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Remove MS Removal Tool (Uninstall Guide)

By on March 27, 2011 @ 09:53 AM | Read 924,445 times.
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MS Removal Tool is a computer infection from the same family as System Tool. This infection is also categorized as a rogue anti-spyware program as it pretends to be an anti-virus program, but is actually a program that displays fake security alerts and scan results in order to make you think your computer is infected. MS Removal Tool is installed through the use of malware that will install the program onto your computer without your knowledge or permission. When installed, the infection files will be created in a random named folder in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\, in XP, or C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\, in Windows Vista and Windows 7. It will then be configured to start automatically when you login to your computer.

 

MS Removal Tool screen shot
MS Removal Tool screen shot
For more screen shots of this infection click on the image above.
There are a total of 4 images you can view.

 

Once running it will scan your computer and state that there are numerous infections present, but will not allow you to remove them until you purchase the program. It is important to understand that MS Removal Tool is scripted to display fake scan results regardless of whether or not your computer is infected. Therefore, please do not be concerned if this program states you are infected. MS Removal Tool will also terminate any executables that you attempt to run in order to protect itself from being removed. When you attempt to run any program, it will terminate that program's process and then display a message similar to the following:

Warning!
Application cannot be executed. The file cmd.exe is infected.
Please activate your antivirus software.

Just like the scan results, this message is fake and should be ignored.

While MS Removal Tool is running it will also display fake security alerts and warnings from your Windows taskbar. These alerts are designed to scare you into thinking that your computer is severely infected and that you should purchase the program to protect yourself. The text of these messages include:

MS Removal Tool Warning
Your PC is infected with dangerous viruses. Activate antivirus protection to prevent data loss and avoid the theft of your credit card details.
Click here to activate protection.

MS Removal Tool Warning
Intercepting programs that may compromise your privacy and harm your system have been detected on your PC.
Click here to remove them immediately with MS Removal Tool.

Security Monitor: WARNING!
Attention: System detected a potential hazard (TrojanSPM/LX) on your computer that may infect executable files. Your private information and PC safety is at risk. To get rid of unwanted spyware and keep your computer safe you need to update your current security software.
CLick Yes to download official intrusion detection system (IDS software).

Warning: Your computer is infected
Windows has detected spyware infection!
Click this message to install the last update of Windows security software...

This infection will also change the background of your Windows desktop to display the following over-the-top, and almost insensible, warning:

Warning!
Your're in Danger!
Your Computer is infected with Spyware!

All you do with your computer is stored forever in your hard disk. When you visit sites, send emails... All your actions are logged. And it is impossible to remove them with standard tools. Your data is still available for forensics, and in some cases

For your boss, your friends, your wife, your children. Every site you or somebody or even something, like spyware, opened in your browsers, with all the images, and all the downloaded and maybe later removed movies or mp3 songs - ARE STILL THERE and could break your life!

Secure yourself right now!
Removal all spyware from your PC!

Just like the fake scan results and warning messages, you should not be alarmed with this message as they just tactics that the malware writer is using to try and scare you into purchasing the MS Removal Tool program.

As you can see, MS Removal Tool was created solely to make you think that your computer is infected so that you will then buy the program. It goes without saying that you should definitely not buy MS Removal Tool, and if you already have, please contact your credit card company and dispute the charges stating that the program is a scam and a computer virus. To remove MS Removal Tool and other related malware, please use the free removal guide below.

 

Threat Classification:

 

Advanced information:

View MS Removal Tool files.
View MS Removal Tool Registry Information.

 

Tools Needed for this fix:

 

Symptoms that may be in a HijackThis Log:

O4 - HKCU\..\RunOnce: [<random>] C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\<random>\<random>.exe

 

Guide Updates:

03/27/11 - Initial guide creation.

 


Automated Removal Instructions for MS Removal Tool using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware:

 

  1. Print out these instructions as we may need to close every window that is open later in the fix.

  2. It is possible that the infection you are trying to remove will not allow you to download files on the infected computer. If you run into this problem when following the steps in this guide 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.

  3. Reboot your computer into Safe Mode with Networking using the instructions for your version of Windows found in the following tutorial:
    How to start Windows in Safe Mode
    When following the steps in the above tutorial, select Safe Mode with Networking rather than just Safe Mode. When the computer reboots into Safe Mode with Networking make sure you login with the username you normally use. When you are at your Windows desktop, please continue with the rest of the steps.

  4. This infection changes your Windows settings to use a proxy server that will not allow you to browse any pages on the Internet with Internet Explorer or update security software. Regardless of the web browser you use, for these instructions we will first need need to fix this problem so that we can download the utilities we need to remove this infection.

    Please start Internet Explorer, and when the program is open, click on the Tools menu and then select Internet Options as shown in the image below.



    Internet Explorer Tools Menu


  5. You should now be in the Internet Options screen as shown in the image below.



    Internet Options screen



    Now click on the Connections tab as designated by the blue arrow above.

  6. You will now be at the Connections tab as shown by the image below.


    Internet Options connections tab



    Now click on the Lan Settings button as designated by the blue arrow above.

  7. You will now be at the Local Area Network (LAN) settings screen as shown by the image below.



    Proxy Settings screen



    Under the Proxy Server section, please uncheck the checkbox labeled Use a proxy server for your LAN. Then press the OK button to close this screen. Then press the OK button to close the Internet Options screen. Now that you have disabled the proxy server you will be able to browse the web again with Internet Explorer.

  8. Now we must end the processes that belong to MS Removal Tool so that it does not interfere with the cleaning procedure. To do this, please download RKill to your desktop from the following link.

    RKill 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.

    If you are unable to connect to the site to download RKill, please go back and do steps 3-6 again and make sure the infection has not reenabled the proxy settings. You may have to do this quite a few times before you can get RKill downloaded. If you still cannot download the RKill program on the infected computer, you should download it to a clean computer and copy it to the infected one via a USB flash drive or CDROM.

  9. Once it is downloaded, double-click on the iExplore.exe icon in order to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated with MS Removal Tool and other Rogue programs. 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 by MS Removal Tool 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 can terminate MS Removal Tool . 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. Do not reboot your computer after running RKill as the malware programs will start again.

    If you continue having problems running RKill, you can download the other renamed versions of RKill from the RKill download page. Both of these 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.


  10. 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)

    If you are unable to connect to the site to download Malwarebytes', please go back and do steps 3-6 again and make sure the infection has not reenabled the proxy settings.


  11. Once downloaded, close all programs and Windows on your computer, including this one.

  12. Double-click on the icon on your desktop named mbam-setup.exe. This will start the installation of MBAM onto your computer.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.


    MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Screen

  15. 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 MS Removal Tool related files.

  16. 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 image below.


    MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Scanning Screen

  17. When the scan is finished a message box will appear as shown in the image below.


    MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Scan Finished Screen

    You should click on the OK button to close the message box and continue with the MS Removal Tool removal process.

  18. You will now be back at the main Scanner screen. At this point you should click on the Show Results button.

  19. 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.


    MalwareBytes Scan Results


    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 steps.

  20. 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 window.

  21. You can now exit the MBAM program.

  22. As this infection also changes your Windows HOSTS file, we want to replace this file with the default version for your operating system. Please note that if you or your company has added custom entries to your HOSTS file then you will need to add them again after restoring the default HOSTS file. In order to protect itself, MS Removal Tool changes the permissions of the HOSTS file so you can't edit or delete it. To fix these permissions please download the following batch file and save it to your desktop:
    hosts-perm.bat Download Link
    When the file has finished downloading, double-click on the hosts-perm.bat file that is now on your desktop. If Windows asks if you if you are sure you want to run it, please allow it to run. Once it starts you will see a small black window that opens and then quickly goes away. This is normal and is nothing to be worried about. You should now be able to access your HOSTS file.

  23. We now need to delete the C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\HOSTS file. Once it is deleted, download the following HOSTS file that corresponds to your version of Windows and save it in the C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc folder. If the contents of the HOSTS file opens in your browser when you click on a link below then right-click on the appropriate link and select Save Target As..., if in Internet Explorer, or Save Link As.., if in Firefox, to download the file.
    Windows XP HOSTS File Download Link
    Windows Vista HOSTS File Download Link
    Windows 2003 Server HOSTS File Download Link
    Windows 2008 Server HOSTS File Download Link
    Windows 7 HOSTS File Download Link
    Your Windows HOSTS file should now be back to the default one from when Windows was first installed.

  24. Now reboot your computer.

  25. 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:

    How to detect vulnerable and out-dated programs using Secunia Personal Software Inspector

Your computer should now be free of the MS Removal Tool program. You may want to consider purchasing the PRO version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to protect against these types of threats in the future, as if you had the real-time protection component, that comes with the paid for version, activated it would not have allowed this infection to install.

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 MS Removal Tool Files:

c:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\<random>\
c:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\<random>\<random>
c:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\<random>\<random>.exe

 

Associated MS Removal Tool Windows Registry Information:

KEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce "<random>"

 


 

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.


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