Windows Stability Guard is a rogue anti-spyware program from the Rogue.FakeVimes family. This program is classified as a rogue as it displays false information in order to trick you into purchasing the program. This particular variant is spread via two methods. The first method is the use of hacked web sites that exploit visitor's vulnerable programs in order to install the rogue without their permission. The second method uses web sites that display fake online anti-malware scanners that pretend to scan your computer, state that it is infected, and then prompt you to download and install Windows Stability Guard in order to clean it.
Once the rogue is installed on your computer it will be configured to start automatically when Windows starts. Once started it will perform a fake scan and then state that there are numerous infections present. If you attempt to use the program to remove these infections, though, it will state that you first need to purchase it before it can do so. This is a scam as the scan results are all fake, and in many cases, the infected files do not even exist on your computer. Therefore, please ignore the scan results and do not purchase the program.
While the rogue is running it will also hijack many of the infected computer's functions. For example, when you attempt to run an executable it will terminate it automatically. Furthermore, Windows Stability Guard will hijack the Windows Task Manager and Registry editor so that when you launch them, it will instead open the rogue's Advanced Process Control screen, which acts like a task manager. This allows the rogue to take full control of your computer until you pay the "ransom".
Last, but not least, this infection will also display fake security warnings that are designed to make you think that your computer has a severe computer security problem. These warnings may state that your computer is downloading copyrighted material, has viruses, or is sending out spam email.
Software without a digital signature detected.
Your system files are at risk. We strongly advise you to activate your protection.
Keylogger activity detected. System information security is at risk.
It is recommended to activate protection and run a full system scan.
Warning! Virus Detected
Threat detected: FTP Server
Infected file: C:\Windows\System32\dllcache\wmpshell.dll
Just like the scan results, all of these security alerts are fake and should be ignored.
As you can see, Windows Stability Guard is a scam that was created to trick you into thinking your computer was severely infected so that you will then purchase it. 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 Stability Guard and related malware, please follow the steps in the 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
Windows Stability Guard
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
Windows Stability Guard
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 Stability Guard
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
Windows Stability Guard
. 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-1878.1878-184.108.40.2069.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,
Windows Stability Guard
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 Windows Stability Guard 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.