Remove Windows Work Catalyst (Uninstall Guide)

  • May 13, 2011
  • 10:17 AM
  • Read 9,421 times

What is Windows Work Catalyst?

Windows Work Catalyst is a fake rogue anti-spyware program that is part of the Fake Microsoft Security Essentials infection. When this infection is installed on your computer it will display a fake Microsoft Security Essentials alert that states that it has detected an Unknown Win32/Trojan on your computer. This alert will state:

Microsoft Security Essentials Alert
Potential Threat Details

Microsoft Security Essentials detected potential threats that might compromise your private or damage your computer. Your access to these items may be suspended until you take an action. Click 'show details' to learn more.

It will then prompt you to scan your computer, which will start a fake scan of your computer that ultimately states that a particular file is infected with Trojan.Horse.Win32.PAV.64.a. It will then prompt you to install Windows Work Catalyst to remove the virus. The text of this prompt is:

Threat prevention solution found
Security system analysis has revealed critical file system vulnerability caused by severe malware attacks.
Risk of system files infection:
The detected vulnerability may result in unauthorized access to private information and hard drive data with a serious possibility of irreversible data loss and unstable PC performance. To remove the malware please run a full system scan. Press 'OK' to install the software necessary to initiate system files check. To complete the installation process please reboot your computer.

When you press OK, the infection will download and install Windows Work Catalyst and reboot your computer.

  • Windows Work Catalyst screen shot
  • Update Manager
  • Installer
  • Fake Microsoft Security Essentials Alert

When your computer reboots you will be presented with the Windows Work Catalyst screen before your normal Windows desktop is shown. It then prompts you to scan your computer, which will state that your computer is infected with numerous infections. In order to get to your normal Windows desktop, you will need to close the Windows Work Catalyst program when it has finished its fake scan. As you can see this program is a scam as it is ransoming the proper operation of your computer until you purchase it. It goes without saying that you should not purchase this program for any reason.

While the program is running it will also display fake security alerts that are further used to scare you into thinking that your computer has a serious problem. Some of these alerts include:

System Security Warning
Attempt to modify register key entries is detected. Register entries analysis is recommended.

Viruses: Backdoor.Win32.Rbot

Just like the fake scan results, these alerts are also fake and are only being used to scare you into purchasing the program. Therefore, please ignore them.

As you can see, Windows Work Catalyst was created to scare you into thinking your computer has a severe security problem so that you will then purchase this program. For no reason should you purchase Windows Work Catalyst , and if you already have, you should contact your credit card company and dispute the charges stating that the program is a computer infection. Finally, to remove this infection, and any related malware, please use the removal guide below.

Windows Work Catalyst 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 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.

  3. The Windows Work Catalyst infection will start before your normal Windows desktop appears. To access your desktop we first need to allow it to perform it's fake scan. Therefore, when it tells you that it must perform a scan press the OK button to allow it to do so. Windows Work Catalyst will now perform a fake scan and when it is finished it will state that numerous infections were found and then prompt you to fix the errors. Press the Fix Errors button and you will now be at the Update Manager screen. At this screen you can close the program by clicking on the X at the top right of the Windows Work Catalyst Window. Shown below is an image of the program screen that shows the location of the X, designated by the black arrow, that you should click on to close the program. Once you close the program, your Windows Desktop will load normally.

    Windows Work Catalyst start screen

    Now that your Windows Desktop is available, we can continue with the rest of the removal process.

  4. Before we continue we should also terminate the Windows Work Catalyst infection 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.

  5. Once it is downloaded, double-click on the iExplore.exe icon in order to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated with Windows Work Catalyst 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 Work Catalyst 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 Work Catalyst . 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. All of the files listed there 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.

  6. Next we have to do is fix your Windows Registry Shell value. If we do not fix this entry and is deleted, then your Windows desktop will not be displayed the next time you reboot.

    To fix the Shell entry, simple download the following file to your desktop. If you are having trouble downloading the file, try right-clicking on it and selecting Save as.

    Shell.reg Download Link

  7. Once Shell.reg has been downloaded, locate it on your desktop and double-click on it. When Windows asks if you would like the data to be merged, please allow it to do so.

  8. 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)

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

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. You can now exit the MBAM program.

  16. 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 Work Catalyst 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.

View Associated Windows Work Catalyst Files

%UserProfile%\Application Data\Microsoft\<random>.exe

View Associated Windows Work Catalyst Registry Information

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\afwserv.exe "Debugger" = 'svchost.exe' HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\avastsvc.exe "Debugger" = 'svchost.exe' HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\avastui.exe "Debugger" = 'svchost.exe' HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\egui.exe "Debugger" = 'svchost.exe' HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\ekrn.exe "Debugger" = 'svchost.exe' HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\msascui.exe "Debugger" = 'svchost.exe' HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\msmpeng.exe "Debugger" = 'svchost.exe' HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\msseces.exe "Debugger" = 'svchost.exe' HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings "WarnOnHTTPSToHTTPRedirect" = '0' HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings "WarnOnHTTPSToHTTPRedirect" = '0' HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SystemRestore "DisableSR " = '1'

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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