Does anyone know how to get rid of fake “Windows Product Key” virus? I’m running Windows 10. A few weeks ago this infection started to occur on my machine. Every time I start up my PC and log in using my password and then comes a blank screen with the fake windows product key. My Norton security software found and deleted some threats but the fake pop-up still exists. I attempt to open Windows Task Manager but nothing happens. What should I do now? Is there any suggestion?
About Fake” Windows Product Key” Virus
Fake” Windows Product Key” Virus is a member belongs to Rogue.Tech-Support-Scam family, which locks your computer screen and displays a pop-up window stating that “your computer is suspected of malicious software” and you need to call a “Microsoft Technician Helpline” to fix the problem.
Screenshots of the lock screen notifications that you may see:
The texts displayed in the pop-up notifications are:
Windows Activation Pro Product Key Customer Support: 1-844-459-8882
Your computer is suspected of malicious software, for the purpose of verification enter your windows product key. You will find your product key on the box that Windows Dvd came in or in the welcome email or on the certificate of authenticity stick. It looks similar to this: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
Enter a Product Key
Your product key should be on the box that the Windows DVD came in or in an email that shows you bought Windows.
The product key looks similar to this:
Product Key: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
Microsoft Technician Helpline +1888-414-4284
Please don’t be fooled by the content in the pop-up. This is absolutely a scam which tricks you into believing that there is something wrong with your PC and you need to call the number provided there to receive support. In fact, it has nothing to do with the product key. The cybercriminals create this malware with the purpose of selling their services or products. If you call the number (eg. 1-844-459-8882), a Remote Tech Support agent will tell you that you need to pay $99.99 USD for a new product key because the old one is invalid. Once you follow his/her instructions to purchase the new product key, the alert may disappear but you may be suggested for other services. Never pay for the products or services from such strange or unverified alerts. If you have already purchased a product key from them, it’s suggested that you dispute the charges on your credit card company/bank.
Note: If your computer is infected by Fake” Windows Product Key” Virus, please DO NOT call the so-called support number. Please run a virus scanner now to scan your system and find and delete the malware immediately.
How does Fake” Windows Product Key” Virus spread?
Usually, many computer users have no idea how their machine got infected by such virus. In fact, the malware can be installed on the PC when you download and install a third-party program from the Internet. It’s necessary to read the end user license agreement (EULA) documents when you install a new piece of software. Sometimes those unwanted items (eg. Adware or browser hijackers) are mentioned in the agreements and you can decline the installation if you don’t want them. In addition, the additional programs may be recommended during installation. By choosing the Advanced/Custom Install, you’re allowed to cancel or decline them. However, if you ignore the EULAs and install new software in a hurry, you accept some unwanted software or even malware unknowingly.
Besides, links and attachments contained in spam emails could also bring this malware. Please be careful when receiving strange emails and never open the attachments or links unless you make sure they are 100 percent safe. Keep away from malicious websites or websites that have been compromised. Many malware can be distributed via drive-by downloads. Do not click on suspicious pop-ups when you visit unverified websites.
How to remove Fake” Windows Product Key” Virus completely?
The guide below shows you how to get rid of the malware in several steps. Please note that it is complicated and difficult to manually delete this infection and the virus may come back if some of its components can’t be deleted completely. Thus, to protect the system and remove the virus once and for all, you will need some security software for help. The following steps will guide you through a complete virus removal.
Step1: Enter in Safe Mode with Networking
Some victims of Fake” Windows Product Key” Virus found they can’t bring up Windows Task Manager as usual after infection so it’s difficult for them to terminate the harmful processes. To smoothly find and remove the virus, it’s suggested that you enter safe mode with networking to perform the removal. In safe mode with networking mode, only the bare essentials are started and you’re still allowed to access the Internet or other computers on your network.
This procedure applies to Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP.
To start in safe mode:
Press Windows key + R key to bring up Run box.
Type msconfig in the Run box and click on OK button or press Enter.
System Configuration window will appear.
Click the Boot tab (If you’re running Windows XP, click on Boot.ini tab).
Under boot options, check Safe boot option and select Network. (As image below shown)
Click OK, then select Restart when the following pop-up occurs.
Windows will be boot into safe mode with networking now.
Note: This method keeps taking you back into Safe mode with networking when your Windows is started. So when you finish removing the virus, remember to launch msconfig and uncheck the Safe boot option.
Step2: Uninstall suspicious programs from Control Panel
Once in safe mode with networking, you can check the Add/Remove Programs applet or Programs and Features and remove the entry of Fake” Windows Product Key” Virus, if there is.
For Windows XP, click on Start button, go to Control Panel and click on Add/Remove Programs.
When the Add or Remove Programs screen is displayed, scroll down and search for any suspicious entry. If any is found, select it and click on Remove button.
For Windows 7/Vista, click on Start button, go to Control Panel, click on Programs and Features or Uninstall a program under Programs.
When the Programs and Features screen opens, find and remove the program related to the virus by clicking on Uninstall button.
For Windows 8, hover over the bottom left corner of the screen until the Start menu occurs. Then right click on it.
Select Programs and Features in the menu.
When the Programs and Features screen is displayed, find the entry of the virus and click on Uninstall button.
For Windows 10, click on Start button and select Settings.
Click on System and then click on Apps & Features on the left side. When all the installed programs are displayed, select the one that is associated with Fake” Windows Product Key” Virus and click on Uninstall button.
Then follow the instructions on the screen to complete the uninstallation.
Note: If the entry of the virus is found, remove it from the machine with the guide above. If no dubious program is found there, you need to try other methods. Moreover, some files and registry entries of the malicious program may be left on the PC after the standard uninstall. In this case, a professional malware removal tool is needed.
Step3: Run SpyHunter to detect and remove malicious threats
SpyHunter is a powerful anti-malware program that can clear all the traces of malicious infections. It detects and removes all threats on your PC for free and displays their entries in the results in details. After uninstalling the malicious programs from Control Panel (if there is), use SpyHunter to scan your system and remove the leftovers of Fake” Windows Product Key” Virus completely.
➤ Once downloaded, run spyhunter-installer.exe and follow the setup wizard to complete the installation. In the final step of the installation process, click on Exit button. SpyHunter will run automatically soon.
➤ Once started, SpyHunter begins to scan your system files, registry, driver, etc. (Remember to close running programs and files to make the scanning more smoothly.) The scan may take a few minutes to complete. All threats on your PC will be detected and their basic information and components will also be displayed in the results.
➤ Once the scanning is completed, all the infections on your PC will be listed in the scan results. Make sure that they are selected and then click on Fix Threats button.
Note: SpyHunter provides free virus scanning services, but to completely remove the infections you need to purchase its full version first.
Step4: Rescan your computer with Plumbytes Anti-Malware
Plumbytes Anti-malware is a professional security tool that constantly monitors your computer and removes unwanted browser toolbars, add-ons, and extensions. It is able to protect your computer from malware and detect and remove the most recent adware, spyware, and PUP. The tool can be installed quickly and scan the system for malicious infections for free. To ensure that your computer is free of virus now, scan your system with Plumbytes anti-malware.
To do this,
➤ Once the file is downloaded, run the antimalwaresetup.exe file and follow the instructions on the screen to install it on the PC. This tool can be installed quickly within a seconds.
➤ When the installation is completed, Plumbytes anti-malware will scan your system automatically. The scanning may last for several minutes. While scanning, the names of the threats and their Threat levels will be listed in the scan results.
➤ When the scanning is completed, make sure all the threats are selected and then click on Remove Selected button.
➤ To successfully remove the detected items, please activate the full version of Plumbytes anti-malware first. Then you will be able to remove Fake” Windows Product Key” Virus and other infections thoroughly.
Tips on how to avoid being infected by malware:
To prevent malware like Fake” Windows Product Key” Virus, here are several useful suggestions:
Be cautious when downloading and installing software. First of all, be cautious when downloading and installing software from the web. Don’t download files or programs from unknown or unverified websites. Keep away from those pirated software or rogue programs. In addition, pay more attention to the software installation process. Always choose the Custom/Advanced Install to avoid installing unnecessary programs, adware, spyware, browser hijackers or other malicious programs. It’s necessary to read the EULAs carefully when installing software downloaded from the web.
Don’t click on suspicious pop-ups. Some pop-ups with the contents like “Your computer is infected with XXX”, “Click here to boot up your computer performance” or “Click here to run a virus scanner” on some websites are scams. Don’t be cheated by these pop-ups. They may redirect you to web pages containing lots of ads or misleading you into downloading useless programs or promoting unnecessary services. What’s worse, some malware may be downloaded and installed on your PC when you visit those websites.
Never open attachments or links in spam emails. Since spam emails is one of the most popular way for malware to spread, please be careful when you receive emails containing links or attachments sent by strangers. Some of them contain malware that can compromise and damage your system seriously. Thus, don’t open them unless you are sure that they are safe.
Keep antivirus software on your PC. A comprehensive and advanced anti-malware like SpyHunter anti-malware or Plumbytes anti-malware can effectively prevent the system from various cyber infections. They can block harmful websites, plug-ins or other items and help detect and remove malware like Fake” Windows Product Key” Virus fully.
If you have trouble removing fake “Windows Product Key” virus or other malware from the PC, use a professional malware removal tool to deal with it. If you’re not an advanced computer user, we do not suggest you delete the virus manually. On the one hand, the manual removal might lead to wrong deletion of valid registry entries or files, which will damage the system permanently. On the other hand, you may fail to clear all the traces of the virus by hand. Thus, security software like SpyHunter or Plumbytes is the better solution.