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.
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.
Self Help Guide
If you are uncomfortable making changes to your computer or following these steps, do not worry! Instead you can get free one-on-one help by asking in the forums.
- 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:
- 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 arrow above.
- 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.
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.
- 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 mb3-setup-1878.1878-188.8.131.529.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 steps.
- 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:
- 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 LinkYour Windows HOSTS file should now be back to the default one from when Windows was first installed.
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
- 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:
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.