The Microsoft virus refers to various threats, mostly scams that use the name and logo of the Microsoft Corporation to swindle unsuspecting victims.
A common type of Microsoft virus threat appears while browsing the internet and will start by issuing fake security alerts that recommend calling ‘Microsoft security experts’. Those that fall for this trickery can have their credentials stolen, their devices compromised, or be asked to send money to the scammers.
The Microsoft virus also appears in many phishing scams. In this form of the threat, cybercriminals send contaminated emails purporting to come from Microsoft. Clicking on the emails or downloading the attachments instigates a nasty infection process that can load all kinds of malware on a victim’s computer.
What Does the Microsoft Virus Do?
In most cases, the Microsoft virus is used to trick unsuspecting victims to calling a certain phone number that purports to offer ‘technical assistance’ on a number of issues. The virus often appears when a user is browsing on an infected computer and will present a fake ‘Virus Alert’ popup from Microsoft.
The Fake virus alert contains a text similar to the following:
“This computer is BLOCKED
Do not close this window and restart your computer
Your computer’s registration key is Blocked.
Why we blocked your computer?
The window’s registration key is illegal.
This window is using pirated software.
This window is sending virus over the internet.
This window is hacked or used from undefined location.
We block this computer for your security.
Contact Microsoft helpline to reactivate your computer.”
When the text appears on a screen, it can sometimes be difficult to navigate away from the particular page as the Microsoft virus does make the computer unresponsive. If this happens to you, you can use the Task Manager to end the problematic process. Just press the Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys on your keyboard.
The other thing that the Microsoft virus can do is to act as a malware loader. This happens when victims click on infected links within emails or when they download contaminated attachments.
How to Tell if the Microsoft Alert Is Legit
Could it be possible that Microsoft is really trying to tell you something by invading your browser or spamming your email? That is not the way Microsoft operates, and if there really is something that you need to be worried about, it is not Microsoft but rather your anti-malware service provider that will be the first to give you a heads up.
Also, Microsoft tends to offer support through their official website and such support is rarely personalized. They will never contact you about issues with your device unless you initiated the contact process.
How to Remove the Microsoft Virus
If you are stuck wondering what to do about the Microsoft virus, there are several options for you. The first and most obvious course of action is to use a reliable anti-malware tool such as Outbyte Antivirus. You would want to use this because the Microsoft virus infection is mostly locally based. This is to say that if your browser is serving you ads and fake alerts, there is already a malware entity inside your device and it has to be dealt with.
Outbyte Antivirus can remove the offensive program, but only if you run your computer on Safe Mode. Safe Mode is a special Windows feature that only runs a minimum number of apps and settings. It is commonly used for troubleshooting. To boot your computer into Safe Mode with Networking, take the following steps:
- Press the Windows button on your keyboard. Swipe left and click Settings.
- Under Update & Recovery, click Recovery.
- Go to Advanced Startup and select Restart.
- On the Choose an option menu, select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options, Startup Settings > Restart.
- After your computer restarts, use the arrow keys to select Safe Mode with Networking. Alternatively, press the F5 key.
Once in Safe Mode with Networking, use the internet to download an anti-malware program if you don’t have one on your device yet.
Although effective in removing malware entities, antivirus programs are not designed to clear junk files, downloads, and other spaces that normally play host to viruses. For this, you need a PC repair tool. The repair tool will also repair any broken, missing, or corrupt registry entries, and improve your PC’s performance in the process.
Other Ways of Removing the Microsoft Virus
Say you don’t have an anti-malware software on your computer, what else can you do about the Microsoft virus? For starters, you can use the Windows Task Manager to locate and delete the files and folders that power the Microsoft virus.
To get to the Task Manager, press the Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys on your keyboard. On the Task Manager app, go to the Processes tab and look for any suspicious process. The most common process or file that is associated with the Windows virus is called ‘master.exe’. If you can find it, right-click and select End task. Next, click Open file location. Now, go to the file location and empty the folder of all its contents.
To be certain that the malware has been dealt with, first go to the Control Panel and uninstall any suspicious programs. Follow this up by uninstalling unfamiliar browser extensions.
Finally, you need to either restore or refresh your Windows device to be 100% certain that the Microsoft virus is no longer an issue. The refresh or restoration process will mostly restore default Windows settings and apps, effectively turning your computer into a clean slate.
What restore or refresh options should you use? Here are two of the most common:
1. System Restore
The System Restore option will undo any changes to your computer’s system files, apps, and settings past a certain restore point. Say, you have a restore point that existed prior to the fake Microsoft ‘Virus Alerts’ pop-ups, now is the time to use it.
Getting to the System Restore Option is easy. All you have to do is follow the steps leading to Safe Mode with Networking as outlined above, but instead of choosing Startup Settings, select System Restore. From there, just follow the on-screen directions.
2. Refresh this PC
The Windows Refresh this PC option lets you start with a clean state as in a fresh version of the Windows OS, but with the option to keep your files.
Here is how to use the Refresh this PC option:
- Go to Settings > Change PC Settings > Update & Recovery.
- You will see an option to Refresh your PC without affecting your files, select Get started.
- From here, all you need to do is to follow the instructions on the screen.
That will be all about the Microsoft virus. If you have any questions, please free to use the comment section below.
A Computer Engineer by degree and a writer by profession, Cathy Trimidal writes for Software Tested and Outbyte. For years now, she has contributed articles focusing on the trends in IT, VPN, web apps, SEO, and digital marketing. Although she spends most of her days living in a virtual realm, she still finds time to satisfy her infinite list of interests.