Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Windows Recovery, Windows Restore Malware Removal Instructions

Windows Recovery, Windows Restore, Windows SafeMode and Windows Fix Disk - all these applications disguise as an official Windows functions/utilities and states that your hard drive has some serious problems. In order to convince you, this malware changes settings on files and folder in you directories to "hidden." For example, if you check "My Documents" folder you won't see any files because they are hidden, so you may think that your hard drive is failing. It also displays an endless stream of fake alerts and pop-ups about hard drive failures, critical hard disk drive errors and some other clearly non-existent problems. Windows Recovery, Windows Fix Disk and other names of this malware have been covered in my previous posts and elsewhere, it is worth noting an alternate removal instructions which hopefully will help you to remove such fake applications. Please follow the steps in the removal guide below.

Fake error warnings:
Task Manager has been disabled by your admininstrator.

Critical Error
Hard drive critical error. Run a system diagnostic utility to
check your hard disk drive for errors. Windows can't find hard
disk space. Hard drive error

Removal instructions:

1. First of all, you need to unhide the files and folders. Select Run... from the Start Menu or just hit the key combination CTRL+R on your keyboard. In the Open: field, enter cmd and hit Enter or click OK.

At the command prompt, enter attrib -h /s /d and hit Enter. Now, you should see all your files and folders. NOTE: you may have to repeat this step because the malware may hide your files again.

2. The rogue application places an icon or your desktop. Right click on the icon, click Properties in the drop-down menu, then click the Shortcut tab.

The location of the malware is in the Target box.

On computers running Windows XP, malware hides in:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\

NOTE: by default, Application Data folder is hidden. Malware files are hidden as well. To see hidden files and folders, please read Show Hidden Files and Folders in Windows.

Under the Hidden files and folders section, click Show hidden files and folders, and remove the checkmark from the checkbox labeled:

- Hide extensions for known file types
- Hide protected operating system files

Click OK to save the changes. Now you will be able to see all files and folders in the Application Data directory.

On computers running Windows Vista/7, malware hides in:

3. Look for suspect ".exe" files in the given directories depending on the Windows version you have.

Example Windows XP:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\18542698.exe

Example Windows Vista/7:

Basically, there will be a couple of ".exe" file named with a series of numbers or letters.

Rename those files to virus1.vir, virus2.vir etc. For example:

It should be: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\virus1.vir

Instead of: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\18542698.exe

4. Restart your computer. The malware should be inactive after the restart.

5. Open Internet Explorer and download TDSSKiller. This malware usually (but not always) comes bundled with TDSS rootkit. Removing this rootkit from your computer is very important (if exists). Run TDSSKiller and remove the rootkit.

6. Download recommended anti-malware software (Spyware Doctor) and run a full system scan to remove this virus from your computer.

NOTE: don't forget to update the installed program before scanning.

Associated files and registry values:


Windows XP:
  • %AllUsersProfile%\Application Data\[SET OF RANDOM CHARACTERS]
  • %AllUsersProfile%\Application Data\~[SET OF RANDOM CHARACTERS]
  • %UsersProfile%\Local Settings\Application Data\[SET OF RANDOM CHARACTERS].lic
  • %AllUsersProfile%\Application Data\[SET OF RANDOM CHARACTERS].dll
  • %AllUsersProfile%\Application Data\[SET OF RANDOM CHARACTERS].exe
  • %UsersProfile%\Desktop\Windows Recovery.lnk
  • %UsersProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Windows Recovery\
  • %UsersProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Windows Recovery\Windows Recovery.lnk
  • %UsersProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Windows Recovery\Uninstall Windows Recovery.lnk
%AllUsersProfile% refers to: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users
%UserProfile% refers to: C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]

Windows Vista/7:
  • %AllUsersProfile%\[SET OF RANDOM CHARACTERS]
  • %AllUsersProfile%\~[SET OF RANDOM CHARACTERS]
  • %AllUsersProfile%\[SET OF RANDOM CHARACTERS].lic
  • %AllUsersProfile%\[SET OF RANDOM CHARACTERS].dll
  • %AllUsersProfile%\[SET OF RANDOM CHARACTERS].exe
  • %UsersProfile%\Desktop\Windows Recovery.lnk
  • %UsersProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Windows Recovery\
  • %UsersProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Windows Recovery\Windows Recovery.lnk
  • %UsersProfile%\Start Menu\Programs\Windows Recovery\Uninstall Windows Recovery.lnk
%AllUsersProfile% refers to: C:\ProgramData
%UserProfile% refers to: C:\Users\[User Name]

Registry values:
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run "[SET OF RANDOM CHARACTERS].exe"
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run "[SET OF RANDOM CHARACTERS]"
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Associations "LowRiskFileTypes" = '/{hq:/s`s:/ogn:/uyu:/dyd:/c`u:/bnl:/ble:/sdf:/lrh:/iul:/iulm:/fhg:/clq:/kqf:/`wh:/lqf:/lqdf:/lnw:/lq2:/l2t:/v`w:/rbs:'
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Attachments "SaveZoneInformation" = '1'
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Download "CheckExeSignatures" = 'no'
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main "Use FormSuggest" = 'yes'
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