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Here's how to use a free Symantec service that the company says often removes the virus. It is recommended that you print this out to have it handy if you fall victim to ransomware.

  1. If the computer is Internet connected, shut it off by holding down the power button for about 10 seconds.
  2. Turn it back on while repeatedly tapping the F8 key.
  3. When it brings up the "advanced boot options," use the down arrow to select "safe mode with networking" and hit "enter." You should see a screen that says "safe mode."
  4. Open a browser — such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer — and go to
  5. Click the button to download the Norton Power Eraser, save it to your desktop and double-click the icon to run the file.
  6. After reading the user license and clicking "agree," click "scan for risks."
  7. As Power Eraser restarts the computer, repeatedly hit the F8 button and again select safe mode with networking.
  8. Click "run" so Power Eraser can scan for the virus.
  9. Once it finishes, you'll see "scan complete" in a window with the results. Then click the "fix" button.
  10. Click "restart" to reboot the computer again. You should see a confirmation that threat has been removed.

If this does not work, the computer may need to be fully wiped and reimaged, in which case files and data stored on the device will be lost. As a routine practice, saving files to an external source such as a file share or portable drive can help recover most files and data.

Source: Symantec (from The Reporter online article titled "How to break your computer free of ransomware")