Smart HDD is a fake hard drive optimization and analysis program that displays false information so that it can scare you into thinking that there is something wrong with your computer's hard disks. This program is part of the Rogue.FakeHDD family of scareware programs. Smart HDD is installed via Trojans that display fake error messages on the infected computer. These messages will state that there is something wrong with your computer's hard drive in order to scare you into purchasing the program.
Once installed, Smart HDD will be configured to start automatically when you login to Windows. Once started, it will pretend to perform a S.M.A.R.T. Check routine that supposedly examines your hard drive for S.M.A.R.T. errors. When it has finished it will present you with a S.M.A.R.T. Repair screen where it will display a fake hard drives diagnostic report. This report will state that there are numerous issues with your computer's hard disks and then prompt you to repair these issues. If you attempt to repair any of these issues, though, it will first state that you need to purchase a license. Some examples of the fake problems that it will report are:
Hard drive boot sector reading error
System blocks were not found
Error 0x00000024 - NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM
Error 0x00000078 - INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE
Error 0x0000002E - DATA_BUS_ERROR
Error 0x00000050 - PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA
The DRM attribute value is too small before disk scan
As this program is a scam do not be scared into purchasing the program when you see its alerts.
If you are infected with Smart HDD it is important that you do not delete any files from your Temp folder or use any temp file cleaners. This is because when the infection is installed it will delete shortcuts found in various locations and store backups of them in the %Temp%\smtmp folder. It does this so that you when try to launch a program from your start menu, none of your shortcuts will appear and thus making you think that your computer has a serious problem. Therefore, you do not want to delete any of the files in your Temp folder as it will remove the backups that we will use later in the guide to restore your Windows Start Menu. For a list of folders that shortcuts are deleted and the corresponding directories where they are stored, please see this topic: Unhide.exe - A introduction as to what this program does.
To further make it seem like your computer is not operating correctly, System Check will also hide almost all of the files on your computer. This is done to make it seem like there is corruption on your hard drive that is causing your files to not be displayed. It does this by adding the +H, or hidden, attribute to all of your files, which causes your files to become hidden. It will then change your Windows settings so that you cannot view hidden and system files. Once the rogue's processes are terminated you can change a setting in Windows so that you can view hidden files and thus be able to see your files and folders again. Instructions on how to enable the viewing of hidden files can be found in the following tutorial:
Smart HDD also attempts to make it so you cannot run any programs on your computer. If you attempt to launch a program it will terminate it and state that the program or hard drive is corrupted. It does this to protect itself from anti-virus programs you may attempt to run and to make your computer unusable so that you will be further tempted to purchase the rogue. The messages that you will see when you attempt run a program are:
Windows detected a hard drive problem.
A hard drive error occurred while starting the application.
Windows cannot find notepad. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again. To search for a file, click the Start button, and then click Search.
These are just further alerts trying to make you think your computer has a serious hard drive problem. It should be noted that if you attempt to run a program enough times it will eventually work.
As you can see, this program was designed to make you think your hard drives are failing and that your data is lost. In reality, though, the hard drives are fine and your data has not been deleted. Therefore, do not purchase Smart HDD for any reason, and if you already have, please contact your credit card company and state that the program is a computer infection and a scam and that you would like to dispute the charge. To remove this infection and related malware, please follow the steps in the 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.
- Reboot your computer into Safe Mode with Networking. To
do this, turn your computer off and then back on and immediately when you
see anything on the screen, start tapping the F8 key on your
keyboard. Eventually you will be brought to a menu similar to the one below:
Using the arrow keys on your keyboard, select Safe Mode with Networking and press Enter on your keyboard. If you are having trouble entering safe mode, then please use the following tutorial: How to start Windows in Safe Mode
Windows will now boot into safe mode with networking and prompt you to login as a user. Please login as the same user you were previously logged in with in the normal Windows mode. Then proceed with the rest of the steps.
- 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.
- Before we can do anything we must first end the processes that belong to
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.
- Once it is downloaded, double-click on the iExplore.exe
icon in order to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated with
and other Rogue programs. If you cannot find the iExplore.exe icon that you
downloaded, you can also execute the program by doing the following steps
based on your version of Windows:
For Windows 7 and Windows Vista, click on the Start button and then in the search field enter %userprofile%\desktop\iexplore.exe and then press the Enter key on your keyboard. If you Windows prompts you to allow it to run, please allow it to do so.
For Windows XP, click on the Start button and then click on the Run menu option. In the Open: field enter %userprofile%\desktop\iexplore.exe and press the OK button. If you Windows prompts you to allow it to run, please allow it to do so.
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 Smart HDD 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 Smart HDD . 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. 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 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.
Do not reboot your computer after running RKill as the malware programs will start again.
- As this infection is known to be bundled with the TDSS rootkit infection, you should
also run a program that can be used to scan for this infection. Please follow
the steps in the following guide:
- 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-1878.1878-220.127.116.119.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.
- This infection family will also hide all the files on your computer from
being seen. To make your files visible again, please download the following
program to your desktop:
Once the program has been downloaded, double-click on the Unhide.exe icon on your desktop and allow the program to run. This program will remove the +H, or hidden, attribute from all the files on your hard drives. If there are any files that were purposely hidden by you, you will need to hide them again after this tool is run.
- As this infection changes your desktop background to a solid black color, we now want to change it back to the default Windows theme or to modify it to your preferences. If you are using Windows XP, please click on the Start button and then select Control Panel. When the Control Panel opens, please click on the Display icon. From this screen you can now change your Theme and desktop background so that it no longer shows the black background.
If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, please click on the Start button and then select Control Panel. When the Control Panel opens, please click on the Appearance and Personalization category. Then select Change the Theme or Change Desktop Background to revert back to your original Theme and colors.
- This rogue will also disable various menu items from appearing on the Windows Start Menu. To add these items back, please right-click on the Start button and select Properties. The start button for Windows XP looks like and the Windows Vista and Windows 7 start button looks like . You will now be at the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties screen. Select the Start Menu tab and then click on the Customize button. If in Windows XP, you will now need to click on the Advanced tab. You will now be presented with a variety of menus and shortcuts that can be added back to the Windows Start Menu. Please select the various items you would like to add and then click on the OK button. Then press the Apply button and close the Start Menu properties screen.
- You can now reboot your computer out of Safe Mode and back into your normal Windows Mode. When Windows has started and your back at your normal desktop, please continue with step 22.
- Finally, 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 SmartHDD 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.