Windows Maintenance Guard

This article contains description and removal steps to get rid of virus known as Windows Maintenance Guard. To protect the computer against related attack, please see our suggestions below.

Windows Maintenance Guard is a rogue antivirus program from the same group of cyber criminals who created Windows Secure Web Patch. This malware is distributed via Trojan that can also install it without your approval. Once it is loaded, it will issue fake alerts stating that your computer is infected with viruses. This trick attempts to scare you and make you thinks that PC is severely infected. Then, Windows Maintenance Guard will begin to persuade you into purchasing a program that assures instant removal. Keep in mind that rogue programs are not capable of performing virus scan and removal. They are created primarily to mimic what real antivirus program does. Windows Maintenance Guard may scan the system but what you can receive is false detection. Rogue program is similarly incapable of protecting a computer against virus attack, thus, it is worthless.

During installation, Trojan will execute changes to your computer so that Windows Maintenance Guard will run on its own after your Windows log on. Them it launches a virus scan and reports so many infections that it cannot fix unless you are using a full version of Windows Maintenance Guard. You must know that even if the licensed version is in your possession, still you cannot remove the threats it identified. We need to mention once again that there are no threats other than Windows Maintenance Guard itself. Therefore, you must start running a virus scan on the computer with the help of genuine security program. Make sure that it has the most recent database so that your antivirus will leave no files of Windows Maintenance Guard.

TypeRogue
Sub-TypeFakeAV
OS AffectedWindows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7

What are the Symptoms of Windows Maintenance Guard Infection?

Once this rogue program enters the computer, it will run a virus scan just like other legitimate security program does. However, since Windows Instant Scanner is fake, it will produce fictitious results. Below is the screenshot image.

Windows Maintenance Guard Scanner

It will modify Windows Registry and add the following entries:
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings “WarnOnHTTPSToHTTPRedirect” = 0
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System “DisableRegedit” = 0
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System “DisableRegistryTools” = 0
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System “DisableTaskMgr” = 0
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system “EnableLUA” = 0
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run “Inspector”
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Settings “net” = “u_2012-5-24_6″
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Settings “UID” = “mkmslopcmd”
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\advxdwin.exe
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\SafetyKeeper.exe
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\titaninxp.exe

The threat will drop the following malicious files:
%AppData%\NPSWF32.dll
%AppData%\Protector-[random 3 characters].exe
%AppData%\Protector-[random 4 characters].exe
%AppData%\result.db
%CommonStartMenu%\Programs\Windows Maintenance Guard.lnk
%Desktop%\Windows Maintenance Guard.lnk

Follow these Procedures to Remove Windows Maintenance Guard

Procedure 1: Manual Removal

For users with technical skills in dealing with computer problems, executing this manual removal is enough to stop the malware. However, we highly recommend running anti-malware scan to remove other hidden files. For users who are not tech-savvy, you must skip this step. Start on Procedure 2 and proceed onwards. Automatic removal takes longer to accomplish but is less difficult to execute.

1. Please use the serial code below to activate Windows Maintenance Guard.
Once the rogue program has activated, you will regain access to Internet and needed tools like task manager and registry editor. Keep in mind that entering this code will not remove the malware. This step will just reverse all changes the rogue software has made to the computer.

Serial Code: 0W000-000B0-00T00-E0020

2. Restart your computer in Safe Mode
- After Power-On the computer, just before Windows start, press F8.
- From the selections, Select Safe Mode.

3. Remove Registry entries added by Windows Maintenance Guard. You MUST BACKUP YOUR REGISTRY FIRST.
- Click Start > Run.
- Type in the field, regedit.
- Navigate and look for the registry entries mentioned above and delete if necessary.

4. Delete malicious files that the threat added:
- Base on the given location above, browse and delete the file.
- If no location is given, click Start>Search> and search for the files.
- If cannot be deleted, press Ctrl+Alt+Del to access Task Manager, see if the file is running in the process. If it is, select the file and click End Process. Perform file delete again.

5. Scan computer with Antivirus Program
- Update antivirus program.
- Scan computer and delete all detected threats.

Procedure 2: Scan and remove Windows Maintenance Guard files with MalwareBytes Anti-Malware

To remove Windows Maintenance Guard, download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware by clicking on the button below. This tool is effective in getting rid of Trojans, viruses and malware.

Download Windows Maintenance Guard Removel Tool

1. After downloading, please install the program using the default settings.
2. At the end of the installation, please make sure that it will download necessary updates.
3. Once update has completed. The tool will launch.
4. Thoroughly scan the computer and remove all threats detected by this anti-malware program.

Procedure 3: Run TrendMicro's Fake Antivirus Remover (ATTK) to check and delete any remnants of Windows Maintenance Guard.

As an added help to remove Windows Maintenance Guard, you can scan the computer with Fake Antivirus Removal Tool. This software is provided and distributed by TrendMicro. Follow this procedure to run a scan with this tool.

1. Download the package by clicking on the button below. This will launch a new browser window that contains further details about the tool.

FakeAVRemover Download Link

2. Save the file to a location on your hard drive.
3. Browse for the location of the file and double-click to run. If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, right-click on extracted file attk_far_gui.exe and click on Run as Administrator.

Run FakeAVRemover

4. When program launch, it will run a command prompt to initialize, prepare components, and update the program.
5. Next it will open the graphical user interface (GUI) of Anti-Threat Toolkit.

FakeAVRemover GUI

6. Click on Scan Now. This operation will scan all Windows Maintenance Guard files and processes in your computer and display a list of result for possible Fake Antivirus program and malware that needs to be removed.

FakeAVRemover Scan

7. Tick all items that are detected by the program, and then click Clean. The tool will start removing Windows Maintenance Guard components from the computer.
8. If it asked you to restart Windows, please do so.

Procedure 4: Remove Rootkit Trojan with Avast aswMBR

A Trojan often drops malware using an advance technology known as rootkit. It hides the installation of Windows Maintenance Guard from your anti-virus program and injects malicious code to running Windows processes. To complete the clean-up process, you also need to scan and remove rootkit Trojan.

1. Download aswMBR from Avast server. Save it to your computer.

Avast Rootkit Scanner

2. Double-click on the file aswMBR.exe to run the program.
3. If it prompts you to download the latest Avast! virus definition, please click Yes. This is necessary to identify most recent version of the Trojan as well as hidden files of Windows Maintenance Guard.

Updating aswMBR

4. Click on Scan button to start checking your computer for presence of rootkit Trojan and other viruses. It will display a message "Scan finished successfully" when done.

aswMBR Scan

5. Click Fix or FixMBR to start removing infection. If aswMBR contains the latest Avast! virus definition file, it will automatically clean infected files on your PC.

Troubleshooting Guides

After removing a virus from your computer, the next move is to fix any damages caused by the infection. Most anti-virus programs are not designed to fix issues and errors initiated by Windows Maintenance Guard. Here are some troubleshooting steps you need to perform on the PC after being compromised.

Fix and Restore Internet Connection After Windows Maintenance Guard Infection

Windows Vista and Windows 7:
1. Go to Start > Run. Type cmd in the box (Search Program and files) and press Enter on keyboard.

Start and Run CMD

2. It will display a command prompt. Type the following and press Enter on keyboard after each command.
netsh int ip reset reset.log
(Press Enter on keyboard)

netsh winsock reset catalog
(Press Enter on keyboard)

Netshell DOS Command

3. Exit the command prompt window and please restart the computer.

Windows XP:
1. You will lose access to network services when Windows Maintenance Guard spoils your Winsock settings. Click on the download button bellow to get a fresh copy of Winsock.Zip. Unzip the file on a proper directory. It will decompress a file called Winsock.reg.

Winsock Download

2. Right-click on Winsock.reg file, select Merge to add the value to your Windows registry. Press OK on the next prompt to confirm merging.
3. Restart the computer.
4. After the reboot, go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > Communications. Select Network Connections.
5. Right-click on Local Area Connection, select Properties from the list.

Network Properties

6. On General tab, click on Install. It will open a new window.

LAN Properties Install

7. Select Protocol from the list. Next, click Add.

Protocol for TCP

8. If it prompts for the location, click on Have Disk...
9. Type C:\Windows\inf in the Browse section. Click OK.
10. Select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). Click OK to confirm.
11. You may now restart the computer.

Unhide Non-System Files and Folders

Windows Maintenance Guard brings you more harm in such a way that it will hide all files and folders. You can change attributes of hidden files and folders manually but be careful with system files because they are set to be hidden to avoid accidental deletion. To unhide only non-system files and folders, follow this procedure.

1. Download the program Unhide Non-System Files. This is a free tool. Download page will open in a new window.

Unhide Non System Files

2. Once downloaded, double-click on the file to launch the program.

Note: If Smart Screen Filter is active, it alerts you that the file is "not commonly downloaded and could harm your computer". To proceed, please click on Actions. Select Run anyway from Smart Screen Filter pop-up.

Detection of Smart Screen Filter

3. When the program is running, please click on Start button to begin the restoration of your hidden files.

Unhide Files Interface

Steps to Restore Shortcut Links and Start Menu Icons

If Windows Maintenance Guard stays long enough on the infected computer, it can cause more damages than expected. It modifies the look of the system and hides shortcut links and Start Menu icons. Perform these steps to restore shortcut links and missing icons.

1. Download the program Rogue Killer. This tool does not only fix certain problems cause by Windows Maintenance Guard infection, it also finds and destroy presence of malicious files and registry entries.

RogueKiller Download

2. After downloading the file, double-click to run the program.

Note: If Smart Screen Filter is active, it alerts you that the file is "not commonly downloaded and could harm your computer". To proceed, please click on Actions. Select Run anyway from Smart Screen Filter pop-up.

3. When launch, the tool will run a scan on the computer and check it for presence of malware. Please let it scan the computer for remnants of Windows Maintenance Guard.

4. Click on the ShortcutsFix button on right side of the interface. This action will restore missing shortcut links and Start Menu icons. The scan would take a few minutes.

RogueKiller Shortcut Fix Button

Protect your PC from Windows Maintenance Guard or Similar Attack

Turn On Security Features of your Internet Browser

Internet Explorer - Activate SmartScreen Filter

Internet Explorer versions 8 and 9 has this feature called SmartScreen Filter. It helps detect phishing web sites and protect you from downloading malicious files online. You may have avoided Windows Maintenance Guard virus if this has been active on your PC.To turn on SmartScreen Filter, follow these steps:

1. Please open Internet Explorer.
2. On top menu, select Tools (IE 9). For IE 8, please look for Safety menu.
3. Select SmartScreen Filter from the drop-down list and click on Turn on SmartScreen Filter.

IE SmartScreen Filter

4. Please restart Internet Explorer.

Google Chrome's Enable Phishing and Malware Protection

With Google Chrome's Phishing and Malware Detection feature, you will have lesser risks browsing the web. It will display a warning when the site you are trying to visit is suspicious. To enable Phishing and Malware Protection, please do these steps:

1. Open Google Chrome.
2. Click on the Customize and control Google Chrome (3-Bars Icon) located on top right corner of the browser.
3. Select Settings from the drop-down list.
4. Once on the settings page, click on Show advanced settings... at the bottom of the page to see the rest of the Chrome setup.
5. Locate Privacy section and mark 'Enable phishing and malware protection'.

Chrome Security Settings

6. Please restart Google Chrome. New settings keep your browser safe while surfing the web.

Mozilla Firefox - Block Attack Sites and Web Forgeries

Phishing and Malware Protection is a built-in feature on Firefox version 3 or later. It warns you when a page you are trying to visit contains phishing content or an attack site designed to drop threats on the computer. To help you keep safe while browsing the Internet using Firefox, please follow this guide:

1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser.
2. On top menu, click on Tools. Then select Options from the list.
3. Select Security and put a check mark on the following items:

  • Warn me when sites try to install add-ons
  • Block reported attack sites
  • Block reported web forgeries

Firefox Security Settings

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