Remove ThinkPoint (Uninstall Guide)

  • October 21, 2010

ThinkPoint 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. It will then prompt you to scan your computer, which will start a fake scan of your computer that ultimately states that C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe is infected with Trojan.Horse.Win32.PAV.64.a and that it will install ThinkPoint to remove the virus. It will then prompts you to press the OK button, which will reboot your computer to finish the installation.

  • ThinkPoint screen shot
  • Fake Microsoft Security Essentials alert
  • Fake online scan
  • ThinkPoint installing
  • ThinkPoint Start screen
  • Solution found message
  • Warning when you attempt to close ThinkPoint

When your computer reboots you will be presented with the ThinkPoint start 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. It will not, though, allow you to use your computer as the Windows desktop or the Windows task manager will not be allowed to run until you purchase the ThinkPoint program. In fact if you try to close the program it will state that "Current settings don't allow unprotected startup. Please check your settings.". 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.

This guide will walk you through terminating the ThinkPoint process and then allowing your Windows Desktop to appear so that you can properly clean the infection. For no reason should you purchase ThinkPoint, 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.

Self Help Guide

This guide contains advanced information, but has been written in such a way so that anyone can follow it. Please ensure your data is backed up before proceeding.

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.
  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 ThinkPoint infection will not allow you to access your desktop. Therefore, we will need to follow certain steps to close the infection process so that you can regain access to your desktop. When you first start your computer you will most likely be presented with the ThinkPoint start screen as shown below.


    <strong>ThinkPoint</strong> start screen


    When you see this screen, do not click on any of the buttons. Instead click on the Ctrl, Alt, and Delete button at the same time to bring up the Windows Task Manager. The best way to do this keyboard combination is to hold down the Ctrl and Alt key at the same time and then press the Delete key while holding the other buttons down. Once you do this, it will successfully launch the Task Manager or screen where you can select the Task Manager to be run.

  4. When the Task Manager starts, click on the Processes tab.

  5. You will now be at the Processes tab as shown in the image below.


    Processes Tab


    When you are at the above screen, scroll down through the list of running processes and left-click once on the hotfix.exe process.

  6. Once the hotfix.exe process is higlighted, click on the End Process button. When you press this button, Windows will ask if you are sure you want to terminate the process. You should press the Yes button to terminate it.

  7. ThinkPoint will now be terminated and you will be at a blank screen with Task Manager running. Now click on the File menu and select New Task (Run...) from the menu.

  8. When the Create New Task prompt appears, type explorer.exe into the Open: field and press the OK button. After a minute or so you should be back at your Windows desktop.

  9. Now that we have the Windows desktop back, the first thing we have to do is fix your Windows Registry Shell value. If we do not fix this entry and hotfix.exe 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

  10. 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.

  11. Before we continue we should also terminate any other infections that may be related to ThinkPoint 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.

  12. Once it is downloaded, double-click on the iExplore.exe icon in order to automatically attempt to stop any processes associated with ThinkPoint 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 ThinkPoint 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 ThinkPoint . 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.

  13. 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)

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

  15. Double-click on the icon on your desktop named mb3-setup-1878.1878-3.0.6.1469.exe. This will start the installation of MBAM onto your computer.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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


  19. 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.

  20. You can now exit the MBAM program.

  21. 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 ThinkPoint 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 ThinkPoint Files

%UserProfile%\Application Data\completescan %UserProfile%\Application Data\hotfix.exe %UserProfile%\Application Data\install

File Location Notes:

%UserProfile% refers to the current user's profile folder. By default, this is C:\Documents and Settings\<Current User> for Windows 2000/XP, C:\Users\<Current User> for Windows Vista/7/8, and c:\winnt\profiles\<Current User> for Windows NT.

View Associated ThinkPoint Registry Information

HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentConfiguration\Winlogon\\Shell = %AppData%\hotfix.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.

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