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Check for malware with HiJackFree

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Too much time is spent cleaning up PCs after they have been infected by some form of malware - undesirable software in the form of spyware, adware or even viruses. Fortunately, there are lots of tools around that will help you to eradicate malware from the system and one such program is HiJackFree from Emisoft.

As you can guess from the name, this is a free utility, but there's a Pro version you can buy if you need more features. Below the download button is a link to get a stand-alone version that doesn't need installing and this is prefereable, after all, why clutter up the system by installing extra software?

It's a fairly small program that is just 3.5Mb and you just download it and run it. It can even be carried around on a USB flash memory drive and then used on any PC you want to check.

Right click the program and select Run as Administrator to start it. It can display several different types of information and when it starts, it shows the processes like Task Manager's Processes tab. It dispays more information about each item than Task Manager though and it also colour codes each item too. Green ones are OK, white is unknown, yellow may be OK, but maybe not, and red items are known malware programs. Click the Online Analysis button in the toolbar and a web page opens with a comprehensive report showing each item.


When a process in the list is selected, an information panel below displays the details like the filename, company name, description and so on. This is useful. I wouldn't rely 100% on this because no one program knows every malware program, but it is useful as part of a toolkit for detecting and repairing malware infections.

Select Autoruns in the left panel and you can see the programs that start with Windows. Where it's better than msconfig is that it displays the file details for each item and this helps you to identify startup items with obscure names.

Select Ports on the left and the programs that are using the internet are listed. Most firewall software will do this too, but Windows Firewall doesn't, so it's useful if you're relying on that for network protection.

HiJackFree from Emisoft is free, so what's not to like? Grab a copy for yourself and try it out. It can be a useful tool, but it is best if you have some technical knowledge.