File Restore is a fake hard drive diagnostic program from the
family of scareware programs. This family of computer infections pretends to be a hard drive diagnostic and repair program that scans your hard drives for problems and attempts to fix them. In reality, though, this program is an infection that display fake alerts, stops you from running your normal applications, hides the files on your hard drive, and deletes your Windows Start menu in order to make you think that your hard drive is failing or has become corrupt.
File Restore screen shot
For more screen shots of this infection click on the image above.
There are a total of 5 images you can view.
family of scareware programs spreads through Trojans that pretend to be legitimate programs or through hacked web sites that exploit vulnerabilities on your computer. Once the Trojan is installed, it will display fake security alerts that state that there is a problem with your hard drive. When you click on one of these alerts, the Trojan then displays File Restore, which pretends to perform a diagnostics check on your computer's hard drives. While performing the fake scan it will state that there a numerous issues that include:
Hard drive boot sector reading error
System blocks were not found
Error while relocating TARE sectors
Error 0 - DATA_BUS_ERROR
Error 0x00000078 - INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE
Error 0x00000050 - PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA
The storage device has failed a self-test
The self-test procedure of the storage device has detected an irreparable errors.
SMART state is "Out of order" before the disk scan
It will then prompt you to repair the hard drive errors. If you attempt to fix the problems it will state that you first need to purchase the program before it will fix anything. As these alerts are all false and the program is a scam, please do not purchase the program. This program will also be configured to start automatically when you login to Windows, which will cause this program to run and scan your computer each time your computer is started.
If you are infected with
it is important that you do not delete any files from your Temp folder or use any temp file cleaners.
This is because when the infection is installed it will delete shortcuts found in various locations and store backups of them in the %Temp%\smtmp
folder. It does this so that you when try to launch a program from your start menu, none of your shortcuts will appear and thus making you think that your computer has a serious problem. Therefore, you do not want to delete any of the files in your Temp folder as it will remove the backups that we will use later in the guide to restore your Windows Start Menu. For a list of folders that shortcuts are deleted and the corresponding directories where they are stored, please see this topic: Unhide.exe - A introduction as to what this program does
To further make it seem like your computer is not operating correctly, File Restore will also hide almost all of the files on your computer. This
is done to make it seem like there is corruption on your hard drive that is
causing your files to not be displayed. It does this by adding the +H, or hidden,
attribute to all of your files, which causes your files to become hidden. It
will then change your Windows settings so that you cannot view hidden and system
files. Once the rogue's processes are terminated you can change a setting in Windows so that you can view hidden files and thus be able to see your files and folders again. Instructions on how to enable the viewing of hidden files can be found in the following tutorial:
How to see hidden files in Windows
File Restore also attempts to make it so you cannot run any programs on your computer.
If you attempt to launch a program it will terminate it and state that the program
or hard drive is corrupted. It does this to protect itself from security programs
you may attempt to run and to make your computer unusable so that you will be
further tempted to purchase the rogue. The messages that you will see when you
attempt run a program are:
Windows detected a hard drive problem.
A hard drive error occurred while starting the application.
Windows cannot find chrome. Make sure you typed the
name correctly, and then try again. To search for a file, click the Start
button, and then click Search.
These are just further alerts trying to make you think your computer has a
serious hard drive problem. It should be noted that if you attempt to run a
program enough times it will eventually work.
As you can see, File Restore was created solely to scare you into thinking your hard drives are failing so that you will then purchase the software. As your hard drives are actually perfectly fine and your data is just hidden, please ignore any warnings this program displays. If you already
have purchased this program, please contact your credit card company and state that the program is
a computer infection and a scam and that you would like to dispute the charge.
To restore your files and remove this infection and related malware, please follow the steps in the
View File Restore files.
View File Restore Registry Information.
Tools Needed for this fix:
Symptoms that may be in a HijackThis Log:
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [<random>.exe] %LocalAppData%\<random>.exe
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [<random>] %LocalAppData%\<random>.exe
10/18/12 - Initial guide creation.
Automated Removal Instructions for File Restore using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware:
- Print out these instructions as we may need to close every window that is
open later in the fix.
- Reboot your computer into Safe Mode with Networking. To
do this, turn your computer off and then back on and immediately when you
see anything on the screen, start tapping the F8 key on your
keyboard. Eventually you will be brought to a menu similar to the one below:
Using the arrow keys on your keyboard, select Safe Mode with Networking and press Enter on your keyboard. If you are having trouble
entering safe mode, then please use the following tutorial: How
to start Windows in Safe Mode
Windows will now boot into safe mode with networking and prompt you to login
as a user. Please login as the same user you were previously logged in with
in the normal Windows mode. Then proceed with the rest of the steps.
- It is possible that the infection you are trying to remove will not allow
you to download files on the infected computer. If this is the case, then
you will need to download the files requested in this guide on another computer
and then transfer them to the infected computer. You can transfer the files
via a CD/DVD, external drive, or USB flash drive.
- Before we can do anything we must first end the processes that belong to
so that it does not interfere with the cleaning procedure. To do this, please
download RKill to your desktop from the following link.
Download Link - (Download page will open in a new tab or browser window.)
When at the download page, click on the Download Now button
labeled iExplore.exe download link. When you are prompted
where to save it, please save it on your desktop.
- Once it is downloaded, double-click on the iExplore.exe
icon in order to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated with
and other Rogue programs. If you cannot find the iExplore.exe icon that you
downloaded, you can also execute the program by doing the following steps
based on your version of Windows:
For Windows 7 and Windows Vista, click on the Start button
and then in the search field enter %userprofile%\desktop\iexplore.exe
and then press the Enter key on your keyboard. If you Windows
prompts you to allow it to run, please allow it to do so.
For Windows XP, click on the Start button and then click
on the Run menu option. In the Open: field
enter %userprofile%\desktop\iexplore.exe and press the OK
button. If you Windows prompts you to allow it to run, please allow it to
Please be patient while the program looks for various malware programs and
ends them. When it has finished, the black window will automatically close
and you can continue with the next step. If you get a message that RKill is
an infection, do not be concerned. This message is just a fake warning given
when it terminates programs that may potentially remove it. If you run into
these infections warnings that close RKill, a trick is to leave the warning
on the screen and then run RKill again. By not closing the warning, this typically
will allow you to bypass the malware trying to protect itself so that rkill
. So, please try running RKill until the malware is no longer running. You
will then be able to proceed with the rest of the guide. If you continue
having problems running RKill, you can download the other renamed versions
of RKill from the rkill
download page. All of the files are renamed copies of RKill, which you
can try instead. Please note that the download page will open in a new browser
window or tab.
Do not reboot your computer after running RKill as the malware programs will
- As this infection is known to be bundled with the TDSS rootkit infection, you should
also run a program that can be used to scan for this infection. Please follow
the steps in the following guide:
to remove Google Redirects or the TDSS, TDL3, or Alureon rootkit using TDSSKiller
If after running TDSSKiller, you are still unable to update Malwarebytes' Anti-malware or continue to have Google search result redirects, then you should post a virus removal request using the steps
in the following topic rather than continuing with this guide:
Preparation Guide For Use Before Using Malware Removal Tools and Requesting Help Topic
- Now you should download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, or MBAM, from the following
location and save it to your desktop:
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Download Link
(Download page will open in a new window)
- Once downloaded, close all programs and Windows on your computer, including
- Double-click on the icon on your desktop named mbam-setup.exe.
This will start the installation of MBAM onto your computer.
- When the installation begins, keep following the prompts in order to continue
with the installation process. Do not make any changes to default settings
and when the program has finished installing, make sure you leave both the
Update Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Launch
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware checked. Then click on the Finish
button. If MalwareBytes' prompts you to reboot, please do not do so.
- MBAM will now automatically start and you will see a message stating that
you should update the program before performing a scan. As MBAM will automatically
update itself after the install, you can press the OK button
to close that box and you will now be at the main program as shown below.
- On the Scanner tab, make sure the the Perform
full scan option is selected and then click on the Scan
button to start scanning your computer for
- MBAM will now start scanning your computer for malware. This process can
take quite a while, so we suggest you go and do something else and periodically
check on the status of the scan. When MBAM is scanning it will look like the
- When the scan is finished a message box will appear as shown in the image
You should click on the OK button to close the message box and continue with
- You will now be back at the main Scanner screen. At this point you should
click on the Show Results button.
- A screen displaying all the malware that the program found will be shown
as seen in the image below. Please note that the infections found may be different
than what is shown in the image.
You should now click on the Remove Selected button to remove
all the listed malware. MBAM will now delete all of the files and registry
keys and add them to the programs quarantine. When removing the files, MBAM
may require a reboot in order to remove some of them. If it displays a message
stating that it needs to reboot, please allow it to do so. Once your computer
has rebooted, and you are logged in, please continue with the rest of the
- When MBAM has finished removing the malware, it will open the scan log and
display it in Notepad. Review the log as desired, and then close the Notepad
- You can now exit the MBAM program.
- This infection family will also hide all the files on your computer from
being seen. To make your files visible again, please download the following
program to your desktop:
Once the program has been downloaded, double-click on the Unhide.exe icon
on your desktop and allow the program to run. This program will remove the
+H, or hidden, attribute from all the files on your hard drives. If there
are any files that were purposely hidden by you, you will need to hide them
again after this tool is run.
- As this infection changes your desktop background to a solid black color, we now want to change it back to the default Windows theme or to modify it to your preferences. If you are using Windows XP, please click on the Start button and then select Control Panel. When the Control Panel opens, please click on the Display icon. From this screen you can now change your Theme and desktop background so that it no longer shows the black background.
If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, please click
on the Start button and then select Control Panel. When the Control Panel opens, please click on the Appearance and Personalization category. Then select Change the Theme or Change Desktop Background to revert back to your original Theme and colors.
- This rogue will also disable various menu items from appearing on the Windows Start Menu. To add these items back, please right-click on the Start button and select Properties. The start button for Windows XP looks like and the Windows Vista and Windows 7 start button looks like . You will now be at the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties screen. Select the Start Menu tab and then click on the Customize button. If in Windows XP, you will now need to click on the Advanced tab. You will now be presented with a variety of menus and shortcuts that can be added back to the Windows Start Menu. Please select the various items you would like to add and then click on the OK button. Then press the Apply button and close the Start Menu properties screen.
- You can now reboot your computer out of Safe Mode and back into your normal Windows Mode. When Windows has started and your back at your normal desktop, please continue with step 22.
- Finally, as many rogues and other malware are installed through vulnerabilities
found in out-dated and insecure programs, it is strongly suggested that you
use Secunia PSI to scan for vulnerable programs on your computer. A tutorial
on how to use Secunia PSI to scan for vulnerable programs can be found here:
detect vulnerable and out-dated programs using Secunia Personal Software Inspector
Your computer should now be free of the
program. If your current anti-virus solution let this infection through,
you may want to consider purchasing the
PRO version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to protect against these types
of threats in the future.
If you are still having problems with your computer after completing these instructions, then please follow the steps outlined in the topic linked below:
Preparation Guide For Use Before Using Malware Removal Tools and Requesting Help
Associated File Restore Files:
%StartMenu%\Programs\File Restore\File Restore.lnk
%StartMenu%\Programs\File Restore\Uninstall File Restore.lnk
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\File_Restore.lnk
File Location Notes:
%UserProfile% refers to the current user's profile folder. By default, this is C:\Documents and Settings\<Current User> for Windows 2000/XP, C:\Users\<Current User> for Windows Vista/7/8, and c:\winnt\profiles\<Current User> for Windows NT.
%Temp% refers to the Windows Temp folder. By default, this is C:\Windows\Temp for Windows 95/98/ME, C:\DOCUMENTS AND SETTINGS\<Current User>\LOCAL SETTINGS\Temp for Windows 2000/XP, and C:\Users\<Current User>\AppData\Local\Temp in Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.
%CommonAppData% refers to the Application Data folder for the All Users Profile. By default, this is C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data for Windows 2000/XP and C:\ProgramData\ in Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.
%StartMenu% refers to the Windows Start Menu. For Windows 95/98/ME it refers to C:\windows\start menu\, for Windows XP, Vista, NT, 2000 and 2003 it refers to C:\Documents and Settings\<Current User>\Start Menu\, and for Windows Vista/7/8 it is C:\Users\<Current User>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu.
%CommonAppData% refers to the Application Data folder in the All Users profile. For Windows XP, Vista, NT, 2000 and 2003 it refers to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\, and for Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 it is C:\ProgramData.
Associated File Restore Windows Registry Information:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main "Use FormSuggest" = 'Yes'
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main "Use FormSuggest" = "Yes"
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings "CertificateRevocation" = '0'
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings "WarnonBadCertRecving" = '0'
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\ActiveDesktop "NoChangingWallPaper" = '1'
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Associations "LowRiskFileTypes" = '.zip;.rar;.nfo;.txt;.exe;.bat;.com;.cmd;.reg;.msi;.htm;.html;.gif;.bmp;.jpg;.avi;.mpg;.mpeg;.mov;.mp3;.m3u;.wav;.scr;'
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Attachments "SaveZoneInformation" = '1'
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer "NoDesktop" = '1'
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System "DisableTaskMgr" = '1'
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system "DisableTaskMgr" = '1'
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Download "CheckExeSignatures" = 'no'
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced "Hidden" = '0'
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced "ShowSuperHidden" = '0'
This is a self-help guide. Use at your own risk.
BleepingComputer.com can not be held responsible for problems that may occur by using this information. If you would like help with any of these fixes, you can ask for malware removal assistance in our Virus, Trojan, Spyware, and Malware Removal Logs forum.
If you have any questions about this self-help guide then please post those questions in our Am I infected? What do I do? and someone will help you.