How to remove Windows Active Defender

  • June 14, 2012
  • 08:30 PM
  • Read 12,245 times

What is Windows Active Defender?

Windows Active Defender is a computer infection from the Rogue.FakeVimes family rogue anti-spyware programs. It is considered a rogue because it displays fake security alerts, false scan results, and makes it so that you are unable to run your normal programs. This family of infections are spread through hacked web sites that exploit vulnerabilities on your computer so that the program can be installed without your knowledge or permission. This family is also spread via advertisements that pretend to be an online anti-malware scanner that states that you are infected and then prompts you to download and install the program.

  • Windows Active Defender screen shot
  • Scan Results
  • Startup Screen

When Windows Active Defender is installed it will be set to start when you login to Windows. Once started it will scan your computer and state that there are numerous infections present. If you attempt to remove any of these infections, though, it will state that you first need to purchase program before you can do so. As the scan results are all false, please do not purchase this program.

When installed, Windows Active Defender will also make changes to the Windows Registry so that you are unable to launch a variety of legitimate applications. When you attempt to run one of these programs it will instead launch the infection and state that your legitimate program is infected. It does this so that they cannot assist you in removing the infection from your computer.

While running, Windows Active Defender will also display fake security warnings that attempt to scare you into thinking that your computer is sending private information to a remote site or is under attack from infection. Examples of some alerts you may see include:

Attempt to modify registry key entries detected. Registry entry analysis is recommended.

Attempt to run a potentially dangerous script detected.
Full system scan is highly recommended.

Just like the scan results, all of these security alerts are fake and should be ignored.

As you can see, Windows Active Defender was created for one reason; to make you think that your computer is infected so that you will then purchase the program. With this said, for no reason should you purchase this program, and if you have, you should contact your credit card company and dispute the charge stating that the program is a scam and a computer virus. To remove Windows Active Defender and related malware, please follow the steps in the removal guide below.

Windows Active Defender Removal Options

Self Help Guide

This guide is intended for advanced computer users only. Please ensure your data is backed up before proceeding. If you’re uncomfortable making changes to your computer, consider having a professional help clean your computer or ask in the forums.
  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 Windows Active Defender 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 Windows Active Defender 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 Windows Active Defender 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 Windows Active Defender . 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. 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)

  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 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 start and you will be at the main screen as shown below.

    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

    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.

  15. 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.

    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

  16. 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.

    MalwareBytes Scan Results

    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 steps.

  17. You can now exit the MBAM program.

  18. 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 Windows Active Defender 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.

View Associated Windows Active Defender Files

%AppData%\NPSWF32.dll %AppData%\Protector-<random 3 chars>.exe %AppData%\Protector-<random 4 chars>.exe %AppData%\result.db %AppData%\1st$0l3th1s.cnf

View Associated Windows Active Defender Registry Information

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings "WarnOnHTTPSToHTTPRedirect" = 0 HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System "DisableRegedit" = 0 HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System "DisableRegistryTools" = 0 HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System "DisableTaskMgr" = 0 HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system "ConsentPromptBehaviorAdmin" = 0 HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system "ConsentPromptBehaviorUser" = 0 HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system "EnableLUA" = 0 HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run "Inspector" HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Settings "net" = "2012-6-14_7" HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Settings "UID" = "fecxlyxkdq" HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ASProtect HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\alevir.exe HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\bipcpevalsetup.exe HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\gbmenu.exe HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\msdm.exe HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\protector.exe HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\srng.exe HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\W3asbas.exe ... and many more Image File Execution Options entries.

This is a self-help guide. Use at your own risk. 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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