go to the temp folder with cd %temp%.
    • Type del *.* to remove all files. Be careful, this deletes all temp files, but it’s usually safe. However, it’s good to be cautious.Delete all temp files using CMD in Windows 11
    • Useful tip: How to Delete a Ghost File or Folder in Windows 11/10

Emphasizing again, although CMD can be a strong tool to delete files that are difficult to remove, it’s not actually a solid way to find malware on your system. Whenever in doubt about a possible infection on your computer, always do a full scan with either Windows Defender or a trusted antivirus program first.

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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