MS Removal Tool is a computer infection from the same family
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
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:
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:
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.
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
03/27/11 - Initial guide creation.
Automated Removal Instructions for MS Removal Tool using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware:
- Print out these instructions as we may need to close every window that is
open later in the fix.
- 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.
- Reboot your computer into Safe Mode with Networking using
the instructions for your version of Windows found in the following tutorial:
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
- 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.
- You should now be in the Internet Options screen as shown in the image below.
Now click on the Connections tab as designated by the blue
- You will now be at the Connections tab as shown by the image below.
Now click on the Lan Settings button as designated by the
blue arrow above.
- You will now be at the Local Area Network (LAN) settings screen as shown
by the image below.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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
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.
- At this point you should download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, or MBAM, to scan your computer for any any infections or adware that may be present. Please download Malwarebytes 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 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 start and you will be at the main screen as shown below.
Please click on the Scan Now button to start the scan. If there is an update available for Malwarebytes it will automatically download and install it before performing the scan.
- MBAM will now start scanning your computer for malware. This process can
take quite a while, so we suggest you do something else and periodically
check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
- When MBAM is finished scanning it will display a screen that displays any malware that it has detected. Please note that the infections found may be different
than what is shown in the image below due to the guide being updated for newer versions of MBAM.
You should now click on the Remove Selected button to remove
all the seleted 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
- You can now exit the MBAM program.
- 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:
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.
- 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.
XP HOSTS File Download Link
Your Windows HOSTS file should now be back to the default one from when Windows
was first installed.
Vista HOSTS File Download Link
2003 Server HOSTS File Download Link
2008 Server HOSTS File Download Link
7 HOSTS File Download Link
- Now reboot your computer.
- 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
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
View 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
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.